Cards on the table straight away – I’m not a Cradle of Filth fan at all. Never have been, never will be. Some might say that I’ve got an irrational dislike of the band and that I should give them a chance. The thing is – I have given them a chance.
In the mid 90s into the the early noughties, when Cradle of Filth enjoyed arguably their most successful and popular period, I tried out each and every single album & EP release. I liked Black Metal, so it made sense to give them a try but it just wasn’t for me. The whole farce with t-shirts, and the merry-go-round with membership and all that guff was just a nail in the coffin of any interest I had in them and I’ve not actively listened to any of their output since Midian. Plus I’ve met Dani Filth once, having a very brief altercation about seating arrangements in the World’s End pub in Camden, and that cemented my feelings in that area.
So there you have it – I’m not going to like this album and won’t give it a fair crack of the whip. I’ve already made up my mind without listening to it at all. But I’m going to listen to it anyway.
Opening instrumental “Walpurgis Eve” comes and then goes, nothing special about it really. Things get going properly with “Yours Immortally” – and it takes 13 seconds before we get to the main reason I never really got on with this band; Dani Filth’s screaming vocals. It’s not ALL of his vocals that I don’t like – it’s the screamed vocals only. The lower range vocals are fine for me, and thankfully there are more of those on this song so it’s not ALL bad.
From a musical point of view, the song has a lot going on – most of all, drums and bloody loads of ’em. Martin Skaroupka is the source of this and bloody hell, can he drum? Co-member of the rhythm section, Daniel Firth on bass, is also prominent here. I do like an album that allows the rhythm section to actually control things, so there’s another mark on the scorecard. Similarly “Enshrined in Crematoria” captures the ears and so far, so good – I haven’t skipped any songs other than the opening instrumental.
We then get to “Deflowering the Maidenhead, Displeasuring the Goddess” – opening up well, driving into a scream which actually works with the song. Surprised? I am. I actually liked a Dani Filth scream. The song, as a whole, is nearly 7 minutes long but doesn’t outstay its welcome. “Blackest Magick in Practice” also approaches the 7 minute mark and, like it’s predecessor, holds my interest.
Unfortunately the next track up, “The Monstrous Sabbat (Summoning The Coven)”, arses things up – it’s another short instrumental and might have been better served dumped at the end of the album instead.
The title track is up next and I’m hooked in well for the first few minutes; things falling apart midway through and we’ve hit the next “song I’ll skip”. As for “Right Wing of the Garden Triptych” – add that to the list as it’s a total mess.
Heading into the home stretch, things are rescued slightly by “The Vampyre at my side”, with its slow intro and almost spoken-word vocal, with the drums again coming in to drive the song the rest of the way. The wheels come off again though for “Onward Christian Soldiers” – who thought that the keyboards on this were a good idea? Seriously, check the song out – the layer of cheese on the keys at the 2:45 mark and later on in the song is almost Nightwish-level.
Album closer “Blooding the Hounds of Hell” is another instrumental and, like the others, proves pointless.
So there we have it – I didn’t slate the album as much as I thought I would. Yes, I’m probably not going to listen to it again but if I happened to be somewhere where it was put on then I don’t think I’d jump up and scream, Filth-style, for it to be turned off. I’d probably go to the bog while some of it is on though – might even try to bust out some air-drums and see how I go with that.