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Album Of The Month August 2015
Cradle Of Filth | ‘Hammer Of The Witches’

If you told me Cradle Of Filth could put out an album as good as this in 2015, I’d have laughed in your face.

They look ridiculous.

Their revolving door lineup is unrecognizable.

Yet you cant keep a good man down. And Daniel Davey must be living proof.

Because this album is absolutely savage – full of bite, speed, power and class. You mightn’t believe it. But it’s true.

Powerful, Fast and Melodic

It has every good element that the classic Cradle lineups were famed for with almost none of the bad.

The speed with which ‘Yours Immortally’ bursts out to open this album is a hook on every listen. It’s symphonic metal done right, reminding more of Keep Of Kallessin than anyone else.

It’s melodic and thrashy, tight like hell and pounding. What a great start to an album that just keeps delivering.

The guitars and drums are jaw droppingly consistent. Enough about Dani and his hired guns: if they can play like Marek Šmerda and Martin Škaroupka respectively, they’re doing better than most.

These guys succeed in retaining the classic melodic Cradle sound while bringing the assurance back into the delivery.

History Lesson

It also nods to past glories, and at times heavily.

‘Enshrined In Crematoria’ recalls the massive, portentous chords of ‘Queen Of Winter Throned’. It’s another one whose speed and blastbeats are absolutely lethal.

Much of this album could have been Dimmu Borgir at the height of their prowess. Better still, much of it is Cradle at the height of theirs.

There’s another nod back to older days in ‘Blackest Magic In Practise’ which has smackings and smackings of ‘The Black Goddess Arises’ in its tone and its movements. It has just that melancholy and melodicism.

The album never once dips in the quality of songwriting or the delivery. It’ll leave you impressed and refreshed.

I haven’t really heard much of what Cradle have done since they went so thoroughly off the boil with ‘Midian’ – and I know that’s now a very long time ago.

As with many others, I’d written them off, despite the irresistable lure of a few ‘good for old times sake’ live shows (which, it should be noted, delivered).

But this album is certainly better than even ‘Cruelty And The Beast’, which was itself entirely decent.

No Let Up

It doesn’t quite have the songs that made them an institution, but the aggression on this album is surprising and delighting.

It’s power, power, power without letup. With all that amassed knowledge of years of writing and touring, it should be no surprise that Dani is capable of pulling this rabbit out of the hat. Yet it is surprising.

Dont worry about the image, which now seems a bit childish. Dont worry if you dont know who’s in the band either.

Do worry about making sure you hear this, because its symphonic extreme metal at some of its very best.

It’s also pure Cradle, reminding of all the reasons you may have once loved them.

A surprising, magnificent effort.

4.7/5 – Earl Grey ::: 24/08/15

  1. Jaysus, that’s actually pretty nifty. Dani’s vocals are decent enough too. He sounds a bit like David Bower from Hell in places, and I hear a good bit of their sound in the mix through and through. Catchy stuff.

  2. Hmmm…? Album of the month for Cradle of Filth? And its not a From the Vaults article?? This has me intrigued, very intrigued!

    Can’t actually listen to that track above at the moment but I will as soon as I can. What has me here is you say this album is better than Cruelty? Thats where I pretty much stop with Cradle as anything after that is generally piss poor so I definitely have to give this a look see!

  3. Sedgebeast Says:

    It’s surprisingly competent and refreshingly aggressive for sure. Still can’t quite shake the ‘session guys writing in the style of…’ feel from it though. Nevertheless, they can certainly sling a riff or two around, no question.

  4. Cradle have been one of my fav bands since i was a kid. However everything they’ve done over the past 13/14 years has been less than laudable, i usually listen to each new album once out of habit but they have just failed to impress for so long that I can’t help but remain somewhat skeptical. After reading this review i’m feeling a small ember of hope.

  5. Pagan Waltar Says:

    Very similar to Cthulu Dawn from Midian. Great track, very modern and polished as usual but still with hints of material nearly 20 years old. Nothing will touch everything up to Dusk… though. They’re a totally different but his vocals so sound great.

  6. Terrible band, I cant stand anything they have put out
    I tried a few times but its pure cheese

  7. shite

  8. Had to scroll down to see who the reviewer was on this one!

  9. Sounds like a mix of Midian and Cruelty.

  10. Sounds class

  11. Great album, decent production, no filler tracks, pure straight ahead heavy metal, whats not to like?

    have had this jammed in my car stereo on repeat for quite a few days now…

  12. Playing this back to back for two days now. Savage!

  13. That is no different from what they have been doing for the last few albums. Not inspiring, badly mixed with the vocals too high (as usual with Cradle) and a terrible guitar solo. Cruelty and the Beast was an excellent album, this does not suggest similarly.

  14. That track sounds awful, well the vocals do and they pretty much drown out the music, which i can just about make out is the same plastic sounding shite they have been doing for a while now.

  15. Bucket of Muck

  16. bottle of tonic Says:

    There’s hints of the songwriting and a faint whiff of the atmosphere that made them one of my favourite bands in the mid to late 90’s but overall I can’t get past the big modern sound and clean production. At least there is no cringey pun in the album title but the art looks the same cheap tat they’ve been fond of since Midian which is where they went brutal bad (well it was From the cradle to enslave EP to be exact)

  17. will need to get a proper listen to this. cruelty and the beast, was the last one i liked, but it was the start of a slippery slope. sounds tight enough.

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