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.
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