CRADLE OF FILTH are ready to shock and pervert the Metal community once more, this time under Roadrunner Records with an album of Metal guitar dominance instead of authentic and well produced symphonies. It’s the band everybody either loves or hates, I’m not a fan of their first album, otherwise I must say that I enjoy every album that follows. Black Metal is hardly the word for them anymore, they’ve progressed a lot from “The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh”, if anything, I’d give them the tag “Atmospheric Extreme Metal”, it’s both harsh and extremely beautiful at times.
Artwork is still trademark C.O.F., but it looks like they redirected the concept a bit, going for a classier but no less extreme visual presentation that attracts because of the dark environment, female modelling and more importantly, the upfront nudity involved hehe.
The music is well done, tastefully arranged, an obligatory intro is soon forgotten as “Gilded Cunt” tears down more than a few censorship ideals, a harsh, Thrashy, Punkish kinda track that never slows down too much, but still holds some catchy twin melodies that keep you whistling as you walk down your neighbourhood.
This is definitely a more Traditional Metal infused C.O.F. we’re hearing on “Nymphetamine”. The keyboards have taken on a more supportive role when looking back on last year’s “Damnation And A Day”, where they had a full orchestra and plenty of important keyboard work. Martin’s playing remains in a shadowed character, but he’s more comfortable with his piano arrangements as there are quite a few of those. However, on “Gabrielle”, “Absinthe With Faust”, “Swansong For A Raven” and “English Fire”, he’s at the centre of things together with the awesome lead guitars making big contributions to the atmosphere.
The same can be said about Adrian and backing vocal siren Sarah Jezebel Deva. They’re both important to the sound and have their shining moments on the record, it’s quite simple, it’s more about the melodic guitars, the robust Swede doesn’t seem to be in the mood to play that many blast beats this time around, who would’ve thought right? On the other hand, there’s more than enough of great guitar playing, Paul, Dave and newly recruited James Mcllroy often practically steal the show with their beautiful lead melodies (though the soloing isn’t what you’d call impressive, it has never been a strong force in the sound of C.O.F.) and blackened bass lines.
The nine minute title track (also appearing in a five minute radio edit) is a masterpiece for the ages, I can listen to it so many times and still feel inspired by it. The middle section with Liv Kristine’s contrasting vocal duel against the reckless bestiality that is Dani Filth portrays the blackest yet hopeful and epic soundscapes, the track also has some mesmerising IRON MAIDEN lead guitars, one of their best tracks so far, well written and neatly put together. “Swansong For A Raven”, if I’m not mistaking, resurrects the concept for the saga that started on “Her Ghost In The Fog”, the track makes use of some of the keyboard themes from that song and also marks the return of Doug Bradley on narration.
Dani Filth, an entertainer of the damned and promoter of vocal disorder, might be looked upon as a freak with too much want on front page posing and gothic make up, but his approach and long upholding stamina is to be respected. I’m amazed if he can speak on a normal day without any C.O.F. activities because there’s so much detail and showmanship put into his delivery, soft whispering coupled with his trademark sick yet tongue in cheek style is only the platform of his abilities and must be heard to be believed.
The album’s sound is impressive, they haven’t been fortunate in this department you know, but “Nymphetamine” has their best sound yet and is free of pastime flaws, the drums are perfectly mixed as is the case with every instrument.
They have scored big time with this album and I agree with the band’s statement about these tracks sounding better than anything they have done. The band’s past and current influences (Black/Thrash/Death Metal, gothic and orchestral atmospheres, Maidenesque melodies and experimental electronics) are used in a more experienced way, with better balance, this is what happens when you’ve matured and want to show it through your music. Fuck yeah! All hail the Devil’s six wraiths and their addictive opus!!! (Online November 15, 2004)