Cradle of Filth: 'Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa'
1- Pile of w**k
5- Sabbath-style classic
Cradle of Filth are a band who always provoke strong reactions from lovers and haters alike. With a back catalogue spanning almost 20 years, COF have changed, honed and perfected their gothic/vampire sound and image fantastically. That doesn’t mean that there have been a few, ahem, hiccups, along the way. Who can forget the dreadful ‘Thornography’ - with the vomit inducing cover of ‘Temptation’ to the frankly dire ‘Dirge Inferno’? I personally thought that COF had lost their edge, and shifted more and more towards mainstream attention. However, in 2008 they produced the epic ‘Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder’; which turned out to be one of my musical highlights of that year. Now they have returned with ‘Darkly, Darkly...’ can they outshine ‘Godspeed...’ or with this simply fall by the wayside like ‘Thornography’?
Well, I’m pleased to report that the answer is the former. ‘Darkly, Darkly...’ proves that Dani and Co can still effortlessly produce great rifts, yet have big, melodramatic and over-the –top extreme gothic/metal songs. The idea behind this album is the feminine response to ‘Godspeed...’s overly masculine tones, although this ‘Darkly, Darkly...’ does not feel like a carbon copy of ‘Godspeed...’ Echoing ‘Cruelty and the Beast’, this album centres on the supposed first wife of Adam (Lilith). As ever with any COF album the production is excellent, although it hasn’t been over-produced like so many of their previous albums so it sounds rawer and faster. No more is this apparently than in the opener ‘The Cult of Venus Aversa’ and ‘One Foul Step From The Abyss’, with the thrash-style speed not slowing the pace until ‘The Persecution Song’ (which is incidentally one of my favourite songs on the album). This, thankfully, is COF at their best and is most definitely signalling a return to form and that they are here to stay.