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Album Reviews : Cradle of Filth – Hammer of the Witches

By on July 12, 2015

508035It’s been about 10 years since I’ve actually listened or even paid attention to gothic metal band Cradle of Filth, but listening to their latest album was a trip to the past, back when my head was filled to the brim with imagery of dark woods, dead lesbians, and dicks covered in leather. Thankfully that phase was soon replaced by more mature things, like Dragonball Z and living lesbians. But no matter how much shit I gave Cradle of Filth or teenage me, I have to say that Hammer of the Witches is an album that has breathed new life into the once quite stagnant band for me.

Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t a revolutionary album. There are still all the calling card characteristics that have defined the band since their inception. Dani Filth maintains his trademark howling and crooning, and his lyricism is as potent as ever. There are a myriad of organs, pianos, strings and synths that create an ethereal background landscape. The drum work, while competent, has never been given a chance to truly shine, and this trend continues on Hammer of the Witches.

The real alteration to the formula is the departure of Paul Allender for the second time, and the introduction of two new guitarists, Richard Shaw and Marek Šmerda, who have transitioned seamlessly into the band while at the same time giving the usual routine a real kick in the ass. The two have created catchy riffs, more technical tails, and great solos that keep the songs interesting enough to listen to the end.

Highlights include the heavier “Enshrined in Crematoria,” the melodic dirges of “Blackest Magick in Practice,” and “Onward Christian Soldiers,” and the haunting outro “Blooding the Hounds of Hell.”

Fans of Cradle of Filth and other gothic metal bands will find this album a great new addition to the band’s long and illustrious career, while those who have scorned the band with snide remarks and criticisms will probably still not be appeased, despite the enhancements that Shaw and Šmerda have provided. Nevertheless, whether you like them or not, Hammer of the Witches is a testament to Cradle of Filth’s longevity, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down.

About

Benjen is a qualified teacher residing in the south-east suburbs of Perth. Benjen was introduced to hard rock at the age of 12 with Papa Roach's "Love-Hate Tragedy," and has developed a love for hard rock and metal since. He also has a keen interest in gaming and almost every fandom imaginable, from Doctor Who to Deadpool. He can be followed on Twitter @thetoadmode