F U L L . R E V I E W S
I know all of the opinions--are they true black metal, are they really evil or are they in it for the shock value? Honestly, I could care less. I like their music and think it is some of the most original stuff out there. Dani Filth is a really good lyricist and one of the most talented vocalists I have ever heard. That being said after Midian in 2000, I feel that this band got lost. They shuffled labels, signed to a major, there were what seemed like half a dozen compilation and live records released and you never knew when you were getting new material and when you did it seemed like it lacked a focus that the earlier albums contained. It is by no means black metal, it is more epic atmospheric metal. All of their albums are concept albums that tell a story, and this one is no different. This album tells the story of a shadowy historical figure named Gilles de Rais, a wealthy French nobleman who was one of Joan of Arc's brothers-in-arms. He was best known, however, as a prolific serial killer who mixed prayers with his nightly murders as well as an aspiring alchemist. He was accused of a panoply of crimes, among them heresy, demonology and kidnapping. There's even an extreme fringe sect of historians who question de Rais' true status, with some convinced he was framed. Talk about a concept for a metal record.
Now down to the music...is it any good? Yes, finally it feels as if Dani and his band have found that focus they have been lacking. The album, like all of their past releases, opens with a haunting classical piece entitled In Grandeur and Frankincense Devilment Stirs. Then comes the true album opener Shat Out of Hell, full of energy, it automatically lets you know that you have put in a classic Cradle of Filth record--the best to come out in the last 8 years. This album is padded out with frequent classical pieces, but it all flows together quite nicely. It may very well be the filthiest record they have ever released, as they have stated. The highlights of the album are the 13th Ceasar and Darkness Incarnite. The album ends with another haunting instrumental entitled Corpseflower--from start to finish it's one of Cradle's best albums to date. It's right up there with Dusk and Her Embrace, and Cruelty and the Beast. It's much better than their last three albums. Like I said the focus they had lost has been regained. This is actually better than Midian, which as I said earlier I felt was their last good release. I hope they can stay on this track for a while because they could go down as the most influential extreme metal band of this age.
If you are looking for a truly evil band, that plays true black metal you need not apply here. If you want one of the most creative musical forces in the last ten years, you need to pick up this record. If you have never been a fan of Cradle of Filth, try this one out. Forget your preconceived ideas about image and corpsepaint, think of them as the new age of Iron Maiden. Like Maiden they have the image, but are not truly evil. They are a great band that deserves more recognition than they get. So far it will go down in my top 5 of the year. It's a must purchase release, and believe me if you love metal of any kind you will not be sorry you did.
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