Solid and Satisfying
Cradle of Filth provides us with a new album full of witchcraft, persecution and redemption, all with a fantastic misogynistic cover. This album is the first for their new keys/vocalist, Lindsay Schoolcraft, as well as their new label Nuclear Blast Records. The title of their new album, Hammer Of The Witches, was inspired by a prosecution of a witches treatise written by Heinrich Kramer in 1486, and the art of the album was done by Arthur Berzinsh. Dani Filth states the artwork is “a lavish walk-through of the lyricism, drawing on rich renaissance themes and displaying them in beautiful-yet-unsettling scenarios.” What sort of extreme shock-ridden music have Filth and crew worked up for us?
This album represents the hardest Cradle of Filth have brought metal in quite some time. Truly, there is no contest to their skill with instrumentation, lyrics and composition, as evidenced by songs like “Yours Immortally…” and “Hammer Of The Witches.” These are musical perfection with fluid tempo changes, wicked guitar and bass solos, heady lyrics and incomprehensibly skilled drumming. To top it off, the key work by Schoolcraft is the perfect accent for songs such as “Yours Immortally…” where the slight flourishes are quite refreshing.
A huge letdown of the album is the overall lack of solid incorporation of the female voice provided by Schoolcraft. For “Deflowering The Maidenhead, Displeasuring The Goddess,” she really could have made the track shine, bringing a little bit of the softer feminine harmonies to the track without taking away from the lead singer. Other songs, such as the previously mentioned “Hammer Of The Witches,” the incorporation of her vocals was used for terrible evil with a repeated spoken couplet. Her saying “I say toll the demon bell, the rotting hearts of man shall beat the path to hell” did not add much to the song; in fact it took away from the build up. The one time her potential is used properly is in “Right Wing Of The Garden Triptych,” providing a little bit of harmonic reprieve from the intensity of the constancy of Filth. Over all, Schoolcraft was ham-handedly mishandled.
For its one big letdown, the album did manage to overcome what obstacle it had and turn out damn good. Plausibly, the undesirous lack of Schoolcraft’s voice was so the band could bring it twice as hard. If so, mission accomplished. There is no lack of enthusiasm when it comes to the guitar solos, and the drums were excellent. It is hard to complain when the music is so spot on.