Out of the two quite divisive dark metal groups that is Cradle Of Filth and Dimmu Borgir I've been more so in the Dimmu Borgir camp. Though I am not totally unfamiliar with the work of Cradle Of Filth, and I took notice of the positive comments regarding the band's newest album Hammer Of The Witches like claims of this being their strongest release in years, and successfully incorporating a blend of the old and more recent sounds of the band. So this raised my curiosity enough to seek out the eleventh album by the British extreme metal group, and what a riveting album it is as you could say that every track is a winner.
Cradle Of Filth was formed in 1991 and over the following years the band has included many different members joining vocalist Dani Filth. Since the last album from 2012 The Manticore And Other Horrors there have been further line-up changes and the positive results are here to be heard. Including the recruitment of not one but two new guitarists and the return of that dual guitar sound sure is an added attraction with a strong presence on Hammer Of The Witches as this most able duo unleash a torrent of shredding/harmonies and hooks. The bass work and keyboards impress also and I have to mention the highly energetic performances of Martin Skaroupka constantly showing what an extreme metal monster of a drummer he is, and delivering a powerhouse performance.
Sure Hammer Of The Witches is a mostly intense album as you would expect though it also has a strong melodic guitar/keyboard component, the symphonic elements are still there and Dani Filth's darkened vocals are very effective. I'm not going to go into a track by track breakdown, let's just say that there are so many cool inclusions on Hammer Of The Witches that you simply need to discover them for yourself and yes that includes the two bonus tracks. If you feel that Cradle Of Filth have lost their way than you really must hear this new album, I haven't been this impressed by the band in a long time.
I have no doubt that Cradle Of Filth's latest blistering epic Hammer Of The Witches will be regarded by many as one of their greatest achievements, so lets just hope that this passionate line-up remains intact.
1. Walpurgis Eve
2. Yours Immortally…
3. Enshrined In Crematoria
4. Deflowering The Maidenhead, Displeasuring The Goddess
5. Blackest Magick In Practice
6. The Monstrous Sabbat (Summoning The Coven)
7. Hammer Of The Witches
8. Right Wing Of The Garden Triptych
9. The Vampyre At My Side
10. Onward Christian Soldiers
11. Blooding The Hounds
12. King Of The Woods