Love 'em or hate 'em, you can't quite ignore Cradle of Filth. After their enjoyable but somewhat gothic flavored Thornography from 2006, the 'filthy' ones are back with Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder, an epic concept piece that sees them return to more manic symphonic black metal territory, and it's no surprise that this CD is one of their strongest in years. The band tells the tale of the worlds first serial killer, Frenchman Gilles De Rais, and in traditional Cradle of Filth style, expect plenty of lurid lyrics, the menacing screeches and growls from leader Dani Filth, and furious black metal arrangements.
Fairly quickly you know the band is out for the juggular here once "Shat Out of Hell" comes blasting through your speakers, Filth wailing like a demented madman amidst a wall of tremelo picked guitar riffs, jackhammer blast beats, and huge orchestral keyboard layers. The female vocals of Carolyn Gretton play the perfect foil to Filth's raving on "The Death of Love", a more gothic tinged number that is also quite catchy, but the band jumps back for crushing black metal on "The 13th Caesar". Hellraiser star Doug Bradley once again lends his narrative voice to a Cradle album, playing the part of Gilles De Rais, so expect to hear him pop in from time to time. Other highlights here include the maniacal "Tragic Kingdom", the symphonic extreme metal number "Sweetest Maleficia" (featuring a delightfully evil vocal from Dani), and the epic trio "Honey and Sulphur", "Midnight Shadows Crawl to Darken Counsel with Life", and "Darkness Incarnate", three huge sounding, progressive black metal numbers that sees the band really getting creative. Lots of inventive riffs and keyboard work on these, not to mention plenty of raging drum blasts.
The production from Andy Sneap is superb-this is one great sounding CD, and the artwork & photography on the booklet included here is astounding. Kudos to Cradle of Filth for letting us know they are still completely relevant as a metal force, and for delivering their best album in many years.
1. In Grandeur and Frankincense Devilment Stirs 2:27
2. Shat Out of Hell 5:03
3. The Death of Love 7:13
4. The 13th Caesar 5:35
5. Tiffauges 2:14
6. Tragic Kingdom 5:59
7. Sweetest Maleficia 5:58
8. Honey and Sulphur 5:37
9. Midnight Shadows Crawl to Darken Counsel with Life 8:58
10. Darkness Incarnate 8:55
11. Ten Leagues Beneath Contempt 4:58
12. Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder 5:36
13. Corpseflower 2:41