Cradle of Filth...most folks either love 'em or hate 'em. There are few bands around that always seem to garner as much controversy or debate as Dani Filth & Co.. Quite frankly, you either get their version of 'gothic & theatrical black metal' music or you don't. Their latest CD, and first for Nuclear Blast after a bunch of years on Roadrunner, Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa, is probably not going to convert you if you haven't been into the band up to this point, but if you have been a Filth follower, chances are you'll dig this one quite a bit.
OK, so I've been on board the CoF express for a while now, but for good reason. These guys just seem to know how to put together dramatic, compelling extreme metal music that always has a story to tell. If you are into Gothic Horror, then this band has the lyrical imagery to really float your boat. Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa is another dark & twisted tale from Dani, and he's once again housed his horror fable within a framework of symphonic black metal arrangements. Sure, it's a formula the band has done to death for many years now, but they do it quite well. Most of the tracks here are quite fast & frantic, like the raging "The Nun With The Astral Habit" and the blast beat/tremelo picked riff madness that is "Retreat Of The Sacred Heart", as the band seem more intent on hitting on all their black metal cylinders and easing back on the gothic material this time around. Expect plenty of symphonic keyboards throughout, and Dani's vocals, as always, are some of the most unique in the genre. His wide array of high-pitched screams, rasps, and deep growls appear in just about every song, keeping the listener on his or her toes at every juncture.
Above all, the songs here are extremely melodic, and just like the most recent Dimmu Borgir release Abrahadabra, quite memorable & theatrical. Cuts such as "Deceiving Eyes" and "The Spawn of Love and War" just stick in your head thanks to their crushing riffs, catchy keyboard orchestrations, and wild vocalizations from Dani. Again, it's a formula that's just going to work for some, but be way too over the top for others. Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa is another winner from Cradle of Filth, a great sounding album filled with catchy symphonic black metal music and horror themed, gothic lyrical imagery. The packaging, as always on almost any CoF album, is fantastic, featuring killer artwork, lyrics, and photos of the band. So, take the plunge if you dare.
1. The Cult Of Venus Aversa
2. One Foul Step From The Abyss
3. The Nun With The Astral Habit
4. Retreat Of The Sacred Heart
5. The Persecution Song
6. Deceiving Eyes
7. Lilith Immaculate
8. The Spawn Of Love And War
9. Harlot On A Pedestal
10. Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned)
11. Beyond the Eleventh Hour