Cradle of Filth
Godspeed On The Devil's Thunder
posted on 11/2008 By:
I’ll admit, I had zero expectations coming into Godspeed, after the awful Thornography, but Ill be damned if the ol’ Cradle have come through with possibly their best album of the decade.
Whether driven by the perfect marriage of their now perfected image and sound with the concept album of the equally sadistic Gilles De Rais (played here by long time Cradle of Filth voice Doug “Pinhead” Bradley), Andy Sneap’s super tight production or the again revamped line-up (notably new drummer Martin Škaroupka), Godspeed sounds like symphonic, sexual and fiercer Cradle of Filth circa Midian with definite flashes of Cruelty and the Beast thrown in as opposed to the contrite goth thrash of Thornograhpy. It seems that Cradle seem to deliver better albums when an over arching concept drives the album (Cruelty and The Beast - Elizabeth Bathory, Damnation and a Day - the fall of Lucifer, Midian – Clive Barkers’s Cabal).
Admittedly, if you have never cared for Dani Filth and whatever latex clad cohorts he’s carrying in tow and his lyrical/vocal histrionics, (which see a return to his former screeching, growling self) and the band's form of theatrical black metal, Godspeed will simply be another burr in your ass. However, if you have guiltily enjoyed the band's output, Godspeed shows a band returning to the form and pace of the band's more vital, fervent mid era work.
At 70 minutes, Godspeed is a long listen, but it manages to hold your attention throughout, with the exception of the ill advised placement of two 8-minute songs back to back in the album's latter stages (“Midnight Shadows Crawl to Darken Counsel With Life" and “Darkness Incarnate”). Of course, there’s the obligatory atmospheric intro (“In Grandeur and Frankincense Devilment Stirs”), interlude (“Tiffauges”) and closer (“Corpseflower”), female crooning from long time Cradle guest Sarah Jezebel Diva and the requisite sweeping, gothic synth work from Mark Newby-Robson making for an instantly identifiable Cradle of Filth album. However, where Thornography tried to be a mid tempo thrash album with far too much Dani Filth singing, Godspeed, right from the first ‘real’ track, the excellent “Shat Out Of Hell”, signals that Cradle of Filth have a renewed, over the top vigor. After the pedestrian but moody “The Death of Love,” “The 13th Caesar” delivers another stellar highlight, as do “Tragic Kingdom,” “Sweetest Maleficia” and “Honey and Sulphur,” three classically styled, operatic yet darkly erotic, vitriolic tracks.
Granted, the last third of the album sort of ‘happens’ with no real stellar moments or glaring weaknesses, but that’s part in due to the two aforementioned, lengthy, back to back tracks that test your patience followed by a pretty slow track in “Ten Leagues Beneath Contempt”. However, the penultimate title track is a slicing, slashing, thrashing number flocked with menacing synths that reminded me of “Haunted Shores” from Dusk And Her Embrace and love ‘em or hate ‘em cements the album as one of Cradle of Filth's better recent releases.
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