Cradle of Filth – Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa

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Reviewed: December 2010
Released: 2010, Peaceville
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: UK Team

I was pretty chuffed to be offered Cradle of Filth’s new album “Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa” to review. I knew I would be able to give them a fair trial and for once, a genuinely unbiased review. Most have a very fixed views of Cradle of Filth by now, which is not about to change even if this new album turns out to be their “magnum opus” (you know who you are). It has to be said that Cradle have been a bone of contention, subject of heated debates and the brunt of Cradle bashing outbursts for as long as I can remember. Aside from arguments over Axl Rose and Guns n Roses, Cradle has had more drunken band debate airtime than than any other band I can think of!

It’s not even a case of love or loathing them. The problem I think lies in the fact that most people have really been in to Cradle of Filth at some time or another over the last 19 years (can you believe it’s been that long). So when they have changed line-up or became more main stream, a lot of people felt betrayed and disappointed. I reckon this is where the bitterness comes from. Any Alternative band or artist that tries to make to much money and broaden their fan base in to the mainstream always get officially hung out to dry by the metal/alternative community. Songs like the cover “Temptation” were never going to get the backing of old school Filthy fans. And yes some of Dani & co’s outfits and music video’s of late have Cradle looking like a caricature of themselves. Dani Filth looking like he has brought every fetish item on Camden high street and then deciding to wear it all at once. I think we need more “vampire aristocrat rock god” and less “PVC princess”, but then who am I to give fashion tips?!

On previous albums I absolutely loved songs like “Summer Dying Fast” from “Bitter Sweet the Succubae”, but also slower tracks like “Nympethamine”. In fact the only album I genuinely hated was “Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder” which I thought was just badly rushed and released for the sake of it. Hell I even liked the softer edged Thornology due to excellent song writing.

So without further ado here is what I think of the new album “Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa!”

The album is based on Lilith, the first wife of Adam from Adam and Eve fame. Not the nicest person/demon/mythological character from religious script is has to be said, but an excellent topic for a Cradle of filth album. Think child killing mother of all Succubi and that’s Lilith.

Firstly it appears that Cradle has stopped trying to break the mainstream and have gone back to their roots. Mind you, this album is more horror thrash than black metal. This album is fast, I mean really fast, with gattling gun drums and unrelenting guitars. I mean seriously, if drummer “Martin Skaroupka” had to play each song from this album back to back live without a break he would probably be hospitalized with exhaustion.

The guitars are equally as hard hitting, with my only real complaint being there is not a lot of riffing and solos are few and far between. Paul Alexander on guitar as always gives that great drive, momentum and that Cradle feel to the album. Though old Cradle new how to take a give you a reprieve from the break neck speed with eerie haunting vocal, keyboard sections and that evil whisper Dani used to master so well. But on this album you can see a lot less evidence of this, there is little or no reprieve for the first half of the album. But again I like it and am not complaining.

Vocally Mr Filth has appeared to try to change his vocals and sings the majority of the verses in a lower tone, that to be honest I am not a huge fan of. There is a lot less banshee shrieking in the main than on early albums and he hardly uses the double layered recorded growl and guttural roar’s of old. Also the addition of “Abigail Williams” as the female vocalist is a welcome addition perfectly balancing Dani adding a fresh new element to this album.

Yes the album is harder and faster than they have been for the last 4 albums and it’s great to see the guys playing like this again. It’s a good album, a touch same’y but as a stand alone album you just can’t say it’s not a good one. In fact the more I listen to it the more it’s growing on me, a good sign on any album. “Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa” is not their best album, but it’s certainly the best album they have recorded since “Damnation and a Day”. I get the feeling Dani & co have really released this album as a statement to combat some of the bad press they have had in recent years. The statement is” we are still an extreme metal band and can still play harder and faster than most”. This album should silence a lot of Cradle of filth\’s critics, but then Cradle of Filth will always have their haters. But as a friend said to me last week “It’s just not fashionable to hate Cradle of filth anymore”.

In summary the album is unrelenting, extreme and musically sound. The musicianship is fantastic and again hats of to the drummer. You need to be in the mood for this album as like I said it pulls no punches. This album makes no apologies for what it is and I love it for exactly this reason. It’s great to see Cradle of Filth back in form!

Nick Mendivil


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Track Listing:
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 Eleventh Hour

Limited Edition Bonus Disc:
1.Beast of Extermination
2.Truth & Agony
3.Mistress From the Sucking Pit
4.Behind the Jagged Mountains
5.Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned)

Dani Filth – lead vocals
Paul Allender – lead guitar
Dave Pybus – bass
James McIlroy – rhythm guitar
Martin Škaroupka – drums
Ashley Ellyllon – keyboards, backing vocals

Andy James – Guest solos
Lucy Atkins – Female vocals
Choirs: Ruth McCabe, Tim Cutts, Craig Miller, Philippa Mann, Dora Kemp, Anna Asbach-Cullen