Cradle of Filth - _Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder_
by: Paul Williams (
This is the first Cradle of Filth album that I've listened to since it was first released that they would be going into the studio to record _Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder_. In my child like mind I thought that this would allow me to have a relatively unbiased view while reviewing it, as I would only have the vague recollections of the other albums, and I wouldn't have to be constantly saying how much better previous albums were. Now I'm not completely sure whether this has worked, but I do think that if I had sat around listening to my favourite CoF albums I wouldn't have enjoyed this album as much as I did.Now CoF have never been ones to do things on a small scale, but I was surprised to hear that _Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder_ was to be a concept album based upon a Satan worshiping, clergy killing, child molesting Frenchman. Strange as this may sound, but this seems like the perfect topic for a band like CoF to embrace, and where other bands may fail when doing concept albums based on people of a strange being (Judas Priest with Nostradamus), CoF have been successful in doing it before when the concept was Countess Bathory.On this, the band's eighth album, CoF seem to have taken a step back in the innovation department and instead rely on a well set out formula of extreme gothic metal, or symphonic black metal, or whatever sub-sub genre they happen to be going under at the moment. The point is, in the past seventeen years CoF may have been called sell outs and shit, but there is no doubt they have a certain item in their music which they seem to have homed in on over the years and narrowed down to something of an art. Perhaps it's the atmosphere of the keyboards, the breakneck blast beats and distorted guitars, all pulled together by Dani Filth's trademark vocal style. Whatever it is exactly, they have really stuck in that frame of mind for this album, and as you will see it can be a good thing and a bad thing.So the album kicks off, right after you listen to the two and a half minute intro which really need not be there, with the devil rousing "Shat Out of Hell", and it is exactly what I want to here from CoF; an excellent song with Dani snarling the title at me while the rest of the band whips up a storm. There is a bit of déjà vu around the song, but it is more the fact that it sounds like a mixture of songs rather than a whole hearted rip off of an old song. The same can be said for "The Death of Love", which sees CoF at their cheesiest; the basic song structure is that of any other of their more gothic songs, especially with Sarah Jezebel Deva adding her vocals to the song, but the lyrics are pretty awful really, with it just seeming as though Mr. Filth got any old rhyming words to use as lyrics. Another song which is really just passable comes in the form of "Sweetest Maleficia", with relatively cheesy but at least endurable lyrics and excellent vocals from Dani, taking full advantage of his demonic scream.A main qualm I have had with listening to this album is the crazy amount of filler that is shoved in places all willy nilly, and the problem is it isn't even good filler. As the album comes in at around 70 minutes long, I would really like to see how long it was without useless tracks like "Tiffauges".We only really get to a have feel for some exciting material when "Tragic Kingdom" and "Honey and Sulphur" come bursting out of the speakers. Apart from these being the best songs on the CD, they are also the two which remind me most of why I don't hate CoF. The songs are fast, heavy and catchy, and in those moments you're caught up in the whirlwinding atmosphere that is so much a part of CoF. It was probably these two songs that also made me realise that _Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder_ is a straightforward CoF album. It is what CoF have grown to be. This album certainly isn't going to convert the haters, but it will quench the thirst of fans for now. It just seems as though CoF needed to have pulled their finger out and really pushed to create something that was worthwhile and not an album that never leaves its comfort zone.
(article published 12/13/2008)
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