Cradle of Filth - _Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa_
(Peaceville Records, 2010)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (
As I type these words, I can feel myself being inducted into a strange fraternity. This current piece is another entry into the long running Cradle of Filth reviews done by various writers of this site. Pedro Azevedo began his 1998 review of _Cruelty and the Beast_ with the words "So this is it. My turn to review an album by Cradle of Filth, a band almost everyone seems to either love or hate." Cradle of Filth is certainly a band everyone is aware of with opinions ranging from adoration to abysmal hatred. But just as Azevedo points out in his review, there are some who boast no opinion on these gloomy parliament of vampires. There are some of us who never cared but just sat with cocked eyebrows at the last decade.Cradle of Filth was my first exposure into a more extreme version of music which existed beyond the groovy riffs of nu metal. This was easy due to their albums being sold in the same stores as my groovy nu metal. Cradle of Filth's constant orbit on the mainstream periphery has made them accessible to fans and an easy target for black metal elitists. In fact, just the very mention of them being associated with black metal has resulted in at least three dead animals being placed on my doorstep. I will not disparage a band for gaining a larger commercial market. Cradle of Filth has a vision, and whether or not that vision can easily be sold as a poster, T-shirt or cardboard cutout is entirely the prerogative of the band and their fans. Furthermore, the marketability could easily be applauded, as the connection with disaffected teenagers has transcended the generational gap. In 2010, more than fifteen years since their inception, Cradle of Filth releases the iridescent bats, again -- only this time with the name _Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa_.Cradle of Filth offers a form of gothic escapism which rivals Stoker, Poe and at least three "Vampire: The Masquerade" campaigns. _Darkly, Darkly_ continues this vacation atmosphere with an enormous record. Along with the mail ordered bonus disc, _Darkly, Darkly_ comes in shy of two hours. If you were ever unsure of your commitment to a band, spend two hours, with the shades drawn, on a sunny Sunday afternoon. As stated before, it took me a while to get prepared for this record. After the candles were purchased and my Poppy Z Brite novels unearthed from my closet, I could adequately begin.The music on _Darkly, Darkly_ remains largely unchanged from previous releases, with Filth's voice zigzagging between guest female vocals among a forest of blast beats. The vocals have always seemed the most important aspect of Cradle of Filth, as it dominates and sometimes suffocates everything else. It always seemed odd to me that the strings and lush orchestration were carefully placed in a display before Danny Filth's ensuing bellyflop. Perhaps I cannot complain, as this is the way it has always been, with few expectations (2004's _Nymphetamine_ single as an example). Filth's voice mimics a murder of crows descending upon a carcass -- sure, it's cool visually, but it lacks order and any degree of finesse. Still, the album shines in certain places, including the majority of the bonus disc. The album's single "Forgive Me Father (for I Have Sinned)" does everything expected with little obstacles. The rest of _Darkly, Darkly_ holds itself up with little wavering or stagger. Despite all of the praises I can give one album, _Darkly, Darkly_ suffers from the average mark while being secondary to other equally despised 2010 gothic symphonic metal releases with black metal histories. For better or worse, Cradle of Filth has been riding a bone carved locomotive through the land of fame and fortune. Their music videos have become so bizarre and grandiose, I feel they will be honored with some artistic merit in no less than a century. Honestly, I can not watch them without images of face paint haunting my nightmares. If you enjoy their music, then please let me be the one to stamp your ticket for this ride. If you are a detractor, then I would ask what you are doing here in the first place. If you are like me and have no passionate feelings otherwise, keep those eyebrows cocked and don't move an inch.
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