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Cradle Of Filth - "Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa" (CD)

Cradle Of Filth - "Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa" CD cover image

"Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa" track listing:

1. The Cult of Venus Aversa (7:07)
2. One Foul Step From the Abyss (4:53)
3. The Nun with the Astral Habit (4:55)
4. Retreat of the Sacred Heart (3:56)
5. The Persecution Song (5:34)
6. Deceiving Eyes (6:32)
7. Lilith Immaculate (6:12)
8. The Spawn of Love and War (6:19)
9. Harlot on a Pedestal (5:09)
10. Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned) (4:33)
11. Beyond the Eleventh Hour (7:16)

Reviewed by on November 18, 2010

"The release is essentially a return to late ‘90s form for Dani Filth and company, just with a more polished sound."

Infamous British outfit Cradle of Filth has been consistently pumping out full-length albums for almost twenty years now, going from black metal darlings to reviled icons of all that is mainstream. The latest offering “Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa” isn’t going to draw in anyone who wasn’t impressed before, but it does go back to a more consistently heavy sound than has been heard from the band for a few albums. The release is essentially a return to late ‘90s form for Dani Filth and company, just with a more polished sound.

The album puts its best foot forward with opener “The Cult of Venus Aversa,” which pulls off all Cradle of Filth’s standard elements about as well as the band has ever done. Symphonic elements appear throughout the song, bringing to mind the gothic soundtrack to the “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night” video game. An introduction featuring female clean talking sets the stage for the disc’s main character of Lilith, a figure who is near dear to the hearts of the a-religious, the un-religious, and the anti-religious.

Almost uniformly, all the female vocal aspects of the album are over the top, overblown, and frequently silly, but that’s part of Cradle of Filth’s charm. On the vocal front, Dani’s high pitched shrieks maintain their trademark style, so apparently he hasn’t quite lost it yet after all these years. The blast beats are also back in a big way, with that method of rapid-fire drumming making up the bulk of the drum work. Overall the disc feels like a continuation of the “Cruelty and the Beast” album, and an active attempt to put “Nymphetamine” and “Thornography” in the past. The song construction and feel of each track generally keeps the same vibe as what Cradle was up to a decade or more ago.

Despite the heavier tone, there are still moments more clearly influenced by rock that gets the heads bobbing in between all the virgin sacrificing and perverted sex acts. Songs like “Forgive Me Father For I Have Sinned” are a bit on the catchy side, and tracks like “Deceiving Eyes” occasionally drop out of black metal and just go for full-on gothic opera.

Unfortunately the album does lose a bit of steam as it goes along. “War” has the requisite heaviness and speed, but it’s a bite that lacks any teeth. The menace and evil just isn’t there, and the song is rather repetitive and bland. “Harlot on a Pedestal” suffers in the same way, dragging on a bit and landing well behind Cradle of Filth’s more stellar tracks.

Fans of the band are going to get exactly what they’d expect on “Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa,” and anyone who liked the earlier albums will dig this one. While the album isn’t a flop by any means, it seems like it’s time for Cradle of Filth to find a way to keep the heavy black metal roots and still branch out with something slightly different.

Highs: Brings back some of the best sounds from the band's discography.

Lows: Some of the songs are repetitive, and the album doesn't really explore any new territory.

Bottom line: A continuation of the band's "Cruelty and the Beast" era music that gets Cradle Of Filth back to a heavier sound.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)