Cradle of Filth
Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa
01 November 2010
by Hugh Platt
You made up your mind about Cradle of Filth years ago. Admit it. Nothing that gets written in this review – just like nothing that Cradle of Filth recorded for Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa – is going to change your opinion, is it?
Tell you what, let’s run through a list of cliched statements about Cradle of Filth right now, so we don’t have to bring them up for the rest of the review, shall we? [They’ve changed members a few times]. [Some cunt threw a gobstopper at Paul Allender at Bloodstock Open Air 2009]. [They’re not black metal (but then they never really have been)]. [Dani Filth is short]. [Oh look, ‘Jesus is a Cunt’ t-shirts]. Got all the bullshit out the way now? Everyone feeling minty fresh and ready to go on? Cheers.
Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa feels as if Cradle have hauled in some of the excesses that they’re known for – for better and for worse. When the symphonics are given free reign they surge and threaten to suffocate everything else Cradle are doing, but when Martin Skaroupka has a blast beat to batter out, their input drops to the other end of the scale, and they end up feeling squeezed out by the rest of the band. Paul Allender’s guitars are as outright “metal” as anything he’s ever done, and it’s a shame that they won’t be the factor you remember Venus Avera for. The leads on ‘Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned)’ almost echo the tone of classic Iron Maiden, while the lower-end weight that both he and James Mcilroy provide to ‘Deceiving Eyes’ and ‘Harlot on a Pedestal’ gives Cradle back some of the dynamic muscle they’ve lacked in the past when relying on the rhythm section alone to deliver it.
Watch the video to Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned) by Cradle of Filth:
For all intents and purposes, this isn’t a bad Cradle record. It papers over the hairline flaws that Godspeed The Devil’s Thunder was stricken with – it’s shorter, tighter, and benefits hugely from being a less bloated album overall – and it’s a better album for it. But is that all Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa is? A cover-up job, another milestone in Cradle’s long career? The faults and foibles of Filth and co are still there, and indeed are probably so ingrained at this point that they’ll always be there. But that’s kinda why Cradle have endured so long, and why British metal is all the stronger for having them continue as a figurehead of what it’s possible for a British metal band to achieve.
So cheer up, everyone. Put on a Cradle of Filth record and look at some pictures of some wanking nuns.
Sounds like: depending on the cut of your prejudice – same old shit
Top tracks: The Cult of Venus Aversa, Deceiving Eyes, Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned)
Cradle of Filth – Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa tracklisting:
The Cult of Venus Aversa
One Foul Step from the Abyss
The Nun with the Astral Habit
Retreat of the Sacred Heart
The Persecution Song
The Spawn of Love and War
Harlot on a Pedestal
Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned)
Beyond Eleventh Hour