When it comes to the name of these British extremists, one simply cannot stay too objective, or at least no more than with music itself. Today we have a new chance to delve in the works of one of the most debated and commercial bands on the field together with Dimmu Borgir
. The occasion is presented in the face of the newly hot-spawned tenth offspring of Dani Filth
& co, called "Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa".
Make no mistake - the jubilee album doesn’t bring any kind of revolution on its wings. Starting with the conceptual story based on Lilith
, a heroine who crawled her way through ever since the debut from the now distant 1994
– "The Principle of Evil
", followed by her appearances in "Cruelty and the Beast
and a Day" and "Nymphetamine". It seems that the band finally decided to pay full homage to one of its main lyrical inspirations, resulting in yet another dark-perverted story born of Dani’s twisted mind.
It’s hardly a big surprise to find the member crew changed once again, as often is the case with Cradle Of Filth
. The most important new addition is that of the keyboardist Ashley "Ellyllon" Jurgemeyer (ex-Abigail Williams
) who also performs additional vocal lines along with the main narrator Lucy Atkins. Their work wraps up the album in a somewhat "feminine" touch, as opposed to the spirit of "Godspeed
on the Devil
" which serves the opus a great deal. The commercial success of the first single "Forgive Me
, Father (I Have Sinned)" gladly has nothing to do with the rest of the material, vested in aggressive, guitar-oriented and even too often filled with blast beats musical face of the record. The female vocals often take more of a narration's spirit than clear singing style, in addition to Dani's well-known fastened high-pitched screams. The entire production fits the good old Cradle trademark, presented through lots of attention towards detail, concept, music and atmosphere. And
hell, this album has plenty of those.
What the record suffers from on a more profound level is caused by the main lack of shining moments of remembrance after almost an hour and a half prolonged musical experience. On the other hand, the 'hit' orientation of records such as "Nymphetamine" and "Thornography" provoked loads of negative critics to begin with, so Dani and his gang must've finally learned their lesson, deriving from the consistent musicianship level showed in the ranks of "Godspeed
on the Devil
" which is being demonstrated once again in the entire new album. Nevertheless, time comes to show that whenever the British guys want to go down the road and create complex music, they do it with a certain style that appeals to at least most of their fans. Such is the case here, presented with an intensively diverse album that might seem too demanding now and then, but it all gladly pays off in the end. The band is gradually relying on a more aggressive manner once again, carefully trying not to overload the entire picture with orchestrations and keyboards. The compositions are long enough, enriched with fast double riff attacks of Paul Allender and James McIlroy with the support of their colleague Martin Škaroupka who performs his bestial blasts devastation on the drums.
The album is suitable enough to take care of the whims of those who are not expecting to hear Dusk
Part II, but the fact that one can always go replay those treasures is enough for years to come, to say the least. As good as it really is, "Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa" is still far from any kind of comparison with those titles, but the important thing is that the effort stands solid and firm on its own, maybe even better than its nearby associates put together. The solos are deliberately cut short, but whenever they shine through, it’s done with a good reason, framing the entire record with an impression of a steady mood, conceived through all instruments and musicians in one utter unison instead of shifting the focus on keys/guitars/vocals 'fighting' with each other as is a common case when you're in the extreme symphonic field for decades.
The songs on their own are charged with quite a tension within the ranks of the record. Still, there are several key fragments that inevitably start to stick to the mind like glue after a couple of spins – the atmospheric guitar nature in the balladic spirit of "The Persecution
Song", along with faster riff-oriented tracks such as "The Spawning of Love and War
" and "Deceiving Eyes
", to name but a few of the really great compositions out there. The bonus tracks on the second CD are close to being flawless, presented in the piano structure of "Mistress
from the Sucking Pit" and the bizarre choir/sympho arrangements in "Beast
of Extermination" which vaguely remind of Hollenthon
and their own perspective of incorporating such elements in music.
Despite Cradle Of Filth
tried to cut their favorite picturesque extremism short and didn’t lose their way amidst long solo passages or fancy melodies, the album will still be a burden for many listeners, and it’s fully understandable. What redeems it is the fact that the result is qualitative enough to suit the likings of many other fans by default and to easily justify the blind purchase of the fanatics, of which there are many.
As for the aforementioned lack of mass symphonies – people who missed complex melodious arrangements and massive orchestral parts will have their chance soon since the band is recording an orchestral album based on the classics. The album in question was supposed to precede the actual one; in other words, it will feature orchestral versions of songs from the first four albums of the band – confirmed victims of the tracklist are "A Gothic
Roses for the Devil
)" and "Funeral
in Carpathia" from "Dusk
Her Embrace", "Summer Dying
Fast" and "The Forest
Whispers My Name" from "The Principle of Evil
the Howling Stars" from "Cruelty and the Beast
", etc. Scheduled for the middle of 2011.