After catching Cradle Of Filth‘s fantastic set at Graspop Festival, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this album, we were lucky enough to be treated to ‘ Right Wing Of The Garden Triptych‘ live and get a taste of what was to come. Hammer of the Witches is the 11th studio album and first to feature the current line up; and have all of them contribute to the writing process, I think this has really made this album special. After giving it a few spins I have to say this is my favourite album since the release of Midian in 2000.
After the many line-up changes over the years from losing members, gaining new ones and old ones returning…. and then leaving again; leaving Dani Filth as the only original member. However after hearing Hammer of the Witches and witnessing their recent live performance it has shown me just how strong the line-up is right now! The guitar work is really something, with killer dual guitars and solos unlike anything we have really heard from Cradle before, it really does make this album refreshing. Another fantastic addition is Lindsay Schoolcraft providing a contrast from the darker heavier side of Dani’s vocals and the thunderous riffs. Her vocals bring a very welcome balance to the music, as well as her keyboard and harp really adding something so beautifully twisted to the mix.
First highlight for me is when the intro riff to Enshrined In Crematoria kicks in and its reminiscent of The Black Goddess Rises from their first studio album, intended or not its a nice treat for any old school Cradle fans. My personal favourite track is Right Wing Of The Garden Triptych, a fantastic choice of track for the first video to tease the release of the album, really giving you a taste of what is to come from Hammer Of The Witches. Featuring a good mix of both Dani and Lindsay’s vocals and a rather awesome sweep picking guitar solo, also gives a good range of the heavier and more symphonic sides that Cradle have to offer.
As a very contented long time fan of Cradle of Filth I think that the old school fans will be happy with this release, I also think it will appeal to a new audience too. From me this album gets a 4 star review, I can’t stop listening to it, and I cannot wait to catch them live again on their just announced European tour at the end of the year!
Hammer of the Witches is out on Nuclear Blast July 10th worldwide.
1. Walpurgis Eve
2. Yours Immortally
3. Enshrined In Crematoria
4. Deflowering The Maidenhead, Displeasuring The Goddess
5. Blackest Magick In Practice
6. The Monstrous Sabbat (Summoning The Coven)
7. Hammer Of The Witches
8. Right Wing Of The Garden Triptych
9. The Vampyre At My Side
10. Onward Christian Soldiers
11. Blooding The Hounds Of Hell
Dani Filth – Vocals
Martin Skaroupka – Drums
Daniel Firth – Bass
Richard Shaw – Guitar Soul
Ashok – Guitar Soul
Lindsay Schoolcraft – Keys and Female vocals.