Cradle of Filth is one of those bands that have been around for nearly 25 years, and with a band such as this one, it’s very hard to guess if they can/will be bringing us something new. But fans don’t always accept “new” from bands that have been long in the business, because they want the old savage obscene stuff on the likes of albums as “Principle of Evil Made Flesh”, “Dusk and Her Embrace”, “Cruelty and The Beast”, etc. And that was very evident when the band took a small shift in style on various newer albums

"Hammer of The Witches" album cover Cradle of Filth

“Hammer of The Witches” album cover

And as a die-hard fanatic of Cradle of Filth, I was really excited about this new album, and intended not to hear any of the singles until the entire album was out, because you see, according to interviews, this album is supposed to be a game changer, something that smacks the listeners back to the days of Cruelty and The Beast and Midian (ACCORDING TO INTERVIEWS). But the question is whether Mr. Filth could still nail those high notes, and whether the band as a whole was able to pull off something as gothic and atmospheric as the old albums.


But for this album, the band had a couple of new members (such as Richard Shaw and Marek ‘Ashok’ Šmerda on guitars and Lindsay Schoolcraft on keyboards and backing vocals) pumping a lot of fresh blood and energy into the band, witch which was pretty evident in their live performances prior to this album release.

And the new lineup didn’t fail in that sense on the new album. The twin guitar leads are back, the riffs are some of the best and busiest I’ve heard on a Cradle of Filth album since a (very) long time and some of the solos just scream for love, or witches.
Daniel Firth’s bass line is thunderous, blending perfectly with those guitars making the tracks feel heavier, Dani’s voice is screeching and his trademark high pitch howls are placed on most tracks adding intensity (something I thought he lost), even the way he alternates between those howls and growls was so tasty, since it’s something we haven’t heard in a long time. The drum work and blast beats by Martin “Marthus” Škaroupka are ferocious and plentiful all over the album, witch which keeps the album going forth. As for the keyboards and Lindsay’s voice, they are just too damn good! They add harmony and an atmospheric vibe to the album along its raw grittiness.

The album builds intensity and aggression with every track while a thrashy-grindcore influence is maintained on most tracks, breaking into a guitar solo every now and then, or into a short violin/piano/string ensemble section just to ease the listeners from what’s to come (or what’s passed).

But… this album takes A LOT to chew and swallow. For instance, there are too many things going on at the same time that you get lost on what’s going on to the extent that you will lose attention at some points. And it certainly was not what I (along with a huge portion of CoF fans) was expecting (no, it’s not a Dusk and Her Embrace part 2). But it did “hammer” us back to the old albums, especially “Cruelty and the Beast”, it has that vibe in it.

So if you have 56 minutes to spare, I recommend this album.

Recommended tracks: Enshrined in Crematoria, Blackest Magick in Practice, Deflowering the Maidenhead, Displeasuring the Goddess, and Right Wing of the Garden Triptych.

Score: 7.69/10

Check out the singles below and let us know what you think.

– Bashar Hassanieh

Read more by:  Bashar Hassanieh
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