CRADLE OF FILTH - "MIDIAN" (MUSIC FOR NATIONS)
I don't know what it is about Cradle of Filth. They make all the moves they could possibly make in order for people to call them sell-outs, including making movies and overpriced EPs, doing all kinds of politically incorrect shocking things here and there, and generally be bad boys who just happen to be really popular and probably earn a fair bit of money. And I didn't like "Midian" at all the first time I listened to it, no, not at all. I was in fact doing some creative thinking involving more brilliant synonyms of words like "crap", "shite" and "bollocks" (excuse my French, obviously, or parents will be Surf-locking this page from their children soon).
So I started listening to the CD a second time, fired up the ol' PC with "Notepad" (yep, me, I write all my reviews straight in HTML code, and obviously "Notepad" is the editor of choice for all HTML programming) and warmed up my fingers by doing some quick typing.
"Well, Cradle have tried to do it again but they have failed to make a convincing album, it's just not quite up to stirring anything in me, and it's nowhere near as good as 'Dusk' or 'Cruelty' though, granted, it's better than the lukewarm and overpriced 'Enslave' EP, you can see that changing their drummers again has not yielded any result and the return of some of their former members has not borne fruit either..."
But then it happened. I started to discover that certain songs actually had a bit of appeal. My viewpoint of the album was turning towards a slightly more positive one. The drums were a bit synthetic-sounding, somehow. I listened again. I turned off the PC and listened to it again a few days later. Then to work, in the car. And that was it, the fourth time of listening, that turned my views just about 360...um...I mean, 180 degrees from what they had been before.
"Midian", of course, is rather brilliant. "Cthulhu Dawn" is good, "Saffron's Curse" has excellent female vocals, "Death Magick for Adepts" is in fact beyond cool (also because of Doug "Pinhead" Bradley does some invocating in it that is almost at a par with Cronos' rallying war speech of yore), "Lord Abortion" is excellent, "Amor E Morte" is an absolute climax of sheer black metal brilliance, "Creatures that Kissed in Cold Mirrors" is a splendidly atmospheric instrumental, "Her Ghost in the Fog" is another True Corker, "Tearing the Veal of Grace" just continued in that trend, and "Tortured Soul Asylum" closes the album off with a great touch of class. The impression of the whole thing (and I don't mean the horribly long sentence I've just concocted and that really pulls down the linguistic level of this piece of writing) is, in fact, that this might very well be one of the finest CDs of the year.
Which means that I seem to be unable to write anything bad about Cradle of Filth. Well hey. But the drums are slightly synthetic, and "Satanic Mantra" is a short superfluous thing.
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Written November 2000
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