Artist: Cradle of Filth
Title: Hammer of The Witches
Genre: Metal / Black Metal
Release Date: 10th July 15
Label: Nuclear Blast
CRADLE’s latest ritual offering, ‘Hammer of The Witches’, is an operatic scourge of macabre beauty, a stomping, guitar-raging manifesto for all covens of the metal movement. After the deliciously malignant concerto of madness that was ‘Manticore and Other Horrors’, ’Hammer of The Witches’ is in a way, an immense improvement; ‘Manticore’ had its significant moments but here, in this album, we most certainly see/ hear COF returning to their sadistic roots. The signature elements of salacious symphonics, raw and majestic howls of dark verses and ravaging riffs that we all correlate with the earlier albums are once again explored for the admirable wishes of their fan base. Before ‘Manticore’ there was a few sore efforts (we all know which albums that I’m referring to), so, ‘Hammer of The Witches’ is the new gracious purge of air punching sounds.
In this album, Dani Filth has resorted back to the age when poor women were executed for heresy or witchcraft, yet, instead, lyrically and conceptually he turns the whole story upside down, it is now the witches revolt, resulting in a victorious vengeance. The album is highly influenced by the 1486 treatise on the persecution of witches by Heinrich Kramer, which is known as the ‘Malleus Maleficarum’, translated as the literal title of this record. Dani’s scathing vocals viscerally dominate every track accompanied with the opulent voice of backup singer and keyboardist, Lindsay Schoolcraft. The intro to the album, ‘Walpurgis Eve’, conceives the tone and setting, an instrumental track that summons the dark, symphonic arias that’s synonymous with COF. Then, without any poetic discourse, a violent crash into the second track, ‘Yours Immortally’ erupts into an ecstatic ensemble of exquisitely executed drums by Martin Skaroupka which supports, what could be, one of the finest COF riffs to date.
‘Enshrined in Crematoria’ is a necromantic opus, heavily derivative of early COF - notions of ‘Cruelty and The Beast’, pure insatiable metal at its best. ‘Deflowering The Maidenhead, Displeasuring The Goddess’ is a melodic tour de force of brutality; a black metal anthem of melancholia, effortlessly contagious and epic. Although, not all of the tunes will be instant hits, they do take time to grow on you. That’s also indicative of the album’s single, ‘Right Wing of The Garden Triptych’, a strong performance by Dani and Lindsay but musically, it’s potentially the weakest, yet, on this album, even the weakest stand infallible.
This album heralds all of the classic ingredients; yet, they also encapsulate the latest compositions into the sound but fear not this cauldron conjures a diabolically adept brew. What’s also delightful about this latest rite is the composed perfection of the guitar solos; guitarists Shaw and ‘Ashok’ truly do add flames to the stake. The tracks on this LP have all of their own rhythms and soundscapes, the palette is vast and this is what makes Hammer of The Witches so refreshing. All COF fans, old and new shall find pleasure in this - it’s that götterdämmerunggood!
01. Walpurgis eve
02. Yours Immortally
03. Enshrined In Crematoria
04. Deflowering The Maidenhead, Displeasuring The Goddess
05. Blackest Magick In Practice
06. The Monstrous Sabbat (Summoning The Coven)
07. Hammer of The Witches
08. Right Wing Of The Garden Triptych
09. The Vampyre At My Side
10. Onward Christian Soldiers
11. Blooding The Hounds Of Hell
Dani Filth – Vocals
Martin ‘Marthus’ Skaroupka – Drums
Daniel Firth – Bass
Lindsay Schoolcraft – Keys and Vocals
Richard Shaw – Guitar
Marek ‘Ashok’ Smerda – Guitar
Total: 8.5 / 10