Annihilating! A great reminder of 'Midian' replayed with a similar "kick" to it. Not as well-flowing as that one, just great to hear that they've stepped up once again from their previous 'Manticore'. The energy is good, still gothic/dark and heavy, another thing is that they've really acquired good lead guitar-work when executed. I tell you, I was apprehensive in purchasing this one because of one of the YouTube videos I saw then a friend giving it an average summation which would equate to me thinking that it's garbage. Way wrong! Really good music! It's all fresh, though the constant line-up changes in this band has them changing concepts in songwriting though this reflects the past as mentioned.
Dani is still going hardcore intense throat though about the same as on 'Midian', I won't say way back until 'Dusk...and Her Embrace'. The music is really HEAVY and the synthesizers make it into a darker aura reflecting the Lovecraft-laden lyrics. The album is another long one, about an hour in length. However, it doesn't weaken or bore the listener, it's actually quite entertaining. The guitars are thick and in some instances fast/tremolo picking with blast-beating. In other parts, mild and melodic. The whole album has the music changing up that gothic sounding keyboard always in the background making the release more "evil" in entirety and chilling. Suffice to say here that Cradle of Filth isn't giving up, this is their vengeance!
It was unfortunate what happened to the band's old site where the forum collected people from around the globe, but I think that they did that to focus on a new domain and a new era of extreme gothic metal, their currently defining genre. 'Hammer of the Witches' has some entertaining song titles as they are so notorious for creating. I think that you can say that this is another "concept album" by them and that "concept" is pure blasphemy. There's no letting up in the dreariness or darkness, it's just a reenacted 'Midian', I can't stress that enough. However, the recording here is better than that one, you can hear it entirely plus they're always changing things up here. Not a whole lot of repetition.
Among Cradle of Filth albums, 3 of them stand out the most: 'Dusk...and Her Embrace', 'Midian' and this one 'Hammer of the Witches'. The main reasons are not the lyrical themes they touch upon, they've never reached me in that respect, it's the music and vocals that I think are the strongest on these. These guys are back with a vengeance. Totally not "selling-out" and you can only find a few tracks on YouTube. They want their music bought in the physical CD rather than what most bands have done as well as lost money by going on YouTube, full albums that is. You can find a couple of songs, but when you get the full-length, it's totally convincing and just head-pounding.
I think that what makes Cradle of Filth stand out in the metal community is their unique vocals, songwriting style and entirely maiming listeners with their brutality in a gothic fashion. World-wide fans is a known for a reason, mainly because they really know how to hit home on making music. Check out some of their videos on YouTube because you can hear how they've relived that past era of style into a modern-day 21st century metal fashion. I support Cradle of Filth, not so much Dani's side project Devilment. If the songs on YouTube for 'Hammer of the Witches' doesn't convince you, then a true fan you are not. This album simply crushes from beginning to end!