Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa by Cradle of Filth
Release date : November 2010
Reviewed by Mark Fisher
After a major label outing, and two heavily pushed albums on Roadrunner Records, Cradle of Filth returns somewhat to their roots. The band’s latest work of disgusting, blistering, Black Metal, is freshly released on their own AbraCadaver Records (in conjunction with Peaceville Records in Europe and Nuclear Blast in the USA). It would seem that freedom from a more prominent label has led the band down a rawer path this time out. While not as heavy or haunting as Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder, Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa is much more overtly aggressive.
Proof of this rediscovered rawness comes right off the bat with the lumbering seven minute “The Cult of Venus Aversa.” Despite its classical introduction, it quickly becomes one of the more dynamic tracks the band has released in their storied career. “The Nun With the Astral Habit,” “Lilith Immaculate,” and “Harlot on a Pedestal” deliver tremendously fast undercurrents as the vocals struggle to keep up - causing an odd sort of pacing that is distinctly Cradle of Filth. About three-quarters of the way through the latter, the band lets its momentum be reigned in for a slightly bluesy guitar solo before unleashing the rest of the song. “One Foul Step From the Abyss” is another great moment, although it sounds like it could easily be a leftover from the Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder sessions.
While a lot of this album is tremendously fast and insane, just as the fans were clamouring for, the band also openly refuse to abandon the more “anthemic” moments that dominated Damnation and a Day and Nymphetamine. “The Persecution Song” is probably the best example of this, tinges of balladry and arena style metal abound. While many fans hate this aspect of the band, I love the clash it causes the rest of the album. The same goes for the album’s closing moment, “The Eleventh Hour.” Although faster and heavier than “The Persecution Song,” it exhibits a lot of the same dynamic.
When it comes to a band like Cradle of Filth, it’s all about what era of the band you prefer. This isn’t nearly as saturated with ugliness as their first few albums. It’s not nearly as commercial as Nymphetamine and Damnation and a Day. It’s certainly not as interesting or intense as Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder. What Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa is though is a return to a rawer production style (that suits them well) that deceives you at first, but later reveals itself to be a pretty solid mix of the band’s last four albums without letting any of them dominate it. If you are a longtime fan that has been losing interest, this may breathe some new life for you. If you have come onboard over the last few albums, this may take some warming up to.