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Cradle of Filth - Hammer of the Witches


by Kevin Wierzbicki

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The album opens with instrumental cut "Walpurgis Night," a reference to the night in German folklore when witches are said to party with their gods on a mountaintop. With tinkling piano, cooing female voices and a lush violin part the song casts a spell that is more alluring than it is sinister, just like a surreptitious peek at an actual ceremony might be. But the album is called Hammer of the Witches after all and it doesn't take long for the hammer to come down; drummer Martin Skaroupka beats the hell out of his kit on "Yours Immortally," giving the song a bit of a thrash edge as singer Dani Filth alternately growls like a demon and squeals like an imp. All of which, with the classic Cradle of Filth treatment, is tempered a little with prog metal keyboard. "Enshrined in Crematoria" features all of the above but also some hot lead guitar from Richard Shaw that goes beyond mere shredding. Mid-album cut "The Monstrous Sabbat (Summoning the Coven)" is another sublime instrumental, sort of an intermission from the pummeling, but of course you know what's to follow. Album's end brings a powerful ruckus as Cradle put the hammer down again with "The Vampyre at My Side" and "Onward Christian Soldiers," ultimately wrapping up with the gothic metal instrumental "Blooding the Hounds of Hell." It may not exactly be witchcraft but as usual Cradle of Filth have something very special going on here.

Cradle of Filth - Hammer of the Witches
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