In a lot of ways, Hammer of the Witches is a special album for me.
Not only did it mark the end of a time where I had drifted away from music, Cradle included, but it also made me realise why this was something I’ll never do again.
Listening to the tracks within was like a panacea for some poison that had wracked my soul; releasing me from some fetid bondage with beautiful gothic melodies and dark harmony.
Here, Cradle of Filth take us back to what makes them great, and they do so with renewed vigour and creativity.
Something about HOTW exudes an energy that can be attributed the phoenix; there is a creative fire that burns away at whatever may have held Cradle back, leaving us with stunning tracks like Blackest Magick in Practice.
Each track has a strong and unique signature, alternating between both beauty and brutality, with the musical flow we have come to expect from the band.
Dani’s vocals hit a good mix of his primordial screams and retching, with the guitar-work clear and purposeful. There are some wonderful technical elements also, without trying to dominate the tracks, whilst the drums beckon us on. Everything fits where it should.
The quality of the artwork really does represent the music here, and I would be really hard-pushed to rank each track.
Even the bonus track Misericord has seen a lot of replays by me, and moreso than some previous titles.
Overall then, the musical tone and balance is top notch, and gives fans something truly enjoyable in my opinion. If you were longing for something that reflected their earlier work, Hammer of the Witches will not disappoint.