Album Review : Cradle Of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches 
8th July 2015, 12:00
Posted by Tristan

As the saying goes revenge is a dish best served cold. Having waded through various line up changes, Cradle Of Filth return for their Nuclear Blast debut. Common fodder among the Gothic underworld the subject of witchcraft has always been pertinent. Yet only one side of the story has been illustrated, with Hammer Of The Witches the band aim to show the other side of the coin. Though the album might not be strictly conceptual the same determination that the Witches have for revenge is shared by the band with this their rebirth.


1. Walpurgis Eve
2. Yours Immortally
3. Enshrined In Crematoria
4. Deflowering The Maidenhead, Displeasuring The Goddess
5. Black Magick In Practice
6. The Monstrous Sabbat (Summoning The Coven)
7. Hammer Of The Witches
8. Right Wing Of The Garden Triptych
9. The Vampyre At My Side
10. Onward Christian Soldiers
11. Blooding The Hounds Of Hell

Length: 56:11
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: July 10th 2015

Bursting through the speakers we see our first example of the new breed of Cradle Of Filth manifest after the somber introduction of “Walpurgis Eve“. Dani Filth‘s lacerating lyrics cut through the verse giving way to our first example of that inimitable howl. Blossoming into black decay, the combination of the haunting organ work on “Yours Immortally” welcomes some heavy melodic death metal style guitar it’s the perfect introduction to our story of Hammer of The Witches. Previously songs have been some what lack lustre peaking far too soon and plodding along for the rest of the five minutes allowed. With a renewed line up the creativity of the band returns back to the classic era where Goths ruled Camden.

With the beautiful “Deflowering The Maidenhead, Displeasuring The Goddess” a fantastic stake in the band’s evolution. Featuring a classic gothic opening, yet mid way through begins a transformation into something else entirely. Not to mention an intriguing take on humans essentially raping the earth. A metaphor for our current globalisation, meant by the first section of the song’s title. Lead guitars waltz, drums hammer the entire band come together magnificently. Leaning slightly more towards the more progressive spectrum the song is a fantastic example of songwriting evolution, a morbid highlight of the album.

Another string to Hammer’s bow is the sense of pace. Previously songs were lofty and grandiose for the sake of it. Every song works beautifully in the malevolent tableau that the band adopt. Take “Blackest Magick In Practice” beginning as a slow almost quasi ballad tempo were then moved into another faster verse section. Instrumentally the album flourishes, guitarist Richard Shaw up’s the ante with not only weaving leads but also some outstanding solo work. Giving the songs dynamics, depth and most importantly keeping them interesting. The blistering guitar solo of “Enshrined In Crematoria” proving that new guitarist Shaw is more than up to the task.

Proceeded by the atmospheric interlude of “The Monstrous Sabbat (Summoning The Coven)” we see our ears entranced with obsidian harps giving way to arguably the heaviest and most straightforward title track “Hammer Of The Witches“. Adopting the styles of classic Black Metal the riffs, evolving into triplet sections are very much focal points of the song. Before Melodic Death Metal style tremolo picking enters igniting the blackest of circle pits. Known for their theatrical element the title track employs the spoken word section of our female lead before the denouement of swelling organs from our keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft.

Beautiful melodies stealthily infiltrate tracks like “Right Wing Of The Garden Triptych” after the initial classic pick slide intro containing a bridge that would conjure Dracula himself. or the midsection arpeggio usage in “Blackest Magick…” Focusing on delivering the best song writing possible the band perform with a veteran sense of identity but a young blood sense of delivery, encapsulated fantastically in the vignettes by Filth.

It is also worth mentioning that the symphonic elements neither overshadow or lurk. Complimenting the music as and when it is needed whilst not becoming an overbearing presence in itself. Grand finale “Onward Christian Soldiers” finishes the album off tastefully without moving into the pitfall of being grandiose for the sake of it. Even containing a keyboard sections that Jordan Rudess would be proud of. Not overstaying it’s welcome the tracks blister past with introductions all but detracting from the classic Cradle Of Filth experience enhancing the albums digestion.

With Hammer Of The Witches, Cradle Of Filth have both reinvented their tired and predictable approach. Theatrical twists and turns are not only represented in the ghoulish Machiavellian lyrics but in the music itself. Tied together with the cobweb laden bow of the beautiful artwork from Arthur Berznish Cradle Of Filth have not only returned but have brought their fifteen year old, voracious sound into the modern day with a fantastic twist. A beautifully cinematic morbid tour de force.

Cradle Of Filth return more defiant than ever with their new release that will have both Succubus and Incubus donning their most lavish and grim attire for a truly haunting listen.

If you liked what you read / heard then you can pick up the album before its worldwide release date this Friday July 10th here!