[From this week's Cleveland Free Times.]
CRADLE OF FILTH
Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder
(Roadrunner) Listeners unfamiliar with the band might say every song by norteño kings Los Tigres del Norte sounds the same; and to a first-timer, they probably do. But a devotee understands the value of subtle changes on a theme. For the same reason, an album as utterly lacking in dynamic fluctuations, rhythmic shifts, hooks and catchy choruses as Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder is probably exactly what a Cradle of Filth fan is seeking. And if everyone else on Earth is repelled, that's fine - indeed, for some, it could be part of the appeal.
Godspeed suffers from all the usual Cradle weaknesses, starting with Dani Filth's voice, which is so harsh and caustic it makes the listener's throat hurt in sympathy. It kicks off with a faux-orchestral overture that sounds like a Chiller Theatre reworking of the theme from Requiem for a Dream. It seems interminable - more than a dozen songs, nearly 78 minutes of music. And it's pretentious beyond belief: A concept album about the life of medieval aristocrat/serial killer Gilles de Rais, it features between-song poetry bits read by Doug "Pinhead from the Hellraiser movies" Bradley. But if you're already a fan, you'll probably love it.