6 November 2013

Cradle Of Filth - Midian

I currently have a list of blogs to do, so am doing this one as a stop-gap. In my opinion, it's not Cradle Of Filth's best album. That honour belongs to "Dusk And Her Embrace". The reason I'm blogging this one is that this album came out at a time when there was a fair bit of buzz (both good and bad) surrounding not only the band, but the album itself, from what I remember.

Released in 2000, it came at a time when there was a fair bit of controversy surrounding Cradle Of Filth, due to controversial merchandise (A shirt which had a picture of a masturbating nun and the backprint JESUS IS A CUNT - pure shock tactics which were neither big nor clever) and somewhat controversial statements by frontman Dani Filth (When reviewing a single by Irish band Kerbdog, he registered his dislike by saying they should be "starved of potatoes again" in reference to the famine of the 19th century). He may or may not have mentioned an admiration for Marquis De Sade, but who knows or cares? Having said that, he did appear on a TV show called "Living With The Enemy" where he came across as a well-spoken person but ultimately someone who thought he was cleverer than what he really is. Possibly bordering on 'pretensiousness'. The band, as a whole, were also centre of a debate in the Black Metal scene with some afficiandos branding them as 'false' due to having production values and trying to expand the genre instead of trying to sound like the first Hellhammer demo. This was a particular arseache because what the majority of BM fans didn't realise is the reason a lot of the early Black Metal bands (Venom, Hellhammer, Bathory, Sarcofago) sounded like shit is because they simply didn't have the money to afford decent gear or decent recording facilities. It was never part of the rules! It was that kind of snobbery which made them look like the posers they accused CoF of being! And once a band starts doing well, the cries of "sell out" begin!

Anyhow, this album came out and by jingo, it's not too bad. The first thing you notice is that the keyboards are a bit more prominent than on previous releases, especially on the song "Saffron's Curse". The band had also obtained a new keyboardist by this point, Martin Powell who used to be in My Dying Bride. They'd also got a new drummer - Adrian Erlandsson (former At The Gates and The Haunted). While he was great with those bands, he doesn't seem as good with Cradle, probably due to the differing material. I mean, going from death metal and thrash metal to something approximating gothic symphonic metal must've felt weird. Ah well.

The album 'Midian' also marked the start of the 'Clive Barker' worship which would dog the band for a number of years. the central theme of the album was taken from a Clive Barker novella called 'Cabal', which was turned into a movie called 'Nightbreed' (It was a critical and commercial failure due to no-one knowing if it was supposed to be a slasher movie or a more off-beat horror movie. I saw it a few years ago and it wasn't too bad, I guess. Probably dated to fuck now though). The basic concept is that 'Midian' is a place where a load of monsters live or something. They'd also roped in as a guest narrator, Doug Bradley - an actor who is perhaps best known for playing 'Pinhead' in the first eight 'Hellraiser' movies. He's one of these actors who has a commanding voice and it suits the mood perfectly. I guess he was a bit cheaper than Christopher Lee and maybe Brian Blessed would've been a bit too commanding. His narration appears on "Her Ghost In The Fog" (About a man who finds his lover raped and murdered by five members of the clergy so he sets fire to the church with them in it - best song on the album) and "Tortured Soul Asylum". Other quality songs are "Cthulu Dawn" (About the H.P Lovecraft squidmonster evil God of the same name), "Lord Abortion" and the aforementioned "Her Ghost In The Fog". We could've done without "Satanic Mantra" though.

The rest of the songs themselves aren't too bad, although they maintain a decent amount of heaviness, they're just not as good as previous albums. It's obvious that the band were going for more mainstream recognition which kind of worked. Their videos became regular features on MTV2 and Kerrang! TV, they were in magazines more prominently, and they even went on to make a movie called "Cradle Of Fear" (I think it's excellent in a cheesy B-movie kind of way but when you're out-acted by Emily Booth's tits then the game is up!).

6/10 - Well it's alright, but still...

Chris J.

Yeah, it's on iTunes...

You can listen to the album on Spotify...
You can buy the album on Amazon...

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