Cradle of Filth
Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder

It would seem that every time I come across a Cradle of Filth CD, I feel slightly more inclined to school people. Not proverbially school them, but literally. I cast aside grammatically challenged losers like moldy bread, begin using more sophisticated words like “assuaged” and “indubitably” in daily speech, and resume my lifelong quest to purge the world of linguistically liberal artists like e e cummings (damn you and your luminous candy sky!). That is to say, Cradle of Filth gives me some semblance of entitlement when considering the richness of language used in their albums, courtesy of Filth’s only original member and eponymous mouthpiece, Dani Filth.

Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder doesn’t do that for me, unfortunately; for the most part, these words seem rehashed and rearranged from one of my favorite Cradle albums, Cruelty and the Beast. It’s okay considering Cradle dominates the field with pseudo-romanticist sado-orgiastic driven lyrics (I’m hard-pressed to name any other band that’s ever used the melodious word “sycophant”), but at the same time, this is Cradle of Filth, that very same group that defined the over-the-top lyricism of extreme metal back in the day with songs like “Queen of Winter, Throned,” “The Black Goddess Rises,” and “Funeral in Carpathia.” The least little gremlin Dani could do is throw out a couple words from the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary we hadn’t heard before.

By now everyone is aware that the Cradle of new is much different than the Cradle of pre-Midian, and comparing the songwriting styles of Stuart Anstis and Robin Eaglestone to Paul Allender and Dave Pybus is a meaningless endeavor. That said, I’m one of the few that enjoys both eras of Cradle, though the band has had their hiccups (Damnation and a Day, Thornography) and revolving door lineup changes. The last time we saw a great Cradle album was Nymphetamine; if Cradle of Filth were a wavelength, we’d be hitting another crest with Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder, which is every bit as musically engaging as Nymphetamine.

It almost follows Nymphetamine’s album structure song-for-song: intro, fast song, slower song, mid-paced song, etc. Allender and Pybus rumble through ten tracks (discounting the interludes, sorry) over the precision battery of Martin Å karoupka, who follows in Adrian Erlandsson’s blast-steps admirably. It isn’t nearly as safe as Thornography was (or at least as safe as the first half of Thornography), and is an ample reminder why Cradle remains a relevant force in metal today. There is much less narrative, which gives the instruments all the time in the world to set up some malevolent atmosphere. I think Dani may have got the message about him acting like a squawk-box over the past couple of albums.

The histrionic lyricism, as I’ve said, has gone to the wayside on Godspeed; odd, considering Baron Gilles de Rais (the original meat hook sodomite) is the focus of the entire album, and would make for wondrously malicious lyrics. Despite its gaping flaw, it may be the best Cradle album since Midian – a claim I do not make lightly.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kris Yancey
November 3rd, 2008


  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    entertaining read. was just listening to Cruelty and Midian the other night and feeling nostalgic.

  2. Commented by: Juan Pinto

    Yancey: Motorhead used the word “sycophant” on the lyrics to their song Orgasmatron.

  3. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    This is definitely their best in a while.

  4. Commented by: Rev

    Warrel Dane used ‘sycophant’ earlier this year.


  5. Commented by: Red

    A really nice review. I also thought this to be their best since Midian. As far as the two seperate eras (guitar-wise)is concerned, didn’t Paul Allender play on the debut The Principle of Evil Made Flesh???

  6. Commented by: swampthang

    you guys gotta read the review on teufels tomb of this album, it will make ya’ll laugh. Dani’s growlish vocals are okay I just don’t like his raspy yelps. But its cool album. Though the cover Arts not really sitting well with me but the concept I like lots.

  7. Commented by: Old Pick Axe

    I’m a long time fan of these guys. It blows Thornography out of the water, but Damnation And A Day is still my favorite. Good album though, with “Honey And Sulphur” and “Midnight Shadows Crawl To Darken Counsel With Life” being highlights.

  8. Commented by: Dan

    Skinless- Spoils of The Sycophant. You’re slipping Yancey. Watch your back.

  9. Commented by: Yancey

    Ah well, I can’t win ’em every time. All’s I know is, at least the album’s good.

  10. Commented by: Dimaension X

    I think the drummer breathed some evil fire back into these guys. He’s Norwegian, and much more of a traditional black metal drummer. A much needed kick in their collective British arses (arse -they’re Brits, ya know?)

  11. Commented by: JB

    Soulfly – Fall of the Sycophants from their Conquer album. There ya go, beeyatch!

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