“Midian,” Cradle’s fifth studio release, is considered by many fans to be their best. And even though I can’t really discern between Cradle of Filth albums, this C.D. is also a good one to get if you’re new to this British dark metal group.
“Midian” combines brains with brawn. “Midian” is mentioned in the Bible via the Midianites, an Arab tribe which assigns as their ancestor an eponym called Madian, the son of Abraham by Qetourah–wikipedia.org. Thus, this album is one with a concept/story behind it; it is a concept album. But “Midian,” like most Cradle albums, is also quite brutal. Adrian’s drumming is very fast and deft, and Dani constantly shrieks like a little girl who touched a hot stove; but it’s Paul’s scorching, spiteful guitar riffing that dominates the salvo.
“At the Gates of Midian” is just a little intro. It uses a choir and what sounds like a violin to create a very ominous sound.
“Cthulhu Dawn” has a fast drum beat and some keyboards, but they don’t stand a chance against the rip-roaring riffs. This song, like the album, feels very dark and cold.
“Saffron’s Curse” is six and a half minutes long. It begins with-what sounds like-some twinkling keyboards. That part abruptly ends when the fast, explosive, churning guitars make an entrance. I enjoy how this song, creatively, uses a soft-loud, up-down song structure. During one part where it’s quiet, a piano and some female, spoken word vocals enter the mix.
“Death Magick for Adepts” has more big, pounding riffs, but this song occasionally turns to just Dani sneering over a drum beat. A deep, low voice takes Dani’s place near the end, and it ends with the sound of thunder.
“Lord Abortion” is about seven minutes long. It begins with a slow lead in, but then a big, deep yell, stomping drums, and more heavy churning riffs make an entrance.
“Amor E Morte” is dominated by Adrian, the drummer. He creates a fast running/driving beat and doesn’t let up. A pair of guitar solos are thrown in, but Adrian’s work really shines, here.
“Creatures that Kissed in Cold Mirrors” uses a xylophone (or something) to make another creepy, ominous interlude.
“Her Ghost in the Fog” is highlighted by more propulsive guitar work, including a face-melting pick slide.
“Satanic Mantra” is another interlude, with spoken word chants of: “Arch angel, dark angel, lend me thy light…”
“Tearing the Veil from Grace” is another explosive, speaker shaking headbanger, which may be the heaviest track on “Midian.” It has more roaring, brooding, and running, cascading riffs.
“Tortured Soul Asylum” begins with a few spoken words, so I thought it was going to be just a short outro; but it changes gears and becomes another densely noisy and heavy, opaque rocker.
I can’t imagine why one would think that “Midian” isn’t a good place to start if you’re new to this band, but even if it isn’t, Cradle definitely use all of their best, famous qualities: dark, rip roaring, riffs, explosive beats, shrieking vocals, etc., etc.
It’s hard not to give this album five stars. Since it is very good, I’ll give it a 4.5 star rating, but, like almost all black metal, “Midian” does get somewhat monotonous. That shouldn’t stop you, however, from getting this album if you’re a dark/black metal fan, or a fan of this band. Even casual Cradle fans should probably own this album. Plus, if you want a well rounded heavy metal collection, you’ll need to have some dark metal in it, too, and if you’re new to that genre, let me recommend this album, because I don’t think anyone does what they do better than Cradle of Filth.