*takes deep breath* Alright, people… You have made me peeved to the highest extent with all your complaining of “oh, CoF isn’t tr00 black metal, they ruined the name” or garbage such as “dani sounds like a little girl”. GET OVER IT!! I DON’T CARE!! If you have absolutely nothing worthwhile to say, don’t even say it. Constructive criticism is one thing, but childish bashing is the lowest form of reviewing you can go by. The last thing I want to read is some elitist saying, “cradle of crap suck, go listen to dark funeral or gorgoroth.” Listen. I consider myself a metalhead of all sorts. I like CoF, but I also happen to like Burzum, Darkthrone, Judas Iscariot, Mayhem, Leviathan, and many other BM bands. Heck, I even like power metal! I could just as easily listen to a band like Dimmu or CoF as I could Graveland, Krieg, or Xasthur. “Elitist” has become a tab for “narrow-minded parasite”. So to everyone that complains without reason, open your mind. Go listen to Ulver or Agalloch, it opens a whole new world to you… With that out of the way, on to the music!
Alright, I admit it. I was scared about CoF signing to Roadrunner, home to many nu-metal/metalcore bands, which formerly held mentionable death metal bands as well. (How the mighty have fallen, I suppose?) The metal community in general was left in skepticism and doubt after 2003’s bombastic “Damnation and a Day”, and this album was said to put the fellows in CoF back to their old formula of Maiden-like goth metal with tinges of dark romance. And it has, without a doubt. No symphonies or choirs to be found, but we now see the beloved twin guitars, gothic keys, and vampiric atmosphere known to old CoF releases. Dani’s lyrics mark a return to sexual bereavement and debauchery laced with vampirism and romance. His vocals this time around are more mid-pitched, much like the previous album.
The guitars… Wow, what can be said? Paul and James switch off twin harmonies beautifully on songs like “Absinthe with Faust”, the epic title track, and the “Dusk..”-esque “Swansong for a Raven”, but there are a lot of meaty riffs to be found, especially “Gilded C***” and “Filthy Little Secret”. A top-notch performance here.
The drums are pretty good, but I don’t think it’s the best Adrian can do. That’s not to say they’re bad, becuause the music speaks for itself most of the time. He gives battering double bass on “Nemesis”, and blasts away with ease on “Mother of Abominations”. His rhythms strongly compliment the guitars. Great performance, again.
1. Satyriasis- You would hear this and think it would be DaaD all over again? Maybe… but not quite. It sounds like it’s straight from a horror movie with its terrifying atmoshere, which busts into..
2. Gilded C***- This song pounds the listener like a round-set hammer with furious drumming, chugging guitars, and a powerful chorus before breaking into a Maiden-esque harmony, and the song retains its speedy feel and headbanging mood. A blistering opener. 5/5
3. Nemesis- Brilliant guitar harmonies here, and some great drumwork. The lyrics focus on revenge, and Dani describes his misnthropy beautifully. To me, this song has somewhat of a “mournful”, resentful mood to it. Great song, reminds me of “Cruelty..” in a lot of ways. 5/5
4. Gabrielle- The most “romantic” song on here, illustrated with its pizzacato strings, melodic guitars, and provocative lyrics. This song marks a return to the mood of earlier material, especially from 95-97. Though, this song isn’t very memorable, exception of the solos. 3.5/5
5. Absinthe with Faust- Starts off with haunting keys, accented by a breathtaking guitar melody. This is my favorite song on the album, and has some great guitar work, melding pefectly with the atmosphere of this song. 5/5
6. Nymphetamine (Overdose)- The epic title track sums up the whole album in a nutshell. Haunting keys, brilliant guitars… This song has it all. Another highlight on the album, featuring some great female vocals on the chorus. 5/5
7. Painting White Flowers Never Suited My Palette- Eh, I expected better out of a CoF instrumental. A but useless, really. 2/5
8. Medusa and Hemlock- This is probably the most accessible song on the album, using a verse-chorus structure. The guitars and drums meld together perfectly for a rapid-fire assault of tremolo picking and double bass. The keyboards don’t play a huge role here, except for the backing choir. This song would probabl be better if it wasn’t so predictable… 3/5
9. Coffin Fodder- Great bass work and drumwork here, and some amazing lyrics as well. The guitar melodies are really nice too. A typical song I’d say, nothing special but nothing bad. 4/5
10. English Fire- A slower song dominated by keyboards. Doesn’t really do anything for me, it seems a bit redundant for my liking… 2/5
11. Filthy Little Secret- The most varied song on the album. The punk influence shows through here with its “boppy” tempo and simple but effective guitars. Very catchy, really. The guitar solos are great too. 4/5
12. Swansong for a Raven- The beginning here reminds me of CoF’s earlier material, before busting into a piano-laden assault. The song speeds up and stays like that for a few passages before going back into a breakdown with mournful pianos and bleak guitars. This song is good, but goes on a bit too long. 3.5/5
13. Mother of Abominations- Starts off with some rather…erm… odd chanting… For some reason or another, this reminded me more of Mayhem or Dark Funeral than CoF. Definitely the most aggressive song on the album with its hyper-speed tempo, ominus vocals, and foreboding atmosphere. 4.5/5
14. Nymphetamine Fix- The stripped-down version of the title track, which is being seen often on Headbanger’s Ball and other shows. It’s alright, but I like the long version better. 4/5
Well, CoF are back to their old selves, like it or not. The goth metal masters have left another mark/stain on the metal community, and are back for more mischief. Definitely one of the best metal albums of 2004, highly reccommended to fans of CoF, old or new.