Cradle Of Filth - Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa
Peaceville Records
Symphonic Extreme Metal
11 songs (62:26)
Release year: 2010
Cradle Of Filth, Peaceville Records
Reviewed by Kyle
Major event

Cradle of Filth could not have picked a worse time to release Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa. That is, unless the band INTENDED to compete with the popular metal monolith that is Dimmu Borgir (arguably CoF’s biggest competitor). In a world where Abrahadabra was advertised heavily on many popular heavy metal websites (and, surprisingly, given all-around decent scores), it seems ironic that Cradle hasn’t been promoting their new album with the same amount of dedication. Come to think of it, the gradual separation of Dani Filth & Co. from MTV and mainstream rock radio (believe it or not, Nymphetamine stayed the number one most request song on Kansas’ most popular rock radio station for nearly a month) is downright odd. Venus Aversa, like Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder, is yet another album that further distances CoF from the mainstream-friendly Nymphetamine and Thornography, one that is gaining even less exposure now that the band is signed to Peaceville rather than Roadrunner. Unfortunately, this album is nowhere near the caliber of its excellent predecessor.

What happened, Cradle? Godspeed was a fantastic album and easily one of the best of the band’s career. It was dark, unnerving, and one of their best-written albums to date. Darkly, Darkly, Venus Avera, on the other hand, feels like an album designed as a bridge between Hot Topic and the realms of mature metal. In fact, just this weekend I passed by a Hot Topic store in the mall and heard this album blasting from within, and it matched the store's reputation for faux-darkness and cut-my-wrists, oh-woe-is-me "depression" unfortunately well. Venus Avera doesn't sound creepy, unnerving, or mature. It also doesn't sound half bad. It just seems very, very tired.

While there are some definite similarities between Godspeed and Venus, the latter fails to be nearly as effective. While it retains and expands upon the excellent symphonic arrangements of Godspeed, Venus Aversa has little merit beyond a couple of intriguing songs and well-done production. Drums do little other than blast, guitars rarely exhibit anything more original than power chords and lame tremolo riffs, and Dani sounds like... well, Dani (though to his credit, he doesn’t sound nearly as annoying here as he has on past records). As to be expected from Cradle, the lyrics are schlocky and high-concept (DDVA is indeed a concept album revolving around Lilith, the first wife of Adam), which is something people either love or hate. Personally, I enjoy digging into the band’s lyrics, and this album is no exception, even though Dani's ridiculous vocabulary can make him across as more than a tad pretentious at times. Unfortunately, when the band also has to mask lazy instrumentation with symphonic overkill (though it’s well-done overkill), the whole album comes across as an exercise in pretentiousness.

As unexciting as most of the songs may be, there are still a few good tracks to be found. A few choice songs, such as Deceiving Eyes and Lilith Immaculate, have many sections that vary in intensity and emotion; the latter is a rather addictive song, and quite unlike anything that CoF has written before, as it features genuinely “Happy” melodies that verge on being power metal and surprisingly good female vocals, which together make it a song worth checking out. As soon as the cringe-inducing Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned) starts playing, however, one realizes how wildly uneven the album is in terms of quality. There’s some moments here where Cradle appears to be at its peak, as evidenced in the catchy death metal riffing of The Nun With the Astral Habit (Now, c’mon, must the song titles be so convoluted?), but for the majority of Venus Aversa the songs exhibit a ho-hum, been-there-done-that quality that’s not horrible, but simply tiresome. Die-hard Cradle fans can easily make a safe purchase out of Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa, but those expecting a Midian or Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder sequel should sit this one out.

Killing Songs :
Lilith Immaculate
Kyle quoted 64 / 100
Other albums by Cradle Of Filth that we have reviewed:
Cradle Of Filth - Hammer of the Witches reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Cradle Of Filth - Total Fucking Darkness reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Cradle Of Filth - Godspeed On The Devil's Thunder reviewed by Goat and quoted 81 / 100
Cradle Of Filth - Thornography reviewed by Goat and quoted 63 / 100
Cradle Of Filth - Nymphetamine reviewed by Jay and quoted 55 / 100
To see all 13 reviews click here
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