Originally written by Ramar Pittance
Cradle of Filth, Nymphetamine: Lets skip the foreplay and get right into this review. We all know Cradle isn’t a black metal band today, nor were they really ever beyond their first few EP’s. We’re all aware of the polarizing effects of Dani Filth’s vocals. And none of us need to hear another diatribe about their ridiculous vampiric super-pimp image. So lets just approach this as yet another release by yet another metal band. A very good release. Nymphetamine is a tactful amalgamation of various metallic stylings presented with modern production that suits its heft and complexity.
Having long since freed themselves from the constraints of confining genre classification, Cradle of Filth are now are now able to present an album that while perhaps not as focused as early efforts, offers just about as much instant gratification as any album this band has released. This of course, is a double edged sword. Take for example the excellent “Gilded Cunt” and”Nemesis.” Both songs are essentially the typical NWOBHM inspired extreme metal you would expect from this band. However, each take interesting forays into somewhat unexpected territory to create songs that are in fact quite distinct. The Chaos A.D. era Sepultura inspired chorus in “Gilded Cunt” and the near power metal riffing in the outro of “English Fire” are melded into the songs so seamlessly that they come off less as ham-handed cross-over attempts and more as products of an uninhibited creative process. And, as per usual with this band, the execution is extremely tight. However, there are times when this loose mentality does fail the band. “Nymphetamine Overdose” and its epilogue “Nymphetamine Fix” are both boring tracks that get swamped by various ideas that simply do not jibe. However, the guest vocal appearance by the lovely and talented Liv Kristine (ex-Theatre of Tragedy, Leaves Eyes) will surely make for at least few repeat spins. And, there is of course the random silliness that always seems to rear its head on this band’s releases. For example, take the scattered spoken word sections that sporadically appear and add very little and should not be attempted by anyone whose name isn’t Lord Byron. The zulu-esque chanting before “Mother of Abominations” doesn’t help much either.
Those who were disappointed by the band’s previous release Damnation and a Day may find that many of the aspects of that album that rendered it so unappealing have been dealt with. While Nymphetamine certainly received a fine production job, the sterilizing overproduction of Damnation has been replaced by a mix that lends the dual guitars a tremendous amount of crunch and places them squarely in the forefront. The constant keyboard flourishes of Damnation have been quelled as well, and mostly appear now only to lend atmosphere, as evidenced on the more somber moments of “English Fire.”
For the most part this is an extremely enjoyable metal album. Each song offers at least something memorable, and at most something truly amazing. There are far too many moments on this album where I said to myself, “Hey, now that’s a great riff” to give this anything but my highest recommendation. Those of you who are aware of this band’s history and are put off by their post …Dusk and Her Embrace direction may want to approach this with some caution, though. Many of the flaws found on Damnation And A Day have been rectified, but the band’s mindset is essentially the same. However, those looking for an album that is nothing more than a professional presentation of modern heavy metal should look no further.