Cradle of Filth

Midian

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As satanic as anything need be, Cradle of Filth is a black metal ensemble from Suffolk, England, who's managed to keep it extreme while being wildly popular internationally. They may be the most popular black metal band in the world because they've managed to break away from the genre's relatively small cult following and successfully infect all sorts of disaffected teenagers, especially in Europe. They never veer drastically from the usual black metal staples: movie monster-type vocals, lots of high-pitched screams, indecipherable lyrics, and relentless, punishing riffs. But Midian has its fair share of melody too. (Most of the finest metal does have some element of melody.) Midian begins with a chorus of what sounds like some evil monks chanting. The album is at its very best when the ominous, classical-style keyboards kick in. But most of the record is intense screaming and flailing guitar, and it gets to be grating halfway through. The first half of Midian is as symphonic and satanic-sounding as any black metal before it, but the second half is all filler and no bite. Cradle of Filth, like a lot of black metal bands, seems to have never heard of a chorus or a verse. Perhaps pure evil doesn't need hooks to sell itself. But as Midian gets messier and goes on interminably, even their young satanic fans will want to turn it off in favor of torturing the family cat.

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