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CRADLE OF FILTH - Hammer Of The Witches COVER has been around more than two decades, but recently had a lineup change (four were replaced in the last few years).  Therefore, the question remained as to how the next or the influential black metal would sound, and for the most part, Hammer Of The Witches is a step- from some of their past releases.

With the new members, Hammer Of The Witches has a quick pace with all the instruments in sync.  The musicianship of the is the highlight of the entire record.  The work is impressive and even busts out an impressive solo like in Enshrined In Crematoria.  From time to time, everything will slow down, like in Blackest Magick In Practice, to showcase the piano and other classical elements, which give many of the songs a symphonic feel to them.

Vocalist Dani Filth (who’s the only original member left) doesn’t have the greatest screams, but he makes for it with variety, which shows his vocal prowess.  Filth mixes in everything from high-pitched screams, low growls, singing, speaking and everything in between.  The only time it becomes problematic is during the reoccurring high screeches, which steal too much away from the music and contrast rather than complement.  They’re more inaccessible than outright bad, so some people may be able to look past them, but for those who can’t, it’s almost a deal-breaker with how often they happen.

With that complaint aside, keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft’s cleans blend beautifully with Filth’s vocals in songs like Right Wing Of The Garden Triptych and broaden the vocal portion of Hammer Of The Witches even further.

Hammer Of The Witches is significantly heavier than some of ’s older music.  Enjoying this is dependent on how you like your music, but it all works out, with the exception to some questionable vocal areas.  Those who complained about not being black enough might be pleasantly surprised with their newest record.

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