Hammer of the Witches has the best Cradle of Filth cover since that of Cruelty and the Beast, which featured the lovely Luisa Morando as Elizabeth Bathory (where is she now?). The new artwork is very much in the vein (if you’ll pardon the pun!) of such Hammer Films classics like Twins of Evil and The Vampire Lovers, splendid films all, everything just as it should be! Hammer Horror is a big part of what Cradle of Filth are, and indeed, they are a band that draw on a great many cultural references, all of which contributes to their own unique identity. Calling the album Hammer of the Witches is a good example, as a reference to Hammer Films. Hammer interestingly made a film called The Witches an excellent tale of modern witchcraft, starring Joan Fontaine, and written by the great Nigel Kneale of Quartermass fame. John Carpenter wrote the script of Prince of Darkness under the pseudonym ‘Martin Quatermass’ in tribute to Kneale. Then there’s also the vile witchhunter’s bible, the infamous Hammer of the Witches.
Musically, Hammer of the Witches is superb. This is no surprise – Cradle of Filth have never made a bad album. Oh, it’s fashionable for the ‘culter than thou’ individuals who dictate what metal is good or not to deride Cradle of Filth, but the facts are this: Cradle of Filth are the most successful British metal band since the halcyon days of Iron Maiden, and deservedly do.
A superb album from a superb band. Buy it on vinyl – no download could do it justice!