5 Just when you thought they were lost forever....Dan777 | 25/10/2008 | See all Dan777's reviews (1)I'll start by saying that this quite possibly a contender for metal album of the year - any of you that had thought Cradle had lost it after their last 2-3 albums please read on.For me - Vempire, Dusk and her Embrace and Cruelty and the Beast were by far cradles best efforts - Midian and all subsequent releases didn't cut it for me and I'd essentially lost faith in the band. This release changes all that.Yup it really is that good.Lets start with the lineup - they have finally recruited a drummer who can fill Nic B's shoes. New boy Martin Skaroupka was clearly influenced by Nics playing (without sounding like a ripoff) and makes the whole band just gel like they haven't for years. Technically the band has not sounded so accomplished since..... Well possibly ever.Paul A's playing is at times completely mind blowing and the new keyboardist does a good job. Not as good as Damien or Lector but decent all the same.Though the number of "movements" per song can be overwhelming but that's what I loved about this band in the first place - less verse,chorus,verse is certainly a move I've appreciate.Subject matter for the album is based on the life and actions of an aristocratic serial killing occult obsessed 15th century Frenchman named Gilles de Rais. Its another concept album like Cruelty and Damnanation and a Day, which is something cradle seem to do rather well, and certainly lends to their theatrical grandiose nature.In terms of comparisons to their earlier works its a bit of a tricky one - I've heard people compare it to Cruelty and Midian which I suppose is just about relevant but I'd say its slightly more akin to Damnation and a Day - just far higher quality with echoes (thanks to the new drummer) of Cruelty.All in all a fantastic return to form which has certainly revived my hopes for a band I'd long since lost faith in.