Cradle Of Filth - ‘Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness of Decay’ (Nuclear Blast) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gerald Stansbury   
Friday, 22 September 2017 04:40

COF CryptoriaI first heard Cradle of Filth when I bought the ‘Dusk And Her Embrace’ album because I thought the coffin shaped packaging was unique. At the time, that album did not connect with me very much, but I became interested in following the band. I loved ‘Cruelty And The Beast’ on first listen, to the point that I swear there are differences in the mastering of that album depending on the country where the CD was made.  Over the years, there have been Cradle albums that have connected with me and some that have just floated by over the years. I really enjoyed ‘Hammer of the Witches’ so I have been looking forward to this one. Oh and the ‘Dusk And Her Embrace’ album is now one of my favorite albums by them.

 

‘Exquisite Torments Await’ seems an apt title to start this, their 12th album, as the band provide essentially a two minute album opener that also gives us Dani’s first high pitched scream and some vocals to set the stage for the album to come. On first listen, I expected it to be a straight instrumental and was glad to see they surprised me. It does beautifully segue way into ‘Heartbreak and Séance’ which was one of the songs released before the album. The band is setting the stage for one of their best albums with the grand epic scale of this song which incorporates Dani utilizing semi-clean vocals and shrieks with haunting backing vocals to grace a cacophony of music that would not be out of place on the run of albums from ‘Dusk…’ to ‘Midian.’

 

The band continue to channel the best of themselves with ‘Achingly Beautiful’ beginning with Dani growling over a quiet middle eastern sounding intro before he channels a screaming growl on top of an army of blast beats.  This song hits me in the same way that ‘Beneath the Howling Stars’ did on ‘Cruelty,’ which is a very good thing. At just over seven minutes, this epic incorporates many elements that I consider essential to Cradle from the female backing vocals to the early galloping part ideal for moshing to the counterpoint of Dani’s vocals against the choir before it all pauses for a quiet orchestral part around the midway point. The song slowly builds back its power with the backing orchestra providing additional melody before being pushed aside for a ripping guitar solo. On first listen at this point, I was already thinking this was going to be a Cradle album that remains in high rotation.

 

 

At just eight songs on the album proper, ‘Wester Vespertine’ reminds me that the first half of the album is almost over. Another seven minute epic, this one hits fast with intelligible vocals, more female backing vocals that bring to mind ‘Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids.’ At this point in life, I cannot say that others would say the vocals were intelligible or if it is because my ears have spent the past 20 years or so learning to interpret the growls, shrieks, and screams. Perhaps, it is a bit of both. The back half of the record starts strong with the title track providing yet another seven plus minute epic. The interplay of the aggression and melodic runs provides the song with additional power and a very strong hook in the chorus. This truly is a special album for me as Cradle is providing fresh takes on elements of their sound that I love. ‘Vengeful Spirit’ begins with acoustic guitar and Dani’s vocals before quickly turning into a thrasher which also includes some beautiful vocals by Liv Kristine.

 

‘You Will Know the Lion by His Claw’ continues the thrash attack with some excellent orchestra parts underneath it. The production work on this album by Scott Atkins is spot on for my ears as each musician shines. This song in particular becomes an air guitar dream as the solos dominate it. It amazes me that Dani has not shredded his vocal chords as the screaming at the end of this song is vicious. Closer ‘Death and the Maiden’ clocks in at nearly nine minutes and is as epic as I hoped. A slower riff and vocal opens the song before a brief respite of acoustic guitar. The song becomes an intricate thrasher with catchy riffs and hooks taking up residence in my head. The album also incorporates a melodic midsection that sets the stage for the climax.

 

 

I have acknowledged Dani’s vocals throughout as so much of the identified Cradle sound of the year for me has been his vocals since they have been the one constant. There has been no changes in the band since ‘Hammer of the Witches’ which I believe has really helped the band create a classic in their catalog. The dual guitar work of Marek Smerda and Richard Shaw shines throughout the album with each player perfectly complimenting the other. Daniel Firth (bass) and Martin Skaroupka (drums) clearly have a chemistry working together. Lindsay Schoolcraft’s contributions on the keyboard help make the songs epic, and I must say that I actually like her vocals better than I did Sarah’s back in the day, which I did not think would be possible.

 

While many bands at this stage of their career pump out albums just to continue to tour, Cradle Of Filth have put forward an album that stands tall in their catalogue. At this early stage of hearing the album, it has pushed itself into the top third of their catalogue for me. Is it black metal, heavy metal, etc.? I don’t really care what someone wants to call it, but definitely recommend anyone who has ever had a passing interest in Cradle to give it a listen.

 

 www.facebook.com/cradleoffilth/

 

‘Cryptoriana- The Seductiveness of Decay’ is released today (Friday 22 September).  You can get your copy HERE.

 

Cradle Of Filth tour the UK and Ireland in October/November:

 

Cradle Of Filth updated tour poster 

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