Cradle of Filth are as ‘black metal’ as Dimmu Borgir and Satyricon nowadays. They’ve transcended humble beginnings, forged their own dark path and each album they release (Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay is album number 12) is instantly recognisable as their work. From album title to artwork to overall sound and concept, a Cradle of Filth album is always distinctive and always unique and that’s the hallmark of a great artist…..and artists they are!
Each track – barring the ‘intro’ of the quick-fire “Exquisite Torments Await” – on new album Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay is an epic, a delicate balance between grandiose orchestration and raging extreme metal and nothing less than you’d come to expect from the UK’s leading symphonic black metal band. There’s no doubt that Cradle of Filth’s current incarnation has settled on a supremely talented, technically gifted bunch and after the return to form that was 2015’s Hammer Of The Witches, fans have been drooling at the prospect of a follow up of equal merit.
They needn’t have worried. Cradle of Filth have delivered and delivered big.
The baroque and bombastic blast of “You Will Know The Lion By His Claw” made an ideal first single and this ever contorting number perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay; an anything goes mentality that throws everything from thrash, traditional black metal and Iron Maiden influences into the mix to create one hell of a diverse, but still defiantly ‘Cradle’, extreme metal release.
“Vengeful Spirit” is the kindred spirit of “Nymphetamine” with Dani Filth and Lyndsay Schoolcraft sparring ghoulishly although it’s a faster, nastier number than its more seductively sedate counterpart and if ever a band was capable of writing a legitimate black metal ‘ballad’ then it’s Cradle of Filth. Alternating between blast beats and speed metal riffing, “Vengeful Spirit” is a curious beast, multi-headed and adorned with goth grandeur but still defiantly an extreme metal song.
The remainder of the album is just as varied and just as entertaining and bodes well for the future….just as long as the curse of Cradle’s revolving door of musicians doesn’t strike again too soon!
As you’d expect, Dani Filth’s trademarked ear-piercing shrieks, guttural growls and all manner of animalistic noises haven’t been fucked with and are just as integral to C.o.F’s sound as ever – particularly on their bonkers cover of Annihilator’s “Alison Hell”, a re-working of the thrash classic that you just have to hear and a song Dani Filth has wanted to cover for over 20 years!
Cradle Of Filth have consistently been one of the UK’s leading extreme metal acts and for over 25 years they’ve delivered a vast array of resplendent black metal/extreme metal classics. They should be adored, revered and beloved for their services to UK metal and Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay is yet another seductive masterpiece amidst a black sea of similar achievements.
While Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay doesn’t match the highs of Midian, and falls short of the accessibility of Nympetamine (this will either upset or please you depending on how you received arguably Cradle’s most divisive album), those who revelled in the extremity of Hammer Of The Witches should find themselves sucked back into Cradle’s decadent abyss with this latest release. 8/10