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Cradle of Filth - Cryptoriana The Seductiveness of Decay (Album Review)

Tuesday, 03 October 2017 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Another few years, another Cradle of Filth album. Grist for the Satanic mill, as frontman Dani Filth might put it. But the thing the band’s detractors fail to acknowledge, the thing that makes Suffolk’s spookiest outfit so damn idiosyncratic, is that they never release the same record twice.

Maybe that’s down to the fact that the line-up’s never stayed the same for two studio albums, but whatever. Crust punk, black metal, death metal, thrash, arena rock, film soundtracks and more have all been plundered for Cradle’s catalogue since their diseased birth in 1991.

Twelve albums deep and the ridiculously suffixed ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay’ offers nothing to people who already hate Cradle. They’ll still hate Cradle at the end of it.

What this album does do, though, is unearth the twin-lead harmonies from 2015’s ‘Hammer of the Witches’ and dress them in corsets and top hats.

Reeking of giddy grimness, the eight songs on display are essentially vignettes, detailing the Victorian fascination with death, the supernatural and suchlike. Musically, it digs up old Cradle by way of galloping Maiden sections and blasts of Massacre-tinged death metal. It’s gothic. It’s catchy. It’s brvtal as fvck.

Vengeful Spirit mines Cradle’s 21st century exploits, kicking off like a ‘Nymphetamine’-era thrashbastard. It even features one-time-collaborator Liv Kristine, in a different role to the one she played on the band’s Grammy-nominated Nymphetamine [Fix].

And no, it’s not black metal. Cradle have always been more than that, the macabre musical magpies that they are. On one side of the grave you have the melodious, tragic Wester Vespertine. On the other, you’ve got the unyielding keyboard catchiness of the title track and the punishing You Will Know The Lion By His Claw. The latter’s vocal climax is abrasive enough to peel skin.

Dani’s voice is, as always, unlike anything else in music. His larynx leaps from the highest shrieks to the most guttural of growls. He’s the blackened, bestial heart of Cradle, but he’d just be a bloke with his fingers trapped in a dictionary without his band.

Solo-wise, ‘Cryptoriana’ is arguably the strongest Cradle have ever been. Richard Shaw and Marek ‘Ashok’ Šmerda lace Death and the Maiden with a level of class amid the doom and weave in and out of the record’s eight songs with call-and-response lines.

Female vocals have always been an integral piece of the Cradle see-saw and Lindsay Schoolcraft honours that tradition here, making an old-school beast like Achingly Beautiful sound as grand as it does. Martin Škaroupka, meanwhile, continues to be Cradle’s best-ever drummer and you can actually hear Daniel Firth’s bass, which is a welcome change from most of their 21st century output. This is the line-up Cradle’s always needed. It’s about two decades late, but better than never, right?

‘Cryptoriana…’ grabs the atmosphere, the bite, the frilly-cuffed yearning of the band’s classic material and couples it with the clear-cut, hulking stomp Cradle have acquired in recent years. It’s vital, urgent, in dire need of a shot glass full of blood. It’s everything you’d want from this band in 2017.  

Cradle Of Filth Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon October 30 2017 - BELFAST Limelight
Tue October 31 2017 - DUBLIN Academy
Thu November 02 2017 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy 2
Fri November 03 2017 - GLASGOW Glasgow Garage
Sat November 04 2017 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute2 Birmingham
Sun November 05 2017 - LEEDS Church
Tue November 07 2017 - OXFORD O2 Academy Oxford
Wed November 08 2017 - SOUTHAMPTON Southampton Engine Rooms
Thu November 09 2017 - NORWICH Waterfront Norwich
Fri November 10 2017 - LONDON Electric Ballroom
Sat November 11 2017 - BRISTOL Bierkeller

Click here to compare & buy Cradle Of Filth Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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