1. Exquisite Torments Await
2. Heartbreak And Séance
3. Achingly Beautiful
4. Wester Vespertine
5. The Seductiveness Of Decay
6. Vengeful Spirit
7. You Will Know The Lion By His Claw
8. Death And The Maiden
Cradle Of Filth: Cryptoriana, The Seductiveness of Decay Ladies and gentleman! We are seventeen years into the new century and seventeen years since the prime of nu metal. Yes, those overenthusiastic Hip-Hop Metallers, fist pumping and jumping about onstage, are now a thing of the past. They are not alone of course, even the ‘American Pie’ eyed Pop-Punkers are gone. We may never see three quarter lengths or hear songs about farting and weed ever again. Well, not as much as we used to. And before you say, ‘those bands still exist’; I have found that many of them try to shun the image of nougties exuberance and, instead, embrace Alternative Rock and gothic imagery as to try and prolong their careers. Black Metal, or indeed, any form of Extreme music, does not necessarily cower at old material, rather, it embraces it. Its drive towards the supernova of extremity and its pursuit of anti-pop glorification works if it has the credentials to back it up.
Unfortunately, we are still bound to the parameters of authenticity, y’know, what is real music? And what is ‘jarg’-to take from my Liverpudialian brethren. The band struggled to stay ‘legit’ in the Black/Extreme Metal subculture. Ask a ‘real’ Thrash Metal fan what they think of contemporary Metallica and you might get a response that relates to the COF situation.
For those unfamiliar with what I'm talking about, pick a genre you love and choose the ‘poppiest’ band from that group. You will likely say something along the lines of ’Well I loved all the early stuff, but I don't like the new album’. This is the situation with the Suffolk five piece.
The first song, "Exquisite Torments Await”, begins with David Lynch-like white noise before nosediving into Hammer Horror Black Metal. Sounding somewhat operatic Emperor and Gary Numan (bizarrely), this opener sets the tone. "Heartbreak and Séance” starts like Iron Maiden being thrown towards a black hole, speeding around the collapsed star, at light speed. The song then breaks down and mutates into a weird homunculus concoction; aspects of Cathedral and 80s goth come out, backed by a ‘copy and paste’ job of Type O Negative. “Achingly Beautiful” incorporates every Heavy Metal trademark and clique and then sped up by 1000x, one can hear Rock ’n’ Roll and D-beat rhythms behind the machine like drumming. Filth’s attempts to ape Walpole and Shelley feel a little cheesy and camp. Lyrics such as “Awaken, forsaken, by others so taken as prey” feel a little bit more Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing than the classic gothic fictional writers. That said, it is nice to hear (frontman) Dani Filth on top form, his icy howls and shrieks send shivers down my spine and many others.
”The Seductiveness Of Decay” starts off like old school Avenged Sevenfold albeit before they turned into Guns N' Roses (sorry A7X). This tune mutates into an 80s Thrash track albeit in war paint and black mascara; satisfying both Maiden and Slayer fans. It should be noted that this particular track (and the record as a whole) is incredibly shred heavy. I would go as far as to say that the 80s palm-muting, and Kerry King approved hammer-ons, are all over the shop; one suspects that guitar heroes, more interested in cut off denim and patches, will chose this particular motif over the gothic interior. The last tune "Death And The Maiden” cools the blast beats and slows the records ‘gravitational pull’. This is our ‘slow’ song, well, ‘slow’ for Cradle, we still get hot jets and icy chills. This closer is a little bit more groovy and, dare I say it, a little bit more ‘apathetic’ thematically. Filth croons ‘I spy the spreading fear, that crawls wormlike, this ageing mask of time’. With this in mind, one cant help but imagine some bored demon or a depressed deity, obsessed with time, death and, as per with most Cradle songs, sex.
The unfortunate thing is, despite the sheer power, technically dexterity and the humongous concepts hidden within the album, Filth and the boys will never be able to return to the Black-Metal underground.
However, one feels that it is not always the best thing to try and seek appeasement from peers and contemporaries when you break out of the scene. Why should these (now) older statesman remain loyal to the zealots, especially given their flirtations with mainstream media and Hollywood. This album is not concerned with all that palaver. And like the band, the record is content with the juxtaposition placed between ‘underground credential’ and mass appeal. While Cryptoriana lacks the inter-dimensional, Lovecraftian mythos of 'Midian', it still betters the more commercially successful 'Nymphetamine'.
Website - www.cradleoffilth.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/cradleoffilth/
Review - Lewis McWilliam