Band: Cradle Of Filth
Album: Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Extreme Metal
Country: United Kingdom
Release Date: 22nd September, 2017
The beast is back. Two years have now passed since Cradle Of Filth released their eleventh studio album ‘Hammer Of The Witches’ to critical acclaim. Since then the Filth machine has rolled on relentlessly, playing shows in all corners of the world to millions of people before returning to a hermit-like state in order to record their latest slab of genre-hopping Extreme Metal. Since the band’s formation more than a quarter of a century ago there has always been a revolving door of band members with the Dani Filth (real name Daniel Davey) the only remaining founding member. With that being said, this is the second release with the current line up and if they have managed to maintain the momentum that was picked up with the last album then surely they are on to a winner. So the big question is with ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay’ have they managed to do so?
The album opens with the typically excellent, yet all too brief intro track ‘Exquisite Torments Await’ which sets the tone for the release with a shrill screech from Dani over the top of a savage metal assault in the way that only he can do.
Before leading in to ‘Heartbreak And Séance’ which served as the first single to be released from this dark opus back in the early summer. This track has all of the hallmarks that Cradle Of Filth fans have held dear all of this time. The guitar melodies have a touch of the NWOBHM about them with the interlinking melodies and well written harmonised lead runs. The drums are fast paced and full of ferocity, yet Martin ‘Marthus’ Skaroupka still manages to be as precise with his drumsticks as a seasoned heart surgeon is with his scalpel. The grandiose use of the keys and orchestral arrangements are as strong as ever and even have the same sort of haunting melody that was ever-present in the ‘Cruelty And The Beast’ and ‘Midian’ eras of the band. As we have come to expect the demonic ring leader Lord Filth shifts between shrieking like some form of demented banshee to barking like a three-headed hellhound with his dark poetry and stands high (well, relatively given his stature) over the chaotic musical backdrop that has been created for him.
The band continue to keep up the tempo throughout the middle section of the album with tracks such as ’Achingly Beautiful’ (which has also had an accompanying video released for it prior to the album release) ‘Wester Vespertine’ and the title track ‘The Seductiveness Of Decay’ being well-written epics that go to show that the band are not running short of ideas in their twenty-sixth year or existence and show no sign of slowing up any time soon. The guitar work from Richard Shaw and Marek ‘Ashok’ Šmerda certainly does not fall short of what is to be expected from a COF album and build wonderfully upon the blueprints set down by former long term members such as Paul Allender, Paul Ryan and Stuart Anstis during their various tenures with the outfit. It is also worth mentioning the fact that Lindsay Schoolcraft is now on her second full-length release with Cradle Of Filth and she has most certainly been a breathe of fresh air in certain times with her wonderful vocal delivery in both the live and studio setting.
The other single that the band premiered before the release of the album is ‘You Will Know The Lion By His Claw’ which was accompanied by a lyric video. The track itself sounds vaguely reminiscent of the style that the band utilised on the ‘Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder’ album from 2008. The track leans almost towards a Blackened Death Metal sounds and finds Dani reaching for the lower registers of his incredibly wide vocal range. This track shows once more just how well the band is writing as a whole at the moment and that they are indeed firing on all cylinders in recent times. Once again the musicianship is right up there with some of the stand out performances from the bands’ huge back catalogue with the guitars once again pairing wonderfully to add a little beauty to the destruction with the bass guitar of Daniel Firth laying down the perfect rumbling base layer for the six-stringers to work from.
In summary ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay’ is exactly the album that Cradle Of Filth needed to release in 2017. It takes all of the good points from ‘Hammer Of The Witches’ and hammers them home. The production is clean and crisp with all of the instruments getting their own breathing space and clarity, yet the album still manages to maintain the same sense of aggression and rawness that the band discovered in their Black Metal beginnings all the way back in the early nineties. When the band originally branched out into different genres and expanded their sound in a way that reached far beyond the tired confines of what Black Metal the managed to create a theatrical, snarling beast that contains enough melody to satisfy the mainstream whilst not alienating the Extreme Metal fans that are their day to day fan base.
This is not so much wallowing in filth as worshiping in it.
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
Total Playing Time: 60:29