REVIEW: CRADLE OF FILTH – “Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay”
Cradle of Filth defied the odds when their own ruthless brand of extreme metal broke mainstream. To the extent that if you didn’t know them, you were certainly aware of them. Dani Filth, the only remaining original member of the group that formed in Suffolk, U.K in 1991, has seen the band embrace the highs and endure the lows. Now, following their 2015 ‘Hammer of the Witches’, Filth and co. are set to release ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay’, the bands’ latest record, and the second with their most recent line up. If always consistent in their delivery, Cradle of Filth have outdone themselves with their latest effort, ensuring die hard fans won’t be disappointed.
Their most extreme album since ‘Damnation and a Day’, and their most melodically versatile since ‘Nymphetamine,’ from “The Seductiveness of Decay” to the misleading titled “Achingly Beautiful”, ‘Cryptoriana’ sees Cradle of Filth blend their trademark traits, including blast beat drums, and Dani’s unsettling high registered vocal shrieks, with structures and elements that pique interest.
One of the strongest of these intriguing elements is the addition of the unseasoned, but evidently finding her feet quickly, keyboard player and female vocalist, Lyndsay Schoolcraft. If Schoolcraft has stated that her contributions to the album were minimal, her presence is undeniable. The use of “call and response” in “Vengeful Spirit” depicts an unhinged Filth conversing with the seductively beckoning tones of guest vocalist Liv Kristine. This ghouls duet highlights the chemistry between both vocalists and sees this track earn its standout status without question.
And if you’re looking for something utterly and totally skin tearing you can sink your teeth into, “Death of the Maiden” will serve as justice, but not more so than yet another standout track titled “You Will Know the Lion by His Claw”, just a you could hand pick Filth out from a line up with his trademark glass shattering shrieks and deep guttural vocals the moment you hear him. Both musically and lyrically, these tracks peak among some of the best the record has to offer and, evidently, it has more than a few.
C.O.F end ‘Cryptoriana’ on a high, saving the best for last. A cover of Annihilator’s “Alison Hell” reins back their usual menacing musicianship to give way for a vocal performance from Filth that proves he still has a few tricks left up his sleeve. More metal than symphonic, less “follow the formula” formatted extremities, being more clever in its simplicity, by the time it comes to an end, this bass and guitar driven track leaves you clamouring for more. The sparingly used shrieks accenting each line in the chorus, with some interesting vocal phrasing choices on Filth’s end, simply need to be heard to be fully appreciated.
Cradle of Filth have not always hit the mark throughout their near thirty-year career. However, ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decays’ does not fall into that category. Something old married to something new, if it appears, at times, to follow something of a formula, it’s more a case of signature, or trademark elements of the band making their presence felt. Against which Cradle of Filth simultaneously demonstrate that they still have some tricks up their ghoulish sleeves, that they know how to keep things fresh and exciting, and can still kick up a storm with lashings of menace.