Cradle of Filth – Cryptoriana/The Seductiveness of Decay

Rating: 1/5
Distributor/label: Nuclear Blast
Distributor/label website: http://www.nuclearblast.de/en/
Released: 22 September 2017
Buy Album: http://www.nuclearblast.de/en/products/tontraeger/cd/cd/cradle-of-filth-cryptoriana-the-seductiveness-of-decay.html
Band websites: http://www.cradleoffilth.com/

Lineup:

Dani Filth – Lead vocals
Marek ‘Ashok’ Šmerda – Guitars
Rich Shaw – Guitars
Daniel Firth – Bass
Martin ‘Marthus’ Škaroupka – Drums, keyboards and orchestration
Lindsay Schoolcraft – Vocals (narration) and keyboard

Tracklisting:

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

Review:

Cradle of Filth is one of those bands you either love or hate. Unfortunately, it is a band I genuinely dislike. The last time I listened to CoF was in 1994 (the ‘Principle’ album), which gave me an actual headache after being exposed to Dani’s unbearably annoying, high-pitched vocals. However, I went into this review with an unbiased attitude and the hope that Cradle of Filth had progressed from the early days to something more pleasing to the ear. Sadly, listening to them is like watching a soap opera. No matter how many episodes you have skipped, you can just pick it up again at any given time to find out you haven’t missed anything, and that the level of drama has escalated so that it has now become a caricature of itself; the same dull wine in a different, well-designed, bottle. This is Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay.

A slick recording of the same sounding, but seemingly well-produced tracks which offer little variation between them. This clean production results in over-compressed songs, which is detrimental for the music. However, it does make the vocals less annoying, because Dani’s voice blends in with the band. On the first CD, for instance, his vocals stood out from the music resulting in my major headache. Nonetheless, I can understand the appeal of this new Cradle album just as I understand the appeal of pop music. The songs aim to please, have catchy riffs, clichéd theatrical effects, use female vocals (Schoolcraft is a significant improvement compared to Meyer/Haugen and Deva/Ferridge), and flashy guitar solos. All this leads to the inevitable, but often asked question about what kind of music Cradle of Filth is.

The band (though not consisting of the same members anymore) as such, has left behind the black metal corpse paint and vampire antics from their early releases, but some members still wear some corpse paint, albeit less extravagant. Extravagant is a word that fits Dani, though. He clearly parted with the standard black metal look and attire. Throughout the years, Dani has transformed into the Madonna of the metal scene; constantly reinventing himself with more bizarre outfits. He is very successful in doing so, making the costumes an integral part of the band, and one of the main reasons for the success of the group (especially with younger female fans).

From looking like a corpse-painted vampire to a gothic poster boy, from a Christ lookalike to a puffy-faced Skeletor, from having long hair, short, and funky dreadlocks, Dani has tried it all, has gotten away with it, and very successfuly and inventively renewed his looks to appeal to a new crowd with every album. However, whereas the old Cradle could be classified as black metal (but denied by Dani from the moment Cradle became a commercial success and had exposure to the general public), with the current album it is hard to pin down what exactly one is listening to. Yes, some of it could be classified as black metal, but listening to some of the riffs and (especially) the guitar solos, it feels like heavy and thrash metal, albeit an extremely commercial variety. In all fairness, this album is all over the place and influences can clearly be detected without it ever sounding like ripping off any particular band.

‘Cryptoriana’ consists of 8 slick songs, none of which stand out. This results in a monotonous record which is as easy to listen to as it is to forget. I am sure that repeated exposure will etch the songs into your memory just like pop music does, but it is doubtful that the album will become a classic. I am not sure if this album will attract many new fans, but it will satisfy hardcore fans, and probably disappoint their average fans. The album can be purchased from the Nuclear Blast website and is available in the form of standard CDs, a digipack edition, and a vinyl double album.

Review by Philosopher King
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