New Chops, Classic Cradle
Cradle of Filth formed in 1991 and even through extensive lineup changes, they never failed to give fans their theatrical and unique style of metal. Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay serves as an extraordinary triumph of the band’s consistency for their 12th studio effort.
Filled with many elements that Cradle of Filth fans hold dear, Decay embellishes a tried and true Cradle flavor with new themes of victorian horror. Lead singer, Dani Filth, continues to give us his standard vocal yell in almost every song accompanied by his hyper-narrative singing style. For those who have not heard Cradle before, this yell will be apparent in that it produces a sound akin to a dying crow, but in a very good way.
“Exquisite Torments Await” gives the listener a first sample of what’s to come on Decay with an exquisitely dark combination of orchestra, menacing guitar, and of course Dani Filth’s signature yell. Through the comprehensive intro, Cradle brings us to the single “Heartbreak and Seance,” which highlights the optimal instrumental work on the album. The drums in this song are a metal drumming clinic and the guitar work is speedy and forever fresh throughout, making this track a real winner on Decay.
Please exercise caution when listening, because the guitar solos in almost every song will melt your ears. However, one that should not be overlooked is the solo section on “Wester Vespertine” at the 4:44 minute mark. This solo is not the most technical, but it’s blistering long notes reveals something special in the chunk of the album between the two singles. The song also ends with entrancing choral lines, signaling heavy riffs to come.
“Wester Vespertine” opens the door for heightened darkness and chaos as the rest of the album aggressively powers through to the end without letting up any ground. After “Wester,” the title track provides some new rhythms with some galloping at the 3 minute mark, and down the line the band conjures the slow-burn track, “Death and The Maiden.” Coming up right before “Death and The Maiden,” “You Will Know the Lion by His Claw” serves as the second album single and an intense indicator that we’re in the final stretch.
However, through all these songs, the album begins to feel cyclical when it reaches the half point. The song formulas start to use each other as templates and the tracks become hard to differentiate. It gets to a point where if there is no “AHHH” heard from Dani Filth before a heavy instrumental change, it sounds awkward and like something is missing. There’s no shortage of great moments on this album, but for someone who does not know Cradle, it might be an ambitious first listen based on specific differences between songs vastly outweighing any glaringly apparent changes.
Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay is a riff-heavy juggernaut with new themes sprinkled on old Cradle of Filth foundations. Fans of the band will no doubt appreciate this effort for it’s consistency and the band’s ability to change in a productive way. Cradle of Filth keeps many of their best parts while surging forward in creativity and narrative. Even though the album may sound repetitive to a new listener, those who know and love Cradle will rejoice in the continued darkness this band brings.