Cradle of Filth – “Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay” (Nuclear Blast)
Get ready for blast off! If air raid siren screaming melded into blast beats but tenderly laced by tasteful guitars and haunting keyboards are your thing, then CoF’s 12th album will not disappoint. Literally crashing in right from the off with ‘Exquisite Torments Await’ along with creepy cellos and massive gothic choirs, the track slickly blends into ‘Heartbreak and Séance’ via some amazingly beautiful melancholic guitar before the speed kicks in with yet more screams n growls, along with femme backing vocals from Lindsay Schoolcraft to end on an utterly epic note – phew! However, things only get faster on ‘Achingly Beautiful’ where the delicately plucked guitar intro shatters into savage Marduk like riffing with founder vocalist Dani Filth glass shattering along to some insane harpsichord before subtly lowering the tempo a notch (i.e. to fast!) and a touch more melody being added. The track then morphs yet again into an ambient piece with subtly keys and powerful choirs and Filth once again adding the finishing touch through dark drawls and crescendo screams to end with the initial blast beating on this totally mad concerto! While being steeped in ghoulish Victorian gothic horror, CoF skillfully utilize a number of aforementioned styles to notably great effect thanks largely to the talented musicianship of the band which is amply demonstrated on mid album tracks like ‘Wester Vespertine’ where the powerful atmospheric melodies and soulful guitars sound almost prog or ‘The Seductiveness of Decay’ which could be thrash with its galloping Maiden guitar melodies blended with strong orchestral strings and ethereal harmonies. Dani Filth, despite being in the game close to 30 years puts on a remarkable performance here using the versatility of his vocal styles and on ‘Vengeful Spirit’ hits the peak in an astounding vocal duet with none other than Liv Kristine! Ending with the more accessible gothic black metal of ‘You Will Know the Lion by His Claw’ with its prominent rhyming lyrics and the ultra heavy ‘Death and the Maiden’ with its chugging Metallica riffing this album has been one helluva ride from start to finish – I just hope you can survive the intensity!