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Pop/Rock - Released September 26, 2005 | Sony BMG Music Entertainment

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Pop/Rock - Released September 26, 2005 | Sony BMG Music Entertainment

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Rock - Released September 20, 2004 | Roadrunner Records

When was the last time you saw anyone in corpse paint smile? It's further proof of their flair for showmanship that two of the "slick perverted wraiths" in Cradle of Filth's 2004 publicity shot are flashing the pearly whites. The longstanding English group was never devoted purely to the black metal aesthetic; Dani Filth and his minions flaunted decadence amid their gravestones, and supported the usual atonal growls with the melodic gallop of metal traditionalism. This approach has always assured the listener a little entertainment with his fear, and Nymphetamine (what a name!) is no different. The laughably overwrought novellas of Damnation and a Day are gone -- Cradle's focusing on songs, not suites. Does this have anything to do with the band's new home at Roadrunner? The label is very good at encouraging the music to say hard while working to make it marketable, too; witness its co-branded Headbanger's Ball compilations. Whatever the reasons, Nymphetamine is an extremely entertaining album. Filth's vocals shift between roof-of-mouth-tearing screams and primordial yowls; coupled with the oft-melodic guitar lines, Cradle can at times resemble any of the slogan T-shirted American post-hardcore units (Used, for example). Thank the dark lord then that they don't forget their place. We don't listen to these albums to empathize with Dani's pain; we listen because they sound like a play list on Pinhead's iPod. After a typically spooky intro -- picture black-robed choirs and gargoyles coming to life -- Cradle drops the hammer on "Gilded C***" (you figure it out), a muscular rocker with wind-whipping time shifts and lyrics you can actually understand ("My preference leans to killing you quickly/Scissored in the gizzard...."). Most of the album plays dueling power metal guitars masterfully off a slower or more gothic choruses. "Absinthe With Faust," for example, departs from its Metallica-type speed for a firelight reflecting in the catacombs interlude. Hello, my pretty. Other highlights include the rapid-fire "Medusa and Hemlock," a guest appearance from Leaves' Eyes chanteuse Liv Kristine Espenaes Krull, and "Filthy Little Secret," which is utterly cinematic in its orchestral, choral, and ultimately explosive scope. ~ Johnny Loftus
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Metal - Released February 14, 2018 | Nuclear Blast

Hi-Res Booklet
For a band as steeped in dominant imagery and theater as Cradle of Filth, reinventing the wheel can be a daunting task. Therefore, on their 11th studio album, this unholy horde, forever wrapped in corpse paint, leather, and spikes, look back more than they do forward. And that proves a good thing. Hammer of the Witches finds departing guitarist/songwriter Paul Allender replaced by two players -- Rich Shaw and Marek Smerda -- in a nod back to the band's earlier twin axe attack. In recent years, CoF has relied more on symphonic orchestration to add dimension and texture; while Hammer of the Witches is not really an exception, that element is scaled back considerably. The sound is colored by multiple layers of strings and shifts in time signature, dynamic, and keyboards, and newcomer Lindsay Schoolcraft provides harp and operatic backing vocals. Two of the three advance tracks -- "Enshrined in Crematoria" and "Deflowering the Maidenhead, Displeasuring the Goddess" -- are among the strongest, with Dani Filth in full possession of both his growl and high-powered shriek as the guitars and drums duel around him. Martin Skaroupka's drumming is, as usual, the centerpiece of the high-powered drive in this band -- his more confident keyboard work has also become a CoF signature -- while Daniel Firth's basslines have been mixed up to add ballast to the kick drums and tom-toms. While the aforementioned tracks highlight the album's opening half, not all the news is good. "Walpurgis Eve," the set's atmospheric, creepy intro, has become so rote and expected on CoF albums that one half expects a Hammer Studio's monster to emerge from the center of the mix. Likewise, "Immortally Yours," despite its speed and thrust, has such dominant keyboard lines swirling into the guitars, it sounds like a muddy mess -- until the guitar and bass breakdown anyway. These are fairly minor complaints, however. The single "Right Wing of the Garden Triptych" opens with Schoolcraft providing clean vocals atop strings and keyboards, but the guitars enter on stun. Filth's black metal howl strides alongside tremolo-picked riffs. It shifts gears several times, with imaginative chugging and knotty turns; it is perhaps the best track on the set. "Vampyre at My Side" feels out of place here, as if it was left over from the Manticore & Other Horrors sessions, but the crunching churn on "Onward Christian Soldiers" redeems it -- check out the searing guitar break at around four minutes. It's one of the places where the interplay between Filth's growl and Schoolcraft's soaring chorus work best. Hammer of the Witches doesn't reach the heights of Dusk of Her Embrace, but it does offer proof that there is plenty of fire and creativity left in Cradle of Filth. (American fans don't have to worry about Arthur Berzinsh's censored front cover -- it is reproduced as he originally painted it, inside the booklet.) ~ Thom Jurek
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Metal - Released January 1, 2018 | Nuclear Blast

Hi-Res Booklet
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Pop/Rock - Released June 1, 2006 | Sony BMG Music Entertainment

As satanic as anything need be, Cradle of Filth is a black metal ensemble from Suffolk, England, who's managed to keep it extreme while being wildly popular internationally. They may be the most popular black metal band in the world because they've managed to break away from the genre's relatively small cult following and successfully infect all sorts of disaffected teenagers, especially in Europe. They never veer drastically from the usual black metal staples: movie monster-type vocals, lots of high-pitched screams, indecipherable lyrics, and relentless, punishing riffs. But Midian has its fair share of melody too. (Most of the finest metal does have some element of melody.) Midian begins with a chorus of what sounds like some evil monks chanting. The album is at its very best when the ominous, classical-style keyboards kick in. But most of the record is intense screaming and flailing guitar, and it gets to be grating halfway through. The first half of Midian is as symphonic and satanic-sounding as any black metal before it, but the second half is all filler and no bite. Cradle of Filth, like a lot of black metal bands, seems to have never heard of a chorus or a verse. Perhaps pure evil doesn't need hooks to sell itself. But as Midian gets messier and goes on interminably, even their young satanic fans will want to turn it off in favor of torturing the family cat. ~ Adam Bregman
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Metal - Released January 1, 2018 | Nuclear Blast

Booklet
Cradle of Filth's only remaining original member from 1991 is vocalist and songwriter Dani Filth. Before the release of 2015's Hammer of the Witches, this group had essentially become a revolving-door entity personnel-wise and could easily have been renamed "Dani & the Filths." This lineup has been consistent since 2015, though, and it shows on Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness of Decay. Hammer of the Witches restored the twin-guitar attack of the early years via the additions of Marek Smerda and Rich Shaw, cutting back -- some -- on the lush Gothic orchestrations and theatrical chorales that distracted from previous albums. Cryptoriana scales those excesses back even further without abandoning them altogether. That said, this wouldn't be a CoF record without theater, imaginative lyricism, and a diverse musical attack, but there is far more metal here than we've heard in a while. Filth's powerful vocal histrionics remain undiminished: His screams, shrieks, and beneath-the-sub-basement, low guttural growls are all in place and move these narratives along with blistering intensity and plenty of black humor and horror film romance. Keyboardist and second vocalist Lyndsay Schoolcraft has become an increasingly important member of this outfit even if she does undersell her contribution. Rounding out the lineup are bassist Daniel Firth and blastbeat maniac Martin Skaroupka on drums. This is the band's most extreme outing since Damnation and a Day, and though it doesn't reach those heights, the stand-out tracks far outnumber the duds. The title track, the wonderfully misnomered "Heartbreakingly Beautiful," and "Heartbreak and Séance" offer jarring blastbeats, galloping Iron Maiden-esque guitar riffing, and a Gothic deluge that recalls the early '90s, but they're musically constructed to reflect extreme music's modern era. The funereal intro to "Vengeful Spirit" finds Filth offering his best glossolalia as a set piece. But clean-throated Norwegian guest vocalist Liv Kristine (ex-Theatre of Tragedy and Leaves' Eyes) joins him, making it a conversation among ghouls as the music's dark swirl and force all but envelop them. "You Will Know the Lion by His Claw" offers a blinding riff and pummeling bassline, and Filth's very best shrieking on the album, as well as another Maiden-esque dual-lead break. Unfortunately, not all is perfect. "Wester Vespertine" and "Death and the Maiden" both work musically, but the arrangements and lyrics in both songs delve too deeply into COF's latter-era trick bag of cliches. All that's forgiven on an amazingly reverent cover of Annihilator's "Alison Hell." Sans the symphonic trappings, it's COF as a full-on metal band with Filth delivering as "straight" a vocal performance as you've heard from him. As a whole, Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness of Decay is a welcome step further ahead from Hammer of the Witches in its force and economy, and even with its missteps it's a stronger album for it. ~ Thom Jurek
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Metal - Released October 24, 2008 | Roadrunner Records

If ever there were a subject for England's Cradle of Filth to tackle, it's the life of notorious French mass murderer (and celebrated war hero companion of Joan of Arc) Gilles de Rais. If you haven't heard of him, don't be surprised. After he was hanged in 1440, his name was stricken from the official records of history by French authorities. His crimes? Too numerous too mention here, but the worst of them involved the murder and rape of hundreds of children. Late in his life, French national library boss, critic, and novelist Georges Bataille wrote a complete book on the trial of this figure. De Rais was Sadeian before the Marquis de Sade ever existed (indeed, he may have been an inspiration for some of the characters in The 120 Days of Sodom). This album is a lengthy examination of the mind and biography of de Rais -- nobleman, aristocrat, devout Christian, war hero, and societal icon by day, by night an insane Satan-worshipping gore hound and purveyor of slaughter and blood sacrifice. On the surface it seems that it might be an ideal topic for a death metal record by the outrageously theatrical Cradle of Filth, led by head growler and screecher Dani Filth. It even begins well with the classical interlude "In Grandeur and Frankincense Devilment Stirs," with the spoken word poem of the character. But this is quickly wiped away by "Shat Out of Hell," whereby the listener is engaged by the utterly frenetic power drumming and über fast death metal guitar and bass riffery behind the simultaneously Cookie Monster growled and shrieked vocals of Filth. This may the only track on the record that offers a rather negative view of his crimes, and is the most musically compelling thing here. Beginning with the very next cut, however, the nascent "The Death of Love," near prog rock conceptual theater takes precedence over rock & roll fury. There are moments of unholy metal charge and scree, but there are more with plodding keyboards, large choirs, rote metallic clichés, Gothic-sounding themes, minor-key riffs, and thunderous drums giving way to a heavily layered production style that removes any real fright from the proceedings. In the end, the entire set comes across as an exercise in caricature of this shadowy historical figure through pretentious operatic theater and a clumsy boring narrative. By rights, this should be anything but. The obsession Cradle of Filth have with post-production is the very thing that removes the power from this set and makes it more of a wry -- and unintentionally comedic -- piece and impossible to take seriously. ~ Thom Jurek
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Metal - Released July 8, 2016 | Cacaphonous

Cradle of Filth may be one of the only recognizable underground metal acts to an average person. Although mom and dad might not know who they are, the band enjoyed a streak of notoriety through the late '90s into the turn of the century that would be hard for a music fan to miss. Their theatrical approach to the black metal genre was nothing new, but they turned it up a notch by cutting out much of the humor and bad special effects that groups like Mercyful Fate depended on and replaced them with a creepier, nastier stage show. But unlike so many of the bands in this genre, they had the music to back it up, and Dusk and Her Embrace may be their finest moment. What they did more than any other group is take the extreme playing style of the Norwegian black metal scene and apply a Sisters of Mercy style of melody to the singing. A hundred different metal bands tried to use goth flourishes in their music, but Cradle of Filth realized that you could make goth conform to heavy metal, not the other way around. This results in some creepy material; just listen to "Heaven Torn Asunder" or "Malice Through the Looking Glass" to hear some of the most important black metal ever made. What is even weirder is how catchy this music is. They really do a good job of incorporating memorable vocal lines and melodies into one of the least accessible genres of the 20th century. The keyboard intros and flourishes may be a little much for some listeners, but in the field of gothic European black metal, would you really expect anything less? With catchy songs, a brutal delivery, and a great gimmick, this is as good as underground metal gets. Along with Emperor, Faxed Head, and a few other pioneers, this band really helped the black metal genre to reappear after the death metal craze of the early '90s, but more than any other group, they also helped to put a twisted, ugly face on the genre for all to see. ~ Bradley Torreano
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Metal - Released May 31, 2019 | Dynamo Concerts

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Rock - Released September 20, 2004 | Roadrunner Records

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Metal - Released October 9, 2006 | Roadrunner Records

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Metal - Released September 3, 2002 | Abracadaver

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Pop/Rock - Released September 26, 2005 | Sony BMG Music Entertainment

Although the black metal resurgence in the '90s was centralized in Scandinavian countries, Britain's Cradle of Filth was perhaps the most recognizable band to appear during that time. Brandishing a razor-sharp wit, excellent playing skills, memorable songs, and a penchant for controversy, the band had just the right combination of skills to make it a genuine threat to the mainstream. To celebrate Cradle of Filth's ten years of metal rumblings, the band compiled tracks from each of its albums and released the two-disc Lovecraft & Witch Hearts. As a showcase for the band's progression, the album tends to fail, as it features material that fits into the same vein of high-concept black metal. But as a pure dose of moody, visceral music taken from Cradle of Filth's entire career, this is a fabulous success. One listen to "Her Ghost in the Fog" shows a band that can be dramatic, melancholy, and venomous within the same song. The group's ability to pack so much into a single track is a testament to the bandmembers' abilities as influential genre songwriters. The inclusion of several remixes and covers is a nice touch, giving the album a variety that mirrors the way a typical Cradle of Filth album sounds. Because of the band's tendency to give its albums concepts and linking themes, the compilation still doesn't paint the ultimate picture of Cradle of Filth. But Lovecraft & Witch Hearts is an excellent way to hear the group for the first time, as well as a handy sampler for longtime fans. Few metal compilations manage to do justice to the band being covered, but this is a satanic roller coaster ride that collects Cradle of Filth's best work into one savage collection. ~ Bradley Torreano
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Metal - Released October 24, 2008 | Roadrunner Records

If ever there were a subject for England's Cradle of Filth to tackle, it's the life of notorious French mass murderer (and celebrated war hero companion of Joan of Arc) Gilles de Rais. If you haven't heard of him, don't be surprised. After he was hanged in 1440, his name was stricken from the official records of history by French authorities. His crimes? Too numerous too mention here, but the worst of them involved the murder and rape of hundreds of children. Late in his life, French national library boss, critic, and novelist Georges Bataille wrote a complete book on the trial of this figure. De Rais was Sadeian before the Marquis de Sade ever existed (indeed, he may have been an inspiration for some of the characters in The 120 Days of Sodom). This album is a lengthy examination of the mind and biography of de Rais -- nobleman, aristocrat, devout Christian, war hero, and societal icon by day, by night an insane Satan-worshipping gore hound and purveyor of slaughter and blood sacrifice. On the surface it seems that it might be an ideal topic for a death metal record by the outrageously theatrical Cradle of Filth, led by head growler and screecher Dani Filth. It even begins well with the classical interlude "In Grandeur and Frankincense Devilment Stirs," with the spoken word poem of the character. But this is quickly wiped away by "Shat Out of Hell," whereby the listener is engaged by the utterly frenetic power drumming and über fast death metal guitar and bass riffery behind the simultaneously Cookie Monster growled and shrieked vocals of Filth. This may the only track on the record that offers a rather negative view of his crimes, and is the most musically compelling thing here. Beginning with the very next cut, however, the nascent "The Death of Love," near prog rock conceptual theater takes precedence over rock & roll fury. There are moments of unholy metal charge and scree, but there are more with plodding keyboards, large choirs, rote metallic clichés, Gothic-sounding themes, minor-key riffs, and thunderous drums giving way to a heavily layered production style that removes any real fright from the proceedings. In the end, the entire set comes across as an exercise in caricature of this shadowy historical figure through pretentious operatic theater and a clumsy boring narrative. By rights, this should be anything but. The obsession Cradle of Filth have with post-production is the very thing that removes the power from this set and makes it more of a wry -- and unintentionally comedic -- piece and impossible to take seriously. ~ Thom Jurek
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Metal - Released November 9, 2010 | Nuclear Blast

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Pop/Rock - Released June 3, 2006 | Sony BMG Music Entertainment

The music on From the Cradle to Enslave was originally featured on the Cradle of Filth home video PanDaemonAeon, and was released overseas several months before its 2000 American issue. While not quite on the level of the band's best full-lengths, the EP is a worthy addition to any fan's collection, featuring several songs that rank with the best of their work, as well as a cover of spiritual forebears the Misfits' "Death Comes Ripping." ~ Steve Huey
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Metal - Released July 31, 2012 | The End Records

Cradle of Filth is most notorious for bringing respectability to the Norwegian black metal template, the band threatening to actually make the genre enjoyable, thanks to acceptable production values and an admirable songwriting ethic mostly absent among the early reptilian belchings croaked forth from dank Norse basements -- and Cradle is British to boot. Utilizing flowery classical flourishes, tangible melodies, nimble death/thrash riffing, a coherent -- albeit crushing -- rhythmic battery, and the deranged, multifaceted caterwaul of vocalist Dani Davey, The Principle of Evil Made Flesh brought a musical sensibility to the black metal table that was absent in early genre releases by Emperor, Enslaved, and Mayhem. Boasting a blatant goth influence -- i.e., lengthy keyboard intros, intermittent operatic female vocals, and Davey's black 'n' blood take on romantic poetry (in meter even!) -- and slightly tongue-in-cheek vampire and occult imagery, Cradle came across as a lean combination of key influences, including Venom, Iron Maiden, Bathory, Possessed, Celtic Frost, and Slayer, all spot-welded to the miscreant clatterings of Norway's finest. While "The Black Goddess Rises," "To Eve the Art of Witchcraft," and "The Forest Whispers My Name" are undeniably classic Cradle ragers, Principle, in retrospect, doesn't quite live up to the quality control exhibited on later records, the album leaving plenty of room for the group to grow into its studded S&M gear. Too often, Davey's vocals are reduced to generic death-puking or heavy-handed, Tom Warrior-style monotone narration, and the spiky guitar riffs of the title track and "A Crescendo of Passion Bleeding" are relatively primitive by CoF standards. Regardless, Principle made waves in the early black metal scene, putting Cradle of Filth on the tips of metalheads' tongues, whether in praise of the band's brazen attempts to break the black metal mold, or in derision for its "commercialization" of an underground phenomenon that was proud of its grimy heritage -- commercialization being a relative term within the genre's confines (the "sellouts" used professional studios, while the torch-bearers for "true black metal" apparently preferred to use the single-microphone-hung-from-the-garage-rafters recording method). A strong argument can be made that Norwegian acts, all viable artists in their own right, would have evolved into more coherent and inspired outfits regardless of Cradle's influence on the scene, but these zany Brits deserve credit for realizing how tight the genre's shackles could be, choosing to reach for more creatively satisfying vistas instead of clinging to the cave-dweller-banging-on-rocks method of black metal songwriting. ~ John Serba
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Metal - Released October 9, 2006 | Roadrunner Records

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Metal - Released July 10, 2015 | Nuclear Blast

Booklet