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Metal - Released May 31, 2019 | Dynamo Concerts

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Metal - Released May 10, 2019 | Dynamo Concerts

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Metal - Released May 10, 2019 | Dynamo Concerts

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Metal - Released July 23, 2018 | Nuclear Blast

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Metal - Released July 23, 2018 | Nuclear Blast

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Metal - Released November 9, 2010 | Nuclear Blast

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Metal - Released November 9, 2010 | Nuclear Blast

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Metal - Released October 18, 2011 | Nuclear Blast

The English extreme metal crew follow up their ninth album Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa with this stopgap EP/DVD set. The CD features two new songs, alternative versions of tracks from the album, and a teaser for their following orchestral release Midnight in the Labyrinth. The DVD includes a music video for the track "Lilith Immaculate," a documentary about the band, and live footage from their 2011 appearance at Belgium's Graspop festival.
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Metal - Released January 1, 2018 | Nuclear Blast

Hi-Res Booklet
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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 January 1, 2018 | Nuclear Blast

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Metal - Released January 1, 2018 | Nuclear Blast

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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 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 July 10, 2015 | Nuclear Blast

Booklet
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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 July 31, 2012 | The End Records

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Metal - Released October 9, 2006 | Roadrunner Records

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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 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