Cradle Of Filth belong to that group of bands that, at each new release, are awaited with guns pointed by fans and insiders. After all, even in the years of the maximum splendor, those corresponding to the first four albums, the division between those who loved them and those who hated them was clear and this has always contributed to the presence of an uncomfortable leader as Dani Filth, character enough over the top and vocalist who has never been unanimously appreciated for his characteristic Donald Duck-like scream. Almost a quarter of century has passed since the British elf and his band gave a gothic and grandiose turn to black metal, with a surprising album like The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh and then with the masterpiece Dusk And Her Embrace. The albums that followed, Cruelty And The Beast and Midian, were maintained on a good level and then saw the quality gradually decline, although still with some shudder, until you get to the works of this decade that have provided strong signs of recovery fully confirmed by this excellent Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay. After all, the qualitative graph of Cradle Of Filth is not dissimilar from that of illustrious compatriots such as Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride: a first handful of excellent records, a more or less evident but generalized decline in the central phase of the career and a new creative impulse in the ’10s, with a last album up to the splendor of the past. With Cryptoriana, Cradle Of Filth return to explore that Victorian imagery that they have always loved, wrapping it in a gothic aura obviously exasperated but confined within the limits of good taste, all resting on a thrash black sound carpet imbued with the usual symphonic openings and apt melodies, enriched by an effective solo guitar work. Despite a persistent verbosity, the vocalist seems to have finally diluted his scream by combining it with an effective growl, supported at various times by the voice of Lindsay Schoolcraft; on the other hand, if the excessive volatility of the line-up was one of the problems that Dani has always had to face over the years, one can not help but notice that for the first time the line-up has remained unchanged between a full length and the other, with Richard Shaw and Marek Ashok Šmerda confirmed on guitars, Daniel Firth on bass and the sprawling Martin Marthus Škaroupka on drums (as well as keyboards in the studio). Maybe it’s a coincidence, the fact is that the pieces often scattered here and there that have made up the sound of Cradle Of Filth for most of the new millennium, seem to have gone all in their place, as evidenced by a song of the level of Heartbreak And Seance, rightly anticipated as a single and characterized by melodic lines of rare effectiveness; Wester Vespertine winds furious and pressing, even if punctuated by choral parts, while The Seductiveness Of Decay is the other peak of the work, with its typical development full of tempo changes but enriched by a cyclic Maidenian solo that you find between head and neck without any notice but with a dragging effect. The excellent You Will Know The Lion By His Claw and Death And The Maiden close the work in its standard version, while the digipack and double vinyl versions also offer two bonus tracks, among which should be mentioned the cover of Annihilator’s Alison Hell. Whether you like them or not, this time Cradle Of Filth have put on the plate enough arguments to silence the detractors, proposing themselves at their best as the legitimate progenitors of symphonic metal extreme, gothic and romantic.

2017 – Nuclear Blast / Ward Records / Shinigami Records / Soyuz Music / UltraPop