Cradle of Filth
Dusk and Her Embrace - The Original Sin

Little did I know that arguably my favorite Cradle of Filth album, 1996s Dusk and Her Embrace was actually the second iteration of that album. Unbeknownst to me, before the 1996 Music for Nations version, another version of the album was fully recorded in 1995 with essentially the same line up as the band’s debut The Principles of Evil Made Flesh. However, due to issues with then label Cacophonous Records and displeasure with the result, the band chose not to release the album and part ways with Cacophonous, with the V Empire EP (so something good did come out of it)  as their contractual obligation before leaving.  A year later, and with a completely revamped line up, and a new label, the album was rerecorded and released proper.

And so over 20 years later, here is that original recording of the album dusted of and cleaned up from the original dat tapes, and while the charm of the albums still killer tracks rendered in the more raw style, akin to the band’s debut, I can see why they didn’t want to release it, as the 1996 is superior, but there is something to behind here for die hard Cradle of Filth fans. You get the original track listing, differing from the 1996 version, a few different songs and for this release, a couple of demo tracks.

I would not too excited about the new tracks though as they are basically a new (old) intro in “Macabre the Banquet” (replaced by “Humana Inspired to Nightmare” on the 1996 release) and outro “Carmilla’s Masque”. You do however get “Nocturnal Supremacy” in it’s original format before it was released on the V Empire EP. What you don’t get is “Malice Through the Looking Glass”, a song added for the 1996 version.

That all said, what you can’t deny is the energy and more sinister, less sensual and pompous delivery of what are still some fucking excellent songs. Despite some much more hockey keyboards, shaky female parts and a more primal Dani Filth and lacking the polish and tightness of the 1996 release, there is no denying the greatness of the likes of the title track, “Heaven Torn Asunder”,  “Funeral in Carpathia”, “A Gothic Romance” or  one of my favorite COF tracks, “Haunted Shores”, even with some weird choral lines and a much less regal Cronos guest appearance.  Die hards will notice subtle differences, not just in the production and delivery, but there are some clear pacing, lyrical, structural compositional  differences in the tracks on this version and the 1996 release, especially in the synths, keyboards and vocals, so to collectors, this may make the album worthwhile.

The demo version of “Nocturnal Supremacy” and “A Gothic Romance” seem like tack ons to make this a more worthwhile effort, but it sort of cements  this release comes across as the demo/rehearsal sessions for Dusk and Her Embrace.  But that’s OK, it’s a part of the bands history. It’s fun to play ‘what if?’ and discuss what might have happened if the band had released this version of the album? Many consider the one that saw the light of day their best effort and arguably one of the more important black metal albums of the era. With a year to tighten the songs up for the Music For Nations version, it became an arguable classic, but would this more raw, dare I say amateur yet still lively version have held the same regard? The follow up Cruelty and the Beast certainly elevated the band, but even then would that album have been if this version had been released? Who knows? but it’s good to see COF and Cacophonous patch up their differences and get this done and allow fans to hear a vital part of the band’s past.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
August 1st, 2016

Comments

  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    Cruelty and the Beast is complete lunacy.


  2. Commented by: Gabaghoul

    Wow had no idea this was coming! Listening now.


  3. Commented by: Dave

    This is just weird. I’ve owned this album since it came out in 96, I had no idea it was already recorded once before. It’s strange to hear a song you’ve known well for 20 years played by the same band, sounding so similar but just different enough.


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