Cradle of Filth

Well folks, they have done it. One of my favorite bands has finally forced me to write the review that metal fans and COF detractors have been waiting for. While, there’s no question these arguably influential British shock rockers have been shedding the black metal guise of their fat Nick Barker, top hat wearing, precocious early days for some time now, the fact is each of their albums has been enjoyable for me and offered up top notch quality metal, whatever genre you want to call it.

Well, finally with album number eight, The Cradle has finally shed all semblance of black metal and fully embraced an awkward mix of theatrical thrash and Goth Rock. Though still glossed with a lessened symphonic element and Dani Filth’s expected lyrical erotica, Thornography is a virtually blast beat free, mid paced, plodding guitar driven exercise in commercial wanting and simplistic up-tempo Goth Thrash that has more in common with Lacrimas Profundere with PMS than the bands enjoyable and often seminal back catalogue.

That’s not to say there Thornography is pure drivel. For basically a well produced, second rate Sabbat (lets be honest, Dani Filth has been ripping off Martin Walkyier for years) rip-off with heavy Goth overtones and synths, the album offers up some nice mid paced thrash riffage, a few urgent but lethargic stabs at the bands prior symphonic overload and the expected levels of vampyric/ darkly romantic and sexually evil overtones. Even Mr. Filth is less squawky than usual with far more mid range rasps and spoken words.

After the standard and promising operatic intro of “Under Pregnant Skies She Comes Alive Like Miss Leviathan”and even the rather enjoyable hack n slash thrash of “Dirge Inferno” which sounds like a track from Damnation and a Day and features one of the album’s two blast beats. However, things start to go awry with “Tonight In Flames”, where Dani Filth tries to actually sing and until impressive throwback closer (not including a cover of Heaven 17’s “Temptation”) “Under A Temptress Moon”, which sounds like it might have come from the Cruelty and the Beast sessions, the album isn’t even remotely enjoyable. Even with slick, robust guitar tone, the album’s lack of dynamics and overall forced wickedness and overly dramatic Goth lean just makes the middle section of Thornography utterly forgettable. Even the band’s requisite lengthy epic numbers, “I am the Thorn” and “Lovesick For Mina” are straight forward rock with syrupy synth work with no real climax rather than the often evocative and sensual nature of the band’s other epics. Even the expected presence of Doug “Pinhead” Bradley on awkward instrumental “Rise of The Pentagram”, can’t elevate the album with simply flat tracks like “Libertina Grimm”, “The Byronic Man”, “Cemetery and Sundown” and the forced thrash of “Foetus of a New Day Kicking” (where Dani tries to sing yet again).

I’d like to make it clear, I’m not ripping this album because it’s cool to rip Cradle Of Filth, I actually really enjoy all of their albums. but the continual line-up changes, overdone image, label hopping, mainstream acceptance, and commercial popularity has made this band a shell of their former selves.

Somewhere Dimmu Borgir is smiling, ‘cos someone has sold out even more than they have. That being said, I’m sure this will sell thousands and be on the Billboard charts, thanks for fishnet clad teens.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 16th, 2006


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