I am 40 years old. I burned my ears by listening to metal since I was… I don’t know. When I first heard COF almost nobody knew this band and I remember the looks I got when I said this band would be famous. I also knew, after listening to “Cruelty and the Beast” that this guys would never come up again with something so perfect, that this would be their maximum peak. Honestly, how could you get a faster trip to the deepest regions of the worst hell immaginable other than listening to this cd capable of bring demons to your mind for an infernal excursion to the darkest side of the collective unconscious? However, if you look at the history of Iron Maiden, for example, many fans thought the same about “The number of the Beast”; nothing better than that could ever be accomplished. Nonetheless, a serie of beautiful works followed that impressive album. Those works were pretty different from the initial hit, and yet, the same flavor was there. Of course, those who listened to the first album – which was a conceptual piece of work as well as “Cruelty and the Beast” was, those fans felt betrayed with the next album. They didn’t want to listen to some incredibles new songs, they wanted “a trip”. In part, Maiden gave that to their fans several times in its career. Unfortunatelly, with COF I don’t feel the same way. Maiden gave several awesome albums but they also kept their formation long enough to produce that quality. Listen to the sound of the drums and the quality and elaboration of the keyboard work in “Cruelty and the Beast” and see what COF missed from there on. Only Dani’s genius keeps COF as a powerful band. Although I enjoy a lot of the new songs,I still miss the trip. I still await for their next delivery. The problem is that in the meanwhile the commercial part, the circus, the formulas and repetitions are an awful downside for this unique band. One question nobody seems to ask: why is that this band doesn’t attempt to transcend itself by trying to open up and reach not just teenagers? Dani: I know you need to make some living in this world, but you are primarily an artist so tell me, is there any difference between a singer who sings songs for children and what you are doing? Deep Purple, Zeppelin, Maiden, Floyd and many others saw grown people on their concerts. Are you going to become a clown just to reach those teenagers in fatland?
And so to 2006, where Cradle Of Filth find themselves in the enviable position of being in a league and class of their own. Having long since outstripped the achievements of their one-time contemporaries, the band is now firmly entrenched in a rich vein of form. The current line-up of Dani Filth, guitarists Paul Allender and Charles Hedger, bassist Dave Pybus and drummer Adrian Erlandsson is the most solid and powerful in the band’s career and Thornography is the resounding, conclusive proof. With songs as brutish, bombastic and diverse as Libertina Grimm, Tonight In Flames, Cemetery & Sundown, I Am The Thorn, The Byronic Man (featuring HIM’s Ville Valo on guest vocals) and a deranged cover of Heaven 17’s ’80s pop gem Temptation, the world’s biggest and best extreme metal band have never sounded so exhilarating, so vital, so venomous.
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It’s great to hear the filth experimenting with new sounds and production techniques. I was a bit concerned on the first listen through as it is definitely different to their other releases but the new songs sound great. Give it a chance and get over the fact that it’s not a “Principle of Evil Made Flesh” reincarnation (like that would be possible anyway) and I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised. The songs are going to sound great live, I can only hope they tour in Japan
Certainly this is the most accessible release from COF yet. And as often occurs in the metal community as soon as beloved bands nod towards commercialism the knives come out and sell out is screamed. No need really because this is the most direct and palatable release so far and I am sure they must be attempting to expand their market, afterall all things must be reborn if they are to continue otherwise it grows stale and old. The vocals are frequently tuneful and the choruses and bridges to the songs are memorable after only a couple of listens. In other words less percistance is needed to find the hook. Indeed this cd reminds me of the old school stylings of Mercyful Fate or the NWOBHM style of that era say 83-ish metal which I personally loved. Of course the Iron Maiden stylings are still very present and it all sounds terribly British. Perhaps the extremity of their sound is in a better doseage for a more mainstream market this time. Song highlights must be ‘Tonight in Flames’ which really highlights an attempt at more traditional workings and is very successful by doing so, and ‘The Byronic Man’ for the same reasons. The negative votes are coming (I sense) but I personally think the Edgar Alan Poe gothic style lyrics are now a liability and they should write less cryptically to match the less cryptic style they have adopted musically. Either a watershed release or the end perhaps, time will tell?
I would like to start by stating that this album is not death metal, black metal, ect. Nor does the band claim to be. The closest they have been was Principle of evil made flesh……..maybe, and they evolved from there. Cradle of filth sounds like Cradle of filth.
Anyone new to COF will enjoy this cd. Even the people who have liked them from the begining will like it. It is a Very good cd. Not there best effort but worth buying.
As you can see from earlier posts on this message board, Cradle of Filth have been the subject of much conversation lately. In fact, even some of the members have said Cradle isn’t and has never been a true black metal band. And now that these seven Brits have released their second slickly-produced album on a major label, have a MySpace page, and have been in talks with MTV and Hot Topic, “sell out” rumors are running rampant. But this writer’s opinion is this is yet another case of a band tweaking its sound without selling out. This has happened so often that I’m getting tired of writing these reviews. Yes, Cradle of Filth did sound a lot more raw and in line with traditional black metal on their debut, 1994’s “The Principal of Evil Made Flesh.” But what everyone needs to realize is, even though they have crossed the line into mainstream territory, they can still shred as mightily as ever before. On all six of their full length releases previous to this one, COF have seamlessly crafted together gothic overtones, haunting and usually symphonic ambience, brutal extreme metal, imaginative, conceptual lyrics, high amounts of drama and an occasional dash of humor. And their new full length, this year’s “Thornography” (a second for Roadrunner), is, of course, the same way. In fact, if anything slightly hinders “Thornography,” it’s that it can sometimes be a tad bit on the familiar and/or predictable side. For example, Dani’s Filth’s vocal range–piercing shrieks and low bellows–hasn’t changed or matured whatsoever. But one needn’t worry that it’s a carbon copy of everything else they’ve already released, because a few new ingredients are brought to the table here, such as guitar soloing (!), and various Iron Maiden-esque harmonies (yep, you read that right).
“Thornography” begins with an expected orchestral overture, “Under Pregnant Skies She Comes Alive Like Miss Leviathan.” Tracks like this are pretty standard for a Cradle of Filth album, but it’s nonetheless ominous and bone-chilling. “Tonight In Flames” and “Cemetery and Sundown” are also standouts because they take on a new, unique, and daring approach. The former has a clean vocal refrain and piano mid-section, whereas the latter features several melodic hooks and even a vague pop appeal. And the closer, “Temptation,” an entirely unexpected yet decent cover of a romantic song originally written by Heaven 17, is perhaps the record’s biggest surprise.
The rest of the disc, however, is much different. Track two, “Dirge Inferno,” is an all out onslaught of driving blast beats, and catchy, punching twin guitar riffs. Despite being kind of groove-oriented, “I Am The Thorn” is a blistering thrashfest with shredding riffs, rapid fire double bass kicks, and four lengthy, careening solos. “Lovesick For Mina” is vintage Cradle of Filth-it perfectly balances restrained, well-placed melody (i.e. soft strumming, cool piano keys, violins, and spoken word vocals) and unabashed, bludgeoning metal (with blasting drums and strong, fiery leads). “Rise of the Pentagram” utilizes a similarly great dynamic, and places gentle synths, choral vocals (in the background), and what sounds like a church organ alongside smoking, buzzsaw guitar parts. This song is also a highlight because it’s almost entirely instrumental, aside from the creepy and somewhat nasty spoken word poem (about sex, the Garden of Eden, serpents, blasphemy, etc.) at the beginning. Lastly of note is “Under Huntress Moon,” which boasts bulldozing, earthquake riffs, a deeply grumbling bass line, and insanely fast, pounding skins.
Though “Thornography” isn’t quite as epic or innovative as some of their earlier works (like, say, 2003’s “Damnation and a Day”), it is substantially more expansive than 2004’s “Nymphetamine,” because COF definitely took a few new musical strides here. These strides have disgusted many longtime fans and black metal purists and are sure to alienate some newcomers. But the fact of the matter is, aside from a couple experimental moments, this album is surprisingly easy to digest and will satiate those who long to hear what they’re used to hearing: full-fledged brutality and face-melting intensity. Thus, “Thornography” is NOT a ruination of the signature, legendary sound Cradle of Filth started establishing over a decade ago; this is the same band you’ve always known and loved.