Album: "The Manticore and Other Horrors"
Style: Symphonic Black/Gothic Metal
Release date: 2012-10-29
1. The Unveiling of O (instrumental)
2. The Abhorrent
3. For Your Vulgar Delectation
6. Frost on Her Pillow
7. Huge Onyx Wings Behind Despair
8. Pallid Reflection
9. Siding With the Titans
10. Succumb to This
11. Sinfonia (instrumental)
A couple of days ago, I found two used copies of Cradle of Filth's masterpieces "Vempire or Dark Faerytales in Phallustein" and "Dusk and Her Embrace" on CD. Since I like both albums and they were really cheap, I decided to buy them. Now, this got me in a CoF-listening mode and I revisited some of their older works. It then dawned on me that I had read somewhere that they were releasing a new album this year.
I enjoyed the band up to and including "Midian" (2000) and to a lesser extent, "Bitter Suites to Succubi" (2001). Since then, I've only heard a couple of songs here and there during the 10+ years that have passed by since. And apart from "Swansong for a Raven" from "Nymphetamine" (2004), nothing I've heard since have impressed me in any way.
Back when I listened a lot to the band (late 90's - early 00's) it was popular to bash both Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir due to their immense popularity. I still stand firm that Cradle of Filth managed to produce quite a number of really good songs back in their heydays. And to a much lesser extent, Dimmu Borgir managed to do so as well. But things have changed a lot since those days and while the Norwegians have become larger than ever, Cradle of Filth it seems have taken a more obscure road into the periphery. Fuck it - I now let my prejudices and opinions of old stand aside as I prepare myself to be completely digested in the Filth's latest offering "The Manticore and Other Horrors".
Beginning with a most pointless intro (almost as ugly as the cover) which fails to add any atmosphere whatsoever, I can't say that I have to much hopes for the rest of the album.
But I am convicted once the ferocity of song such as "For Your Vulgar Delectation", "Frost on Her Pillow", "Pallid Reflection" and "Siding With the Titans" hits me in the face. Musically, it seems like the band has focused a lot on putting the guitars in focus and this is both positive and negative. The idea is great, but there's actually way too few cool keyboard-passages present on the album (something I never thought I would write about CoF). Then there are both solid riffing - ranging from punk-ish to old-school thrash attacks - as well as NWOBHM-melodies which is good and all. But there seems to be a bit too much solo-masturbation here and there which doesn't fit the rest of the music at all.
|CoF 2012: Marthus, Dani Filth & Paul Allender|
Vocally, it is impossible not to compare it with the Cradle of Filth of old. You all know this. Recently I saw a live-video with the band performing quite a lot of old songs and it is most certainly apparent that vocalist Dani Filth has lost the ability to belch out those gut-wrenching yells that was one of his and the band's most distinguished trademarks. This is also very apparent on "The Manticore and Other Horrors".
You see, there are very few of these yells on this album and when they do appear - they are a far cry from what we got used to on classic songs such as "Queen of Winter, Throned" and "Heaven Torn Asunder". Then we are also greeted with attempts of "clean singing" which is utterly dreadful - evidence of this can be found well into the title track "Manticore".
At the beginning of "Pallid Reflection" I realize that I miss the once ever-present female vocals on a Cradle of Filth-album. And much to my surprise, it does show itself in this song and someplace later. But it is not as "dominant" as Sarah Jezebel Deva's voice. Like her or not, one cannot deny the impact that she had on the old classics. And while the female vocals nor the choirs here are not necessarily bad, they are just inferior to what we've heard in the past.
Now, it might seem as I am giving this album somewhat of a bashing - but I really enjoy "The Manticore and Other Horrors" to a certain extent. Sure, it doesn't come near anything the band did prior to "Damnation and a Day" (2003) but it is far better than said album. I miss some of the classic vocals and I do think there's a tad too few keyboards present here, but on the whole, it is an album that is above OK and even might be a grower. Time will tell.