Cradle of Filth – From Cradle to Enslavement – Review

Cradle of Filth

From Cradle to Enslavement (Metal Blade)
by Scott Hefflon

You don’t have to get out much to know that Cradle of Filth is one of the most beloved black metal bands of all. There are a lot of good black metal bands (from old school to new school, and bands that use aspects of black to salvage an otherwise mediocre sound), and I’ve always kinda wondered why so many non-metalheads bowed before Cradle of Faith but dislike any of the other fine bands…

Industrialheads and Gothites meet in the blood-drawn circle on the floor, yet they deny the existence of the other gods: Why? Oh, duh, cuz Cradle of Filth is just so damn nutty, they go beyond. Part impressive musicianship, part amazing songwriting, then take a determination to throw everything including the kitchen sink into the song without it being a cop-out to the responsibility of writing a good song, and you have their secret to success. That and a pact with Satan. Truthfully, trying to dissect these songs is like trying to dig to China on the beach in the middle of a hurricane. For every scoop of saturated granules you lift, more floods in and yer left panting and bewildered. So shut up and revel in the power of the storm.

Admittedly, there are transitions and aspects that are, well, kinda goofy: a squeak instead of a scream, a kitschy keyboard line that sounds like a New Wave poof on a Casio and not Mr. Crowley riding his white horse, but before you giggle, you feel the hairs on the back of your neck prick up. Slayeresque leads, demon bellows, snakespit’n’snarl vocals like no one else can manage, fearsome drama pouring forth from the Phantom of the Opera keyboardist, and delicate female vocals all set to thrashy, galloping guitars and blurs of blackened shred that keep you staring at the stereo wondering how the hell they do it. Like early Emperor (in a way), these six, mostly six-plus minute songs seem to make less linear sense than a David Lynch movie, but seeing as all the sub-plots are masterfully executed, who really gives a fuck?
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