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Cradle of Filth - Cruelty and the Beast

1998 Music for Nations Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-02

Supreme evil in the form of the ultimate tribute to the blood goddess herself, Elizabeth Bathory. As EB was known for her outrageous theatrics, so are Cradle of Filth, who milk humanity's fascination of the dark side for all it's value. With highly confrontational past releases, and a name that makes most cringe, COF are the forefront of the dirt metal scene, selling just tons of material to a hungry horde of evil-lovin kids all over the world. Being the cynic that I am, I figured that this was all show, but, as with Dimmu Borgir, I was astonished to find the degrees of musicality and musicianship present on their latest release! Sure, the bone scraping vocals, which are the crux of the show here, can rub the paint off at 50 paces, but for some reason here they aren't as overpowering. I've heard that main influences are Maiden, Mercyful Fate and more of the "classic" bands, and I would tend to agree. Guitar work just kills, with scorching riffs (do I smell brimstone?) mixed with the swirling keyboard passages which are nowhere near being cheesy. A more than capable rhythm section maintains the necessary juggernaut pace through roughly 45 minutes of "song" (interludes nonwithstanding), with some truly pummeling double bass which is the standard we've come to expect. Only thing that bothers me (besides having to hear about evil left and right) is the paper thin sound of the snare, which is a personal pet peeve. Otherwise, a formidable release from the top contenders in the battle royal for satan. Now, I have also heard cries of "sell-out" here, which I can't argue. This is first album I even considered buying from these guys, and it was only after hearing the quality of the song structure that I finally broke down and got it. So, maybe the "evil" isn't as intense, or the songs aren't as fast, but the sure do stick in the brain over the tons of other stuff I hear daily, and for me, that's a definite reason to recommend this.