Cradle of Filth - _From the Cradle to Enslave_
(Music for Nations, 1999)
by: Matthias Noll (8 out of 10)
It's time for an outing: Cradle of Filth are my favourite band of the '90s. It's completely beyond my comprehension what their music has to do with sell-out and I'm still looking for a Korn / Marylin Manson fan who has bought a CoF record or shows up at their concerts. To help you put my review into perspective, there are a couple of reviewers out on the 'net who hate Cradle's output since _Vempire_ [CoC #11] but think that _From the Cradle to Enslave_ is a pleasant surprise and the best material the band has written since _The Principle of Evil Made Flesh_. What the CoF following gets here are two new songs, two covers, a techno remix and a different version of "Funeral in Carpathia" from _Dusk and Her Embrace_ [CoC #16]. The title track, a rather straight song by Cradle standards, is constructed around an enchanting guitar melody line which embeds a ferocious thrash metal section -- the first time the band has achieved a really heavy guitar sound (and I mean HEAVY) -- and a blast speed passage with some superb drumming by Wes Sarginson. The second song, "Of Dark Blood and Fucking" is uncompromisingly fast and even after a couple of weeks the brutal riffing, showing a clear _Reign in Blood_ influence, still leaves me breathless. Since _Dusk and Her Embrace_ Dani has developed a far more variable, less irritating style and is not only screeching in the highest possible notes anymore. Backing him up, Sarah Jezebel Deva has lent her unique voice to the Cradle once again and provides some fine melody lines. Also noteworthy is keyboardist Lecter's work on "Of Dark Blood and Fucking" -- total swirling madness without a hint of the usual, oh so sweet black metal cliches. The two cover versions, Anathema's "Sleepless" and The Misfits' tune "Death Comes Ripping" are quite OK, but do not live up to what CoF have done with "Sodomy and Lust" or "Hell Awaits". Forgettable is the techno remix "Perverts Church". The alternative version of "Funeral in Carpathia" sounds like a demo or pre-production track with hardly audible guitars and is only interesting for hardcore fans. Judging by the two new songs, I'm sure that if the band manages to maintain this quality level on the upcoming full length album we'll get an absolutely killer record. Let's wait to see if the line-up stabilizes again and what kind of input Paul Allender might be able to give. I'm giving 10 out of 10 for the new material and 6 for the rest this time.

(article published 5/3/2000)

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