Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cradle of Filth - Dusk... and Her Embrace (1996)

It's actually pretty sad that COF receive the amount of hatred and angst that they do from the uptight teeny boppers that comprise the global necro-kvlt. Sure, they've certainly released their share of duds but, musically, when they're on they're fucking on and there is no better example of this then their penultimate 1996 masterpiece, 'Dusk and Her Embrace'. Why anyone would choose to subject themselves to listening to 'Transylvanian Hunger' over this is WAY the fuck beyond me. I mean, I get the whole "nerds trying to outdo each other with how much more underground they are than everyone around them by listening to the shittiest music imaginable" thing, but come the fuck on already. Seriously.

The first thing that impressed me with this album was the riff variation and multitude of rhythmic sequences. This wasn't a pair of Norwegian dorks furiously picking away at a single note for ten minutes. These were well thought out and rather complex musical arrangements. I was actually taken back by some of the doomier segments found on this album. For a black metal band, COF were pumping out some quality fucking doom here! At other times I was floored by the amount of Maiden-isms there were flying about during some of the snappier sections, particularly in regards to the bass. Then of course there are the vocals, which have always fell under the "love them or hate them" category. which I wouldn't go as far as to say that I love them, but I do feel that they fit the music just fine (though some of the screeching can get monotonous at times) as well as convincingly convey the story within the lyrics. I also like the fact that their is variation in the vocal department. It gives the sense that there is a "cast of characters", if you will, all playing their part within this theatre of the macabre.

Not every moment's a winner, mind you, as some of the synth embellishments could have been scaled back some for they tend to weaken the overall assault a bit, and again, the main "screeching" vocals employed by Mr. Filth can prove to be a bit overwhelming, to say the least. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with the actual pitch of the vocals during these moments and the rapid fire onslaught can be quite effective at times, but Mr. Filth has a habit of overdoing it and thus tossing a clever idea into the realm of redundancy.

Lyrically, DAHE showcases some of the best I've read. The compositions found on this album easily rank among the finest lyrical excursions such as those wrought by Sabbat (UK) and Emperor. Again, the use of multiple vocal techniques really brings out the storyline in each song and never fails to produce a smile on my face as I am a sucker for wordplay and the use of puns.

COF really threw down the gauntlet and stepped up to the plate with this album and, for the most part, haven't been able to recapture the fire since. Their have been modest attempts for sure, but nothing really noteworthy. Again, it's sad that many folks will miss out on this album as their heads are stuffed so deeply within their own rectums as a result of their search for underground cred and approval, "but", nevertheless, for those of you who care not for such idiosyncrasies, I implore you (if you have not done so already) to search out this album and give it a whirl.

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