Cradle of Filth
The Manticore and Other Horrors



by Ben Kuettel USER (32 Reviews)
October 29th, 2012 | 12 replies

Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Manticore And Other Horrors is impressive and tightly focused, proving once again that Cradle of Filth are a master of their craft.

The Manticore And Other Horrors is a concept album revolving around monsters and creatures from various mythologies. This theme is much more flexible than their previous concepts, usually revolving around a historical figure with fantastical and horrific embellishments. The shocking imagery and lyrical content of earlier releases is replaced with a more subdued focus on lore and mythological themes. Cradle of Filth’s image has always been just as important as the music, showcased by lavish music videos and extremely complex, poetic lyrics. The Manticore sounds just as inspired as previous releases while having a much more streamlined sound.

For the third album in a row, skinsman Martin Skaroupka carries the weight of the music by filling each track with thunderous blast beats and furious fills. He was always the highlight of each album since he joined in 2007, and his drumming on Manticore is no exception. As always, the guitars tremolo pick Black/Death Metal guitar riffs throughout each song, sounding slightly more interesting on Manticore than past releases. They balance aggressive Metal riffs with soaring gothic melodies alongside the thundering blast beats and menacing keyboard licks.

While the previous album Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa abandoned their trend of atmospheric instrumental interludes, Manticore brings them back by placing only one track on either side of the record. “The Unveiling of O” and “Sinfonia” are not so much sinsiter intros as orchestral interludes, but adequately set the tone for Manticore nonetheless. The real songs length’s are reduced drastically compared to previous albums, mostly restraining around four or five minutes. The reduced complexity allows for an easier listen and each track maintains the complexity and atmospheric mood changes the band have become famous for.

Cradle of Filth's vocals have always been the focus of each album, and Manticore is no exception. On early releases Dani Filth shrieks like a banshee about vampiric erotica and over-the-top gothic horror imagery. Midway through their career, he mixed screaming with death growls while the music leaned more and more toward Gothic Death Metal. By 2006's Thornography, he was singing in a few of the songs. In The Manticore and Other Horrors there are even more instances of clean vocals, a welcome change after ten albums.

Lead single “Frost on Her Pillow” has more singing than growling or shrieking and featuring a more traditional Gothic Metal sound. Lush atmospheres and textured synths in the music make these slower songs the highlights. The title track is a moody, driving track that could have come straight from the mid-tempo Thornography (2006). “The Abhorrent” and “Siding With The Titans” are the fastest tracks the band has written in years, harking back to the sound from their late 90’s and early 2000’s EPs. “For Your Vulgar Delectation” and others have arpeggiated guitar riffs playing through suspended chords, giving the tracks an aura of mysticism.

Showcasing a modern sound thirteen releases into a band’s career is an amazing accomplishment, especially given the limitations of Cradle of Filth’s image and style of music they remain so faithful to. The abundance of female vocals and symphonic elements have been toned down and let the music and atmosphere breathe. Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder (2008) and Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa (2010) were great albums in their own right but felt overlong and meandering. The inclusion of new drummer Martin Skaroupka largely saved them from falling prey to their flaws. Manticore mostly corrects those mistakes and stands out due to a resurgence in inspiration and welcome changes to their formula.


Recent reviews by this author
Modest Mouse Strangers to OurselvesEnslaved In Times
Steven Wilson Hand. Cannot. Erase.The Agonist Eye of Providence
Periphery Juggernaut: OmegaNero di Marte Derivae
user ratings (129)
other reviews of this album
King Henry VIII (3)
A step in the right direction…....

DropdeadWHA (4)
From damnation to redemption....

dragoth (4.5)
A brilliant return to glory days for a band that was going downhill....

Comments:Add a Comment 
October 29th 2012


Might listen to this some time.

October 29th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

Comment deleted, I edited and rewrote most of review and changed ranking on 4/7/14

Digging: Modest Mouse - Strangers to Ourselves

October 30th 2012



Contributing Reviewer
October 31st 2012


Album Rating: 2.5


Digging: Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly

October 31st 2012


'their amazing comeback with Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder and Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa.'


October 31st 2012


u saaid u dont like cof

lying bitch

November 1st 2012


Album Rating: 5.0

I don't get this review, they didn't become more death metal influenced at all. Did you even hear their demos!?

November 1st 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

Comment deleted, I edited and rewrote most of review and changed ranking on 4/7/14

November 2nd 2012


I agree with the score, but I don't agree with the reasoning's for it.

As a listener for near 20 years now. I think this album would have been a great real comeback for them if it was not for the awful (and not in a good way) clean vocal's throughout, With a couple of exception's. Dani ruin's this album, frankly. Actually he has probably ruined all the albums since thornography for the same reasons

The clean vocal's are not well performed they are jarring and frankly annoying, as is his now comical trademark scream which is as predicable as ever in it's placement but no longer sound's in the slightest bit menacing but more akin to a tea-kettle boiling over.

This album actually managed to coax a sigh out of me. It had potential to be really good, the drumming is great and it has a more midian type feel and some cool riff's in places (although simplified.) If cradle of filth ever want to gain the respect of their heyday again. I would tell Dani this....

You have become a parody of yourself. It's obvious you are still capable to deliver a powerful vocal performance and there are some very nasty and menacing sounding vocal passages in Manticore But you cannot create the vocal gymnastics you once were able to.

So, the answer? Strip it down. Drop the Thomas the tank engine whistle's completely and their predictable placement's. You can't do that anymore and make it sound remotely good. Drop the awful mid range "clean" singing. It sounded bad in thorn and it still does now. You sound like the court fool.

Instead keep it simple. Drop down into the more demonic low ranges you can obviously do well and that violent cutting midrange. You know, the good one. Not that watered down near clean weak sound you have displayed in the last few album's. Some of the higher pitched passages are ok sometimes but as long as they sound powerful and not the timbre of that whistle. You are still a good vocalist and will have an identity without the silliness.

The above would also go along way to making them sound a lot better live, which currently is just painful.

So yes I think 2.5 is fair I would has given it about a 3.5 to 4 if it wasn't for the above.

Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2012


Album Rating: 2.5

his now comical trademark scream ... is as predicable as ever in it's placement but no longer sound's in the slightest bit menacing but more akin to a tea-kettle boiling over

This managed to get a chuckle out of me, well done.

November 4th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

Comment deleted, I edited and rewrote most of review and changed ranking on 4/7/14

April 7th 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

Comments deleted and review edited and rewritten 4/7/14

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2014
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy