Review Summary: Once again, Cradle of Filth has proven that they never write the same album twice, breaking creative ground with each output. Thornography is a powerful throwback to their love of rhythmic thrash metal while written in Cradle’s infamous brutal style.Thornography
isn’t an album that can be synopsized easily. The origins of the album, while unique in their own rights, are both painfully obvious yet overwhelmingly subtle. Cradle of Filth has managed to combine the brutality of Midian
and Damnation and a Day
with their prevailing trademark atmosphere and Nymphetamine
style melodies. However, while drawing obvious influence from their own work, Thornography
brings forward some completely new facets that will have devoted Cradle of Filth fans drooling over their CD players. The album throws forward some powerfully rhythmic riffs and dynamic musical technicality laced with unfamiliar methods of achieving extreme gothic metal with defined symphonic melody.
At its core, Thornography
is based around Cradle of Filth’s traditional sounds that maintain their own voice and expertise. The album commences on a familiar note with the intro track Under Pregnant Skies She Comes Alive Like Miss Leviathan
, easily one of their most epic and captivating since At the Gates of Midian
. It flows directly into Dirge Inferno
, a fast, aggressive song reminiscent of Gilded Cunt
intertwined with harsh Midian
-esque harmonies and recurring bass breaks. While feeling like a nostalgic trip from Cradle’s most brutal days, it’s evident that they weren’t playing games when Dani Filth foretold the album to be “really rhythmical - thrashy, almost”. Songs such as Libertina Grimm
are built almost entirely around brutal riff patterns. The same applies to Lovesick for Mina
, a deceptively tame title for such a hard-hitting battle hymn.
soon proves itself a Pandora’s box full of enigmatic distinctiveness and satisfaction. Complete with the perfect amount of slower, spacey, melodic ambient sections to alternate the unrelenting rhythmic brutality of the album, Thornography
is a record built for banging heads and discerning musicality. Lead guitar has taken the center stage, as Paul and Charles go beyond their usual array of melodic harmonies into the realm of abundant metal shredding. Frantic guitar outbursts beautifully complete the intense ensembles of such songs as Tonight in Flames
and I am the Thorn
. Taking their arrangement of technical specialties even further is Rise of the Pentagram
,a track that lumbers menacingly for seven minutes after a gloomy spoken introduction, loaded with epic riffs, serene orchestration, dark piano, and alluring guitar harmonies.
Other brand new elements made their way onto Thornography
without such unanimously positive anticipation. Only speculation could tell how Byronic Man
would measure up, featuring guest vocals from none other than Ville Valo of HIM. Similarly, The Foetus of a New Day Kicking
contains pleasing segments built on clean vocals by Dani Filth himself, the first time a Cradle of Filth song has ever included pure clean singing by the band’s own. Once again, Cradle of Filth have made themselves a force to reckon with and broke new ground in their own league by mastering both fronts. Valo’s performance in Byronic Man
was minimal yet noticeable and provided a wonderfully gothic touch to the end of such an eclectic song. The Foetus
also solidifies Dani to be an incredibly versatile metal vocalist, as his clean voice appears surprisingly smooth and pure throughout his shocking emergence.
It would be entirely plausible to say that Thornography
is an album that pleases both existing Cradle of Filth fans and those who were formerly skeptical of them. From tracks in the vein of Dirge Inferno
, with its no-nonsense heavy metal approach, to Under Huntress Moon
, containing memorable female singing and symphonic movements strongly resembling Dimmu Borgir, Thornography
is quite an assortment of styles that Cradle of Filth has mastered during the course of their extensive 15 year career. The only notable flaw in the album spawns from the song Temptation
, which features guest vocals by Harry, formerly of Dirty Harry. Luckily for Cradle, said song is a cover of classic English synth poppers Heaven 17, so some leniency can be granted. Especially considering that Thornography
is over a full hour of skull-crushing riffs, entrancing melodies, diverse vocal performances, and innovative musicianship. Forgetting any pre-conceived notions that metal fans may have of Cradle of Filth, the band has manages to successfully keep themselves exceptionally original, even after nine albums.
- Brutal metal with hammer-like rhythms and sweet technicality
- Beautifully melodic and atmospheric
- Experimental without transforming their definitive sound
- An impressive assortment of performances
- Libertina Grimm
- I am the Thorn
- Lovesick for Mina
- The Foetus of a New Day Kicking
Once again, it’s exceedingly difficult to select choice tracks for this album. It’s very long and virtually everything on it is good. Any song except ‘Temptation’ could’ve gone on that list, so listen and decide for yourself. Enjoy!