Review Summary: Simply one of the most underrated, under appreciated metal albums ever made.
Those of you that know me from my 11+ years on this site know that Cradle of Filth has long been my favorite band. They are the ones that got me into extreme metal, black metal in particular. When I first saw the live video for From the Cradle to Enslave, I was immediately hooked and the rest is history. Looking back to 14 year old me, even I couldn’t have imagined the love affair that would come to be with Mr. Dani Filth and his legion of dark lords. But here we are, 13 years later, and Thornography
was the album that started it all.
A lot of, if not most, people consider this album in the bottom tier of Cradle releases. Not being able to touch the magical vampiric atmospheres of their early works or being stale in comparison to their most recent revival albums. You could be right, but in my view it’s just as important as any of those albums. Cradle opted for a different approach on Thornogrpahy
and it honestly works to perfection. The riffs are hands down the main focus of this album and the sound is way more influenced by death metal, thrash and even traditional heavy metal than it ever was before. Tracks such as the filthy Dirge Inferno, the blackened death assault of Cemetery and Sundown and, my personal favorite, I am the Thorn grab you right by the balls and beat your brains into oblivion with harmonized and melodic riffs mixed with the blindingly fast percussion of then drummer Adrian Erlandsson of At the Gates fame.
That’s not to say that the album is totally devoid of atmosphere. The 7 minute long mesmerizing instrumental track Rise of the Pentagram and the gothic and romantic Under Huntress Moon reminds you that Cradle could still pay homage to their glorious early days when they want to. That became more evident in 2015 when Hammer of the Witches
was released but nobody saw that coming in 2006.
Dani’s vocals were (according to many) declining in the days leading up to this album, but for me, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure, his signature high pitched banshee shrieks weren’t as prevalent but who can expect a man to put his voice through that much turmoil for over 2 decades? Once again, it became evident that he could still pull it off with the most recent releases but nobody knew that in 2006. Instead he utilizes his underrated and demonic death growls throughout pretty much the whole duration of the album and he does it impeccably. One thing nobody expected was his use of “clean” vocals on tracks such as the epic Tonight in Flames and the thrashtastic The Foetus of a New Day Kicking. Some may scoff at the notion of Dani Filth utilizing clean vocals but they honestly work for the brief times that he uses them.
Many of you may write this review off and think I’m just a fanboy defending his favorite band to the death. Some of you may take what I say and decide to actually listen to the album and find out for yourself that it’s actually loads of fun filled with riffs and blasts galore. Some of you may just not care. But the fact is Thornography
is a damn good time and an ultra entertaining listen for fans of black metal, death metal or just plain old balls to the wall heavy metal.