Review Summary: "Thornography," is the seventh full-length release from the symphonic extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. It is a brutal, pounding, in your face display with thrashy riffs, melodic interludes, and beautiful vocals. Cradle of Filth have truly outdone thems
Cradle of Filth is a band that is fought over more than their music is appreciated. After forming in England in 1991 and creating such extreme metal classics such as The Principle of Evil Made Flesh and Dusk…And Her Embrace, Cradle of Filth seemed to change their sound completely with 2004’s Nymphetamine. Nymphetamine marked Cradle of Filth’s first major record label release and with it came a transmutation of sound. The band that once was a raw purist black metal band, had become a melodic symphonic band through songs such as “Nymphetamine (Overdose)” while still maintaining their heaviness on songs such as “Gilded Cunt.”
Two years later, in 2006 Cradle of Filth released a DVD and had begun working on their new album entitled Thornography. The title, obviously a play on the words “pornography” and “thorn,” refers to man’s obsession with sin and self, this is a common theme throughout the album especially on tracks such as "Libertina Grimm" with its naughty Catholic school girl subject matter. On this album there are numerous guest appearances, most notable are Ville Valo of HIM on the song "Byronic Man" and Harry form the band Dirty Harry on the cover of Heaven 17’s popular dance track "Temptation." Returning familiar faces include Sarah Jezebel Deva for backing vocals as well as Douglas Bradley for the purposes of narration.
Now on to the album itself…
"I'm not saying it's 'experimental', but we're definitely testing the limits of what we can do... A lot of the songs are really rhythmical – thrashy, almost - but they're all also really catchy."
No better words can describe Thornography. This is Cradle of Filth’s most interesting release to date, and yes it IS catchy. Thornography features Cradle of Filth at their most melodic. Dani’s vocals are no longer the high pitched wails of the Midian and Nymphetamine eras, but rather low growls that that pound the listener to dust. The album opens with the unnecessarily long titled "Under Pregnant Skies She Comes Alive Like Miss Leviathan. "This is one of my favorite symphonic Cradle of Filth album openers to date. Why you ask" I’m not going to lie its downright scary. You know that whatever s going to follow this opener is going to hit you in the balls so hard you’ll cry. And that is exactly what "Dirge Inferno" is. A hard hitting catchy guitar driven intro explodes into a thrashy riff. Combine this with Dani’s deep growls and hard hitting drums and you have one awesome heavy song and a great opener to Thornography.
Next we have "Tonight In Flames" a break from the kick in the balls that is Dirge Inferno. This song showcases Cradle of Filth’s more melodic side. It is slower than Dirge Inferno and features keyboards. Dani gives us a sort of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality on this song. First he is growling and then the chorus comes and we hear clean demonic vocals. The keyboard interlude is simply magnificent it is one of the keyboard gems of the album (Warning to Midian fans…This album has little keyboard use due to the departure of Martin Powell.) Another highlight that comes to mind is "Libertina Grimm," a catchy swing rhythm accompanies the song which makes it special. Towards the chorus, Dani’s vocals become very aggressive and the double bass kicks in. The overall rhythm of this song is truly amazing and something that Cradle of Filth has never done.
Other standout tracks such as "Cemetery and Sundown," the epic "Lovesick For Mina," which is a vampiric love story that only Cradle of Filth could tell so well, and "Under Huntress Moon," a track that features beautiful vocals form Sarah Jezebel Deva. Huntress is Dani’s favorite track on the entire album and includes many old school Cradle of Filth elements. "Also, I Am The Thorn" with its heaviness and odd electronic chorus make for an epic addition to this eclectic assortment of songs. There are two very unique aspects of this album that are worth noting. One is the first ever use of clean vocals by Cradle’s own Dani Filth. These vocals are contained on the song "The Foetus of A New Day Kicking," an in your face power metal riff driven song accompanied by a clean chorus that adds an extra depth of feeling to it's theme of overcoming stuggle. Also, there is "The Rise Of The Pentagram," the first instrumental by Cradle of Filth that is not strictly keyboards and symphonic movements. At some moments, this instrumental resembles the rhythms of great metal instrumentals such as Metallica’s “Orion,” with a Cradle of Filth touch of course. This proves that Cradle of Filth is continuing to evolve and push the limits of their own being to create one of their most melodic albums to date.
This is Cradle of Filth’s most melodic release since Damnation And A Day. If you are black metal purist, you will be disappointed….but what am I mentioning that for" You’re probably already disappointed with Cradle Of Filth. Midian fans will be disappointed again due to lack of keyboards; however the heavy and brutal track, "Dirge Inferno" may remind you of “Cthulu Dawn.” If you are ready to open yourself to some great atmospheric and melodic metal, I strongly suggest purchasing this record, it’s a choice you will not soon regret.
I Am The Thorn
Under Huntress Moon
The Foetus Of A New Day Kicking
(Really, ANY song on this album could go in th standout track section, I love them all)