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Cradle Of Filth - "The Manticore & Other Horrors" (CD)

Cradle Of Filth - "The Manticore & Other Horrors" CD cover image

"The Manticore & Other Horrors" track listing:

1. The Unveiling of O (2:07)
2. The Abhorrent (5:53)
3. For Your Vulgar Delectation (4:46)
4. Illicitus (5:24)
5. Manticore (5:53)
6. Frost on Her Pillow (4:12)
7. Huge Onyx Wings Behind Despair (4:23)
8. Pallid Reflection (5:34)
9. Siding with the Titans (5:17)
10. Succumb to This (4:43)
11. Sinfonia (3:23)

Reviewed by on October 24, 2012

"The less black metal-oriented guitar work and the removal of the overtly cheesy elements also gives the album a potentially wider appeal, but overall, this is just Cradle being Cradle, with a few of the window dressings changed."

Despite many a metal head’s online comments that Cradle of Filth died long ago (either in ’96 after “Dusk...and Her Embrace” or in '06 after “Thornography,” depending on who you ask), the not-so-little band that could keeps on pumping out the full-lengths with reliable regularity. At this point, it’s pretty clear who is and isn’t going to love this album, and anyone whose opinion was already cemented previously isn’t going to have it changed this time around. “The Manticore and Other Horrors” is quintessential Cradle: it’s atmospheric, it’s Gothic, it’s filled with high-pitched screams, and it’s a bit predictable.

There are definitely still symphonic elements all throughout the disc, and the ending track is entirely instrumental, but it seems like the band has worked a lot of the overbearing orchestral stuff out of its system. After the heavily-orchestral “Evermore Darkly” and “Midnight in the Labyrinth” releases, Cradle of Filth has now removed the more grandiose elements of the music and produced a more focused sound. In an interesting change, that focus is tuned more towards just “metal” this time around, instead of specifically Gothic or black metal, especially in the guitar riffing.

That focus aside, Cradle of Filth’s music is getting pretty predictable after 10 full-length albums. It’s to the point where a listener can probably guess ahead of time when a track will open with Dani Filth’s drawn-out and high-pitched scream, when a girl will start moaning in the background, when a female vocalist will tell a story segment, etc. The only real twist comes from “Huge Onyx Wings Behind Despair,” which doesn’t bother waiting for the inevitable remix EP to bring out the electronic/industrial sounds.

It’s a good bet that any Cradle of Filth fans who liked “Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa” or “Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder” will thoroughly dig the sound presented here. The less black metal-oriented guitar work and the removal of the overtly cheesy elements also gives the album a potentially wider appeal, but overall, this is just Cradle being Cradle, with a few of the window dressings changed.

Highs: The extremely over-the-top and cheesy elements are noticeably missing this time around.

Lows: Despite a few small changes, the album is quite predictable and nothing really new or game changing.

Bottom line: A less cheesy, more focused Cradle of Filth offers up another entry that will be loved by fans and hated by detractors in about the same way as all previous albums.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)