Cradle Of Filth, Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay. Album Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

There are many instances in which the tongue can reel off all that the Victorian era offered on a disingenuous plate was to the detriment of humanity; not the great inventions and breakthroughs in science and medicine, but the way that all it displaced suddenly became superfluous and got seen as the waste, the feckless and the easily controlled.

However for all of this and perhaps arguably because of the underlying guilt that such damning treatment of the living would have caused in some quarters; what it brought instead was a disturbing interest in the macabre, in the dead and those who were thought of as monsters.

It is no secret that the worse you treat a section of society, the more it becomes a believed bogeyman to those in higher places. The late Victorian era was treated to such monsters in the form of Jack the Ripper for example, the cradle in which Whitechapel was shoved to one side by the so called gentry’s attitudes to the people who populated Flower and Dean Street and its runways and dark alleys.

Those dark times are still here, they never really went away, instead now society’s ills are confounded by the ability of keeping a section of society in its place with television and games consoles; it begs a question of just how the monsters in the future will be compared, how a band as hopefully creatively gritty and beautifully jolting as Cradle of Filth will address the sensual grotesque.

Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay takes on the gothic horror of that age and with the ease of pirouette of a ballet dancer, the grace of the released soul floating through the ether, the allusion to the fixation with the supernatural, the Victorian phase of macabre pleasure gained, and in songs such as Heartbreak and Séance , You Will Know the Lion by His Claw, Death and the Maiden and cracking bonus track on the vinyl version of Annihilator’s classic track Alison Hell, the sense of decay and disillusion is apt as it crosses both between the attitude of the Victorian era and our dismantling of progress and hope in the early part of the 21st Century.

An album of power, of punch and the gorgeous sense of looking back at an era in which those who wielded power and influence were caught in a trap of their own making; they created the monsters in their mind and then found they could not contain them, they had let something very dark out of the bottle.

Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay is a timely reminder that all is not good in the world we live, that there are monsters and the sense of death forever at our sides; it is up to us to not treat them as sideshow exhibits but as images to keep us grounded and in touch with all.

Ian D. Hall