Release Date: Oct 30, 2012
Record label: Nuclear Blast
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Black Metal, Speed/Thrash Metal, Goth Metal, Symphonic Black Metal
Cradle of Filth has always polarized opinions with its palatable brand of symphonic heavy metal. But such fiery polarization has faded dramatically since 2004’s Nymphetamine, as each overfed concept album that has followed has been greeted by a wave of disinterest—a clear consequence of the band losing that spark of youthful devilry and malice that made the Lovecraftian dread implicit in Cradle of Filth’s early work so interesting. That is why when it was announced that Cradle of Filth would be releasing its “Tenth Commandment in Metal”, forgiveness could be granted to those who dismiss The Manticore and Other Horrors as just another nail in an already well secured coffin.
Just in time for Halloween 2012, Cradle of Filth's The Manticore and Other Horrors arrives on store shelves. Their tenth studio album looks much of their catalog right in the face, offering what may amount to a midlife crisis in this band's career -- to the benefit of the listener. While it's true the increasingly bombastic orchestral and theatrical pretensions gained the band legions of fans, they also seemed to all but permanently alienate core ones -- this was especially true of the group's last two offerings, 2007's on Godspeed On the Devil's Thunder and 2010's Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa.
A day prior to Halloween is a fitting release date for Cradle of Filth, and the band's tenth album begins with appropriately creepy tension, like the soundtrack to a seasonal film. After a short prelude (matched by a tempestuous instrumental conclusion at the record's other end), things get dramatically livelier in a mix of "goth metal on speed," plus a little nasty groove, along with the Filth's familiar penchant for dark orchestration. The variety makes for a rottenly vibrant collage of sounds and aesthetics, from the bombastic to passages that are, for Cradle of Filth, unusually stripped down.
What a life, being in Cradle Of Filth. Twenty-odd years ago, you shocked authority figures in small English market towns by manufacturing a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan ‘Jesus Is A Cunt’. Nowadays you’re more likely to organise a children’s birthday party than a black mass, but hey, blasphemous extreme metal still pays the bills. ‘The Manticore…’ tones down COF’s waftier symphonic tendencies in favour of gnarly punk riffing.