Cradle Of Filth - The Manticore and Other Horrors (Peaceville)

For a band whose main point of notoriety was a T-Shirt slogan bearing the words “Jesus Is a Cunt” Suffolk Extreme metallers Cradle Of Filth have always been a (intentionally?) tongue in cheek prospect. As far removed from Norwegian church burners and the Neo-Nazism of their European peers as they could get, the band enjoyed a signing to Sony (2003’s Damnation and a Day), Kerrang front covers and Appearances on TV shows such as Nevermind the Buzzcocks. Their success combined with the bands camp, knowing sense of humour made Dani Filth and co more Count Duckula than Count Grishnackh, and a target of ridicule and even hate from the more intense devotees of the Black and Extreme metal genres.

Released Oct 30th, 2012 via Peaceville / By Lewie Peckham
Cradle Of Filth - The Manticore and Other Horrors (Peaceville) The bands newest opus (and second release on UK Metal label Peaceville), The Manticore and Other Horrors sees a move away from the symphonic metal of past albums and a new incorporation of NWOBHM and Napalm Death Grindcore into the COF sound. A concept album based on a bestiary, the collection of stories documenting the mythical monsters that made up parts of medieval folklore, the eleven tracks that appear on The Manticore... bring to life tales of vampirism, lycanthropy, and demons that have been a constant fixture in the bands lyrics throughout their career.

Musically it’s what you would expect from a Cradle of Filth album, chugging guitars and squalling leads, swirls of hammer horror keyboards and Martin Škaroupka’s precision drum patterns that sound like he is kicking seven shades out of a typewriter. Over this schlock-horror symphony frontman Dani Filth shrieks, growls and grunts, a grim(m) fairy-tale storyteller bringing COF’s nightmarish world to life. The stabs of piano that punctuate ‘For Your Vulgar Delectation’ add light to the bands musical shade, while the white knuckle scream of ‘Manticore’ brings to mind brummie leather-metallers Judas Priest, with Dani Filths banshee vocals piercing through Paul Allenders power-metal guitars.

There are times however that the album drifts into heavy metal bluster and can feel like an enduring listen to anyone who isn’t a devoted fan of the band. The repetitive palm-muted riffage of Allenders' guitars, although technically proficient, comes across, at various points, like a lack of ideas and a reliance on the Slayer-esque rhythms that seem to take up residence in too many songs. It makes for a inconsistent listen as every thrilling guitar swoop or pounding drum beat is unfortunately matched with some embarrassing trad-metal and ridiculous lyrics that will (and probably do) incite furious devil horns and migraine inducing headbanging at some European metal festival full of bands with names that are unreadable when turned into a spikey logo and adorned on black long-sleeved tops, but listening on headphones or in the comfort of your own home its Carry On Screaming rather than H.P Lovecraft’s Necronomicon that comes to mind.

If you are not a fan of the band or the genre this will probably just pass you by, but for curious listeners or for someone looking for a more accessible starting point to dive into the Extreme/thrash/black metal genre then The Manticore and Other Horrors will provide one of the better starting points.