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Cruelty And The Beast - Cradle Of Filth

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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal - Heavy Metal / Artist: Cradle Of Filth / Audio CD released 2006-07-03 at Music for Nations

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      05.02.2012 11:03
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      Cradle of Filth evolves into a better band with this offering.

      "Cruelty and the Beast" is the 3rd studio album by British black metal band, Cradle of Filth. It was released in 1998 and produced by the band with Jan Peter Genkel. The line-up for the album was Dani Filth (vocals), Stuart Anstis (guitar), Gian Pyres (guitar), Robin Eaglestone (bass), Nick Barker (drums), Les Smith (keyboards) and Sarah Jezebel Deva (vocals).

      A concept album bases on Countess Elizabeth Bathory, "Cruelty and the Beast" sees Cradle of Filth adopt a more symphonic sound compared to the band's previous albums, but what is evident is the lack of production; Sarah Jezebel Deva herself confirmed that it was poorly mixed. It begins in typical Cradle of Filth style with a haunting orchestral introduction before pounding into "Thirteen Autumns and a Widow", a relentless extreme metal song.

      One thing Cradle of Filth has always been able to produce is monstrous riffs. "Cruelty and the Beast" is no exception, packed full of heavy sounds that most extreme metal bands only dream of. There's the odd solo in there, too, which the band hasn't been noted for on many albums.

      Cradle of Filth is a band that likes to change things around on their albums; most noticeable with the orchestral songs on this album which begin with "Once Upon Atrocity" and make a return on "Desire in Violent Overture", then starting the song, "The Twisted Nails of Faith" and finally the whole of "Portrait of the Dead Countess".

      In summary, this band may not be to everyone's taste. In fact most people would say they're too extreme, but "Cruelty and the Beast" shows their diversity. It's a good album, and it comes along at the right time. Its successor, "Midian", released two years later is the perfect follow-up. If I had to choose between the two, then I'd have to go with the latter. But I own them both, and if you like this sort of heavy metal, you should, too.

      1. Once Upon Atrocity
      2. Thirteen Autumns and a Widow
      3. Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids
      4. Beneath the Howling Stars
      5. Venus in Fear
      6. Desire in Violent Overture
      7. The Twisted Nails of Faith
      8. Báthory Aria
      9. Portrait of the Dead Countess
      10. Lustmord and Wargasm (The Lick of Carnivorous Winds)

      My rating: 8/10

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        25.04.2004 20:42
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        The black metal genre is one of the least popular musical forms for the general public, but bands such as England?s Cradle of Filth have achieved revered cult status among a legion of loyal and spellbound fans. Black metal is characterised by heavy drums and guitars supplemented by keyboards and screeching vocals, creating something very different to the norm. The lyrics and subject matter are often of a demonic and sexual nature. Cradle of Filth are possibly the most widely known example of black metal and have become fairly successful among metal fans over the last few years, however their earlier material is by far the most interesting. 1998?s ?Cruelty and the Beast? is a concept album comprising ten excellent tracks, concerning the life story of the infamous Elizabeth Bathory; this insane European Countess became convinced that feasting off, and bathing in the blood of virgins would keep her eternally youthful, and this belief led her to slaughter a terrifying number of people from the nearby town. She was eventually discovered and executed, and her legacy as one of the first documented ?vampires? has inspired the film and music industry in a number of ways, including here. THE MUSIC Each track on this album feels like it has taken a great deal of planning and perfecting, and there is no sense of ?filler.? I always find concept albums interesting when there is a clear story to follow throughout, and both the lyrics and the music narrate this superbly. The first track, ?ONCE UPON ATROCITY,? is a keyboard instrumental that slowly builds up to a thunderous climax, and sets the tone for the album straight away. The gothic nature of the album can be seen from this early point, and the subtle, organ-esque rhythms draw the listener in before the music
        really begins. ?THIRTEEN AUTUMNS AND A WIDOW? is one of my favourite tracks on the album, and showcases everything that makes Cradle of Filth unique. Alternating between fast and slow, energetic and relaxed, this really gets interesting when the guitar sections kick in towards the end, with a keyboard-led outro. Anyone who thinks Cradle can?t play a good guitar piece should listen to this track foremost. ?CRUELTY BROUGHT THEE ORCHIDS? continues in a similar vein with a very recognisable guitar riff, a common trait to all this album?s songs, but is somewhat slower and more gothic in nature, utilising Sarah Jezebel Deva?s vocals in places. ?BENEATH THE HOWLING STARS? is one of the most atmospheric and involving tracks on the album and features some excellent bass playing and orchestral keyboards. ?VENUS IN FEAR,? the most controversial track on the album, is a three-minute interlude featuring subtle horror keyboards and occasional blood-curdling screams as Bathory defiles a female virgin. Disturbing and excruciating, this is not for the faint-hearted but does suit the style. ?DESIRE IN VIOLENT OVERTURE? is a very enjoyable track, if a little less atmospheric, but does feature some truly ?wailing? guitars. A fairly easy song on the ears before the album takes the listener in much deeper. ?THE TWISTED NAILS OF FAITH? begins with some interesting keyboards and a ticking
        , ominous clock sound before one of the hardest riffs on the album begins. Long and complex, this is one of the album?s finest tracks and has a great title. ?BATHORY ARIA? is not a track I am too fond of, although I know other people swear by it. Over ten minutes long, this slow, gothic number is divided into three sections and is one of Cradle?s very different offerings. ?PORTRAIT OF THE DEAD COUNTESS? follows and is a short but beautiful keyboard interlude that conveys a great deal of sadness and melancholy and causes the listener to feel a little sorry for the Countess, despite her actions. The album closes in style with ?LUSTMORD AND WARGASM (THE LICK OF CARNIVOROUS WINDS),? beginning with some great keyboards and offering one of the best and most energetic tracks on the album. THE BAND Cradle of Filth?s line-up has undergone many changes over their ten-year career, but the talented musicians present on this fourth album are all flawless. VOCALS - The most prominent member is the band?s diminutive frontman DANI FILTH, an Englishman with an unnatural capacity for unearthly screams and growls that take a while to get accustomed to, but fit the atmosphere perfectly. His crow-like howls are much more finely tuned and understandable than on the previous album and he is able to alternate to eerie whispers and beastly growls in a way that keeps it interesting. Sarah Jezebel Deva adds welcome female vocals in some songs, while the occasional voic
        e of the Countess herself is handled expertly by Hammer Horror veteran Ingrid Pitt. GUITARS ? The guitars are my favourite aspect of this album, (along with most others in my collection) and are executed equally by STUART and GIAN. The dark rhythms in every song sound excellent, while the solos and other interesting high sections never feel over-the-top or out of place. I love guitars. BASS ? ROBIN GRAVES, presumably not his real name, shines through as the ?nocturnal pulse? of all the tracks, but is most notable when given a section to himself such as in the fourth track. KEYBOARDS ? LECTER is superbly talented at playing the keyboards on this album, and is far superior in terms of his ability and decisions than any of the band?s other keyboard players earlier and later. The keyboard tracks are highlights of the album, and the constant support behind the more prominent instruments in the rest of the album really does make this album what it is. DRUMS ? The drums are less pounding on this album, which is due to its slightly poor production, but I don?t find this a problem; it sets this apart from the rest of the black metal genre and actually sounds better because of it. NICHOLAS would soon leave the band for Norway?s ?Dimmu Borgir,? but his incredibly fast playing is essential to this album DESIGN As with all of Cradle?s albums, a lot of time and effort has been put in to making the album ?perfect.? The colour scheme is based on sepia brown with striking blood red in places and, although the cover design alone would repel and possible insult a lot of people, it does give
        an honest indication of what the album entails. With the concept idea of Elizabeth Bathory, the cover depicts the naked Countess, albeit with her knees raised to cover gratuitous nudity, soaking in one of her blood baths. The surrounding floor is cracked and old, with several skulls as decoration. It is obvious that at first sighting this album cover could be seen as incredibly sexist or disturbing, if the observer misinterpreted it as a suicide scene or a cruel depiction of menstruation, however as it stands there is nothing inherently controversial about this cover; the colour scheme is very pleasing to the eyes, and the intriguing bathing woman is incentive to look further. Inside the album the level of potentially disturbing violence increases with pictures showing the Countess at work, ?harvesting? tied bodies, but this is all done very tastefully and not in a sexist fashion; in fact, the majority of Cradle of Filth fan tend to be female. There is an artistic photograph of the band as the album?s centrefold, standing and sitting in what I presume to be a room of Bathory?s castle, while each band member is given a ?lowdown? at points throughout the booklet. From Robin Graves to Lecter, each member is described with a brief tongue-in-cheek passage describing some of their less savoury pleasures. As with the album?s lyrics these deal with anti-Christian views and are often graphically sexual, but having seen the band ?out of make up? on videos I can confidently say that this is all in the spirit of fun. VERDICT ?Cruelty and the Beast? is an incredibly detailed, compelling and involving album, and one of the most atmospheric I have ever heard. The music and lyrics are dark, moving, exciting and erotic, and although this is certainly not a mainstream album I feel it would be enjoyed by many
        people if it were better known. I won?t underplay its obvious negative aspects as it could be incredibly offensive to religious people, but this is truly an example of music as an art form. Whatever you opinion on the band and the genre, the artistic nature of this album cannot be overlooked- the music is excellent and the lyrics are beautifully and disturbingly poetic. Take thou heed and be thou warned.

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          29.11.2001 04:59

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          10.10.2001 07:03
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            27.09.2001 08:58

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            This album was brought out on the Music for Nations Label in 1998, it is the chapter V in the series before Midian. This album in my opinion is not quite as good as Midian, but I think lots would disagree, I’m not saying it’s a bad album I think its still a great album. The tracks I feel just haven’t been made as complicated as Midian, still good though, just in a different way, this album is heavier. The tracks are as following: Once Upon Atrocity- This is the instrumental that starts the album off. Thirteen Autumns And A Widow- This song starts with the keyboards and the bursts from the guitar, this carries on through the song, the singing just goes over the top. Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids- This starts with a women’s voice then goes into the guitars and drums this song isn’t as complicated as some of the others but still good. Beneath The Howling Stars- This starts with keyboards then the guitars come in and the singing. This has to be my favourite song on the album; it’s a bit faster then the others on the album. Venus In Fear- This is another instrumental, sounds like an orchestra with screams over the top. Desire In Violent Overture- This song has no intro and goes strait to the guitar riff, then the drums and singing start; this song has a cool riff. The Twisted Nails Of Faith- This starts with a violin and some voices then the guitars come in and there is a quite long intro before the singing, this is also one of my favourites. Bathory Aria- This starts with choir voices and a piano, then the singing comes in with a small riff. This song feels like it has a bit more soul in it than the others as it is more complicated and has more riffs. This is also the longest song on the album. Portrait Of The Dead Countess- This is another instrumental. Lustmord And Wargasm (The Lick Of Carnivorous Winds)-
            This song starts with the sound of an orchestra then suddenly the guitars start then the singing. Over all this is a great album that has been made well with a lot of good playing and musical skill, one for the collection.

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            06.09.2001 05:09
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            This album was brought out on the Music for Nations Label in 1998, it is the chapter V in the series before Midian. This album in my opinion is not quite as good as Midian, but I think lots would disagree, I’m not saying it’s a bad album I think its still a great album. The tracks I feel just haven’t been made as complicated as Midian, still good though, just in a different way, this album is heavier. The tracks are as following: Once Upon Atrocity- This is the instrumental that starts the album off. Thirteen Autumns And A Widow- This song starts with the keyboards and the bursts from the guitar, this carries on through the song, the singing just goes over the top. Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids- This starts with a women’s voice then goes into the guitars and drums this song isn’t as complicated as some of the others but still good. Beneath The Howling Stars- This starts with keyboards then the guitars come in and the singing. This has to be my favourite song on the album; it’s a bit faster then the others on the album. Venus In Fear- This is another instrumental, sounds like an orchestra with screams over the top. Desire In Violent Overture- This song has no intro and goes strait to the guitar riff, then the drums and singing start; this song has a cool riff. The Twisted Nails Of Faith- This starts with a violin and some voices then the guitars come in and there is a quite long intro before the singing, this is also one of my favourites. Bathory Aria- This starts with choir voices and a piano, then the singing comes in with a small riff. This song feels like it has a bit more soul in it than the others as it is more complicated and has more riffs. This is also the longest song on the album. Portrait Of The Dead Countess- This is another instrumental. Lustmord And Wargasm (The Lick Of Carnivorous Winds)-
            This song starts with the sound of an orchestra then suddenly the guitars start then the singing. Over all this is a great album that has been made well with a lot of good playing and musical skill, one for the collection.

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              10.06.2001 17:43
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              This album is proof that gothic black metallers Cradle of Filth have only got better. This is their second best album, aside from the even newer Midian, which was released in 2000. The album contains spectacularly complicated riffs and solos, along with great keyboard tunes and the kind of lyrics that would make Shakespeare s**t himself. The album continues the story of Elizabeth Bathory, the Countess, and this is evident in all tracks (although track five, "Venus in Fear", sounds like some kind of freakish rape track. You must understand that cradle of Filth are not for th light hearted). Although they are not my favourite band (I think black metal sometimes gets a little too weird for its own good, such as with Dimmu Borgir), i think it is a damn good album. Tracks two and three are undoubtedly the best on the album, and all are very long (between six and seven minutes is the average length). However, as the album reaches the end the tracks do begin to get duller. If you decide to buy cradle of Filth, try and avoid the old albums unless you are a very dedicated fan. I suggest you start with this album, or the better "Midian." However, this album is very worth the money.

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              08.09.2000 06:04
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              This album sees the return of the most well known of the black metal goth orientated bands in the music industry. There are many black metal bands around today, but not many are known, even less so as well as Cradle Of Filth. This album shows a great deal of growth on the part of the band as a whole. Their sound is much more together on this album and they seem to have finally found their niche in regards to where they wish to go with their careers. Die hard fans though will definitely recognise their ‘Songs Of Praise jamming with the devil’ style and approve of the more grown up direction this album takes. However, it can also be said that newcomers to this style should definitely chose this album as a nice foot in the door as the grown up style I feel is a good way to get a feel of how this style of metal sounds. As for the album itself, right from the instrumental opening track ‘Once Upon An Atrocity’ you begin to get a feel for what you’re in for. As the monk-like moans and the gothic church begins you can feel the eerie atmosphere, which it creates and (in the right surroundings) can begin to feel yourself become drawn into the album. As the music builds up you can feel the anticipation welling up inside you and as soon as the second track erupts out of your stereo following straight on from the opener you can feel a release coming out of you that you didn’t realise was their. Dani’s (Filth, Cradle’s lead singer) vocal range is truly startling and breathtaking as he moves from Dog disturbing high pitched screeches to incredibly low pitch rumbles help to make this album an extremely varied and ever differing one. A lot of people consider this type of music just to be one guy screeching away whilst a bunch of other guys just thrash away at their instruments. And to that I say: SO WHAT! But seriously, if listened to in the correctly intended manor – with an open mind and t
              he willingness to explore both yourself and this genre – you can soon come to see that it is much more than this.

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            • Product Details

              Disc #1 Tracklisting
              1 Once Upon Atrocity
              2 Thirteen Autumns And A Widow
              3 Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids
              4 Beneath The Howling Stars
              5 Venus In Fear
              6 Desire In Violent Overture
              7 Twisted Nails Of Faith
              8 Bathory Aria
              9 Portrait Of The Dead Countess
              10 Lustmord And Wargasm (The Lick Of Carnivorous Winds)