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Friday, October 15, 2021

[Review] Cradle of Filth Bring Spectacular Thrill and Despair on ‘Existence Is Futile’

Within black metal, Cradle of Filth has always been an (ahem), black sheep of sorts. Yet in taking parts of the genre’s conventional sound, they’ve carved out an exciting path for their material. In providing a symphonic edge to their blackened speed, the band’s exploration of the occult and fantastical is nothing short of theatrically delightful. The sort of menace their music offers may not hit like that of an edgy black metal band, but it is without a doubt thrilling.

With their 13th album, Cradle of Filth’s Existence Is Futile reeks of their trademark evil. Here, the band venture into existentialism, touching upon a variety of subjects that speak to the darkness that consistently pokes and prods at humanity; how violence, war, and cruelty have evolved to a global gloom that looms over existence. It is a much broader exploration than compared to the more niche subjects the band has covered in the past, but the lyrics still capture and give off a haunting essence. That said, the greater quality to Existence is Futile is that of the instrumentation.

Each Cradle of Filth record plays out like a cinematic experience; album openers set the stage for terror and chills, each track building upon the suspense. Existence is Futile is no exception to this approach. Once the atmosphere has been established in “The Fate of the World on Our Shoulders”, the record goes off with “Existential Terror”. The bass and drums work together to give this thunderous, steady pounce, the guitars exuding a radiant tone. The duality of this beating down and airy atmosphere weave through each other during the song’s runtime, the overall aura coming together for an ominous, triumphant presence. This quality reaches a higher level of ferocity in “Crawling King Chaos”, the hook making for a savage rush of drums and heart-racing thrashing.

The band has perfected their form of theatrical heaviness over the course of their career, crafting experiences rich in gothic and supernatural horror. While they aren’t showing off anything new or experimenting all that much on Existence is Futile, the presentation is still top-notch in terms of production and performance. Though only a band of just a few people, Cradle of Filth gives off an orchestral-like presentation. Daniel Firth’s bass and Martin Škaroupka’s drumming work to create a booming backdrop as guitarists Richard Shaw and Marek Šmerda craft rhythms and melodies that exude a catchy menace. An additional layer to the heavy instrumentation comes in the form of Anabelle Iratni’s key playing, orchestral work, and use of lyre that – alongside that of Škaroupka’s orchestration – elevate the chilling tone of the music. To top all that off, the vocals of Dani Filth and Iratni provide a brilliant duality to songs – one demonic, the other haunting and lovely.

The album is paced effectively with a few interludes, but otherwise, Existence is Futile is a consistent wicked ride. “Black Smoke Curling From the Lips of War” continues the chaotic speed, the tempo slowing down at times to provide room for Iratni’s singing and to emphasize the sound of the keys. “How Many Tears to Nurture a Rose” comes across like a ramped-up 69 Eyes song; a playful sounding guitar rhythm flirting throughout the mix, offering a smooth and fun jaunt at times – the gothic flare at full blast. Concluding the album is “Us, Dark, Invincible,” which brilliantly captures the album’s theme – that in the face of existential doom, we must embrace it and celebrate life. Anthemic in its flow, the song makes for one of the more upbeat swings among the tracklist – but don’t assume it sounds cheery. Blast beats and vicious sounding riffs take over the composition as Filth screams, shrieks, and roars. The sound of keys spews forth over the hook, offering this thrilling sensation that provides a feeling of strength and invincibility.

While not offering much that is new to the band’s sound, Cradle of Filth still hit the mark on stunning presentation with Existence is Futile. The band’s chemistry is terrific, for they continue to display their mastery over theatrical atmosphere and thematic direction. This is an album that, for all its exploration of gloom and despair, makes for joy of grim delight. Love them or hate them, Cradle of Filth fucking rock.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/music/3680941/review-cradle-filth-bring-spectacular-thrill-despair-existence-futile/

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