The 20th anniversary re-release of Cradle Of Filth’s originals

Connie Marchal

Connie Marchal

British deviants, Cradle Of Filth announced their 20th Anniversary reissue of ‘Dusk And Her Embrace’ which will feature the original 1995 tapes for the first time. Since their announcement, it has a top rock story. ‘Dusk And Her Embrace… The Original Sin’ will be released on July 8th, 2016 to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The reissue will feature the acts previously original and inaudible recordings from 1995. They were never used due to a legal battle with Cradle Of Filth’s record label at the time, Cacophonous Records, which is present, one of the most prominent and esteemed British record labels in underground metal history, Cacophonous Records had a huge impact on the nascent black metal scene in the ’90s.

For those needing a reminder, ‘Dusk… and Her Embrace’, the second official Cradle Of Filth album, was significant from moving the act out of its death and thrashing metal roots, and squarely into symphonic – and gothic metal territory. Where the previous outing at least attempted to infuse its metal with a hammer horror atmosphere, ‘Dusk… and Her Embrace,’ befitting of the Victorian-vampiric concept that its center, romantic above all else. Despite the album’s convincing visuals and superficialities ‘Dusk…and Her Embrace’ has no lineage with or connection to black metal. First and foremost it is an extreme metal album, one with links mostly in death thrashing and traditional metal styles.

‘Dusk… and Her Embrace’ is a loose concept album about vampirism. The lyrics were inspired by the literature of Sheridan Le Fanu, in particular, the ‘Carmilla’ novel (which served as an inspiration to everybody from Jess Franco Manera to Ann Rice). The subtitle ‘Litanies of Damnation, Death and the Darkly Erotic’ concisely summarises the lyrical content of the album. The lyrics retain part of the anti-Christian sentiment but the focus squarely lies on the erotica, vampirism and romance from this point forward. It was the recording debut of second guitarist John Piras (Gian Pyres) and the one but the last record to feature vocal contributions from early backing singer Danielle Cneajna Cottington. ‘Dusk… and Her Embrace’ was the last Cradle Of Filth album before Davey’s overt usage of British humour and self-aware puns, linguistic and otherwise.

One of the greatest improvements that Cradle of Filth experienced was the sheer flow of the material. ‘Dusk… and Her Embrace’ breaks free from the conventional playing that characterised ‘The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh.’ Here the super bass licks, played by Robin Eaglestone, follow the keyboards instead of doubling the guitars. Stuart Anstis, who debuted on the ‘V Empire’ EP, infuses the band with a healthy amount of traditional metal riffing. Last but certainly not least had drummer Nick Barker come into his own, and ‘Dusk… and Her Embrace’ is his finest moment with Cradle of Filth. Frontman Dani Davey wrote some of his most verbose lyrics while integrating a wide array of vocal styles, including his standard shrieks, grunts, whispers and narration.

Cradle of Filth - 'Dusk And Her Embrace... The Original Sin'
Cradle of Filth – ‘Dusk And Her Embrace… The Original Sin’
  1. Macabre, This Banquet
  2. Nocturnal Supremacy
  3. Heaven Torn Asunder
  4. Dusk And Her Embrace
  5. A Gothic Romance
  6. The Graveyard By Moonlight
  7. Funeral In Carpathia
  8. Beauty Slept In Sodom
  9. The Haunted Shores Of Avalon
  10. Carmilla’s Masque
  11. A Gothic Romance (Bonus-Demotrack)
  12. Nocturnal Supremacy (Bonus-Demotrack)

‘Humana Inspired to Nightmare’ and ‘Malice Through the Looking Glass’ were written entirely by the new musicians. ‘Beauty Slept In Sodom’ was originally called ‘Beauty Sleeps In Sodom.’ ‘Funeral in Carpathia’ and ‘Haunted Shores’ are the only truly fast tracks of the album. ‘Heaven Torn Asunder’ is the most straight-up anti-religious whereas ‘Beauty Slept In Sodom’ is the Christian creation parable of Genesis set to the prose of vampirism and erotica. ‘Haunted Shores’ is about the Arthurian legend, and functions as a tribute to their home country England. It includes guest narration by British legend Conrad Lant from United Kingdom proto-black metal institution Venom.

In an odd turn of events, history seemed to repeat itself. As before external factors put the record in jeopardy, and Davey had to overcome legal and personnel hurdles to regain control over the authenticity of his product. The album had a troubled two-year production history with the developmental work being laid down by previous guitarist duo Paul Allender and Ryan. The original version of ‘Dusk… and Her Embrace’ was recorded in 1995 with most of the ‘Principle Of Evil Made Flesh’ line-up. Ongoing legal proceedings with Cacophonous Records subsequently schemed the band in two opposing camps leaving the record in legal limbo. Paul and Benjamin Ryan along with Paul Allender meanwhile formed The Blood Divine.

It goes without saying that the originally intended incarnation of the album is radically different from what it would eventually become in its existing form. The current version of the album is far stronger, mostly due to a complete lack of filler material, than how the album was originally intended. Whether the original recordings of ‘Dusk And Her Embrace… The Original Sin’ will overrun the 100,000 copies sold in Europe alone, and was extensively bootlegged on the East-European market with various labels releasing cassette versions of the album. The Polish 1997 print by Metal Mind Productions even includes the Japanese bonus tracks. It goes without saying that it is rightly a classic piece of European extreme metal, regardless of its troubled conception.

Besides the reissue of ‘Dusk And Her Embrace… The Original Sin’, Cradle Of Filth have released a video for their song ‘Blackest Magick In Practice.’ The song is taken from Cradle of Filth’s latest album ‘Hammer of the Witches’ and the promo is directed by Sam Scott-Hunter, known for his work with Deathstars, Dimmu Borgir, Mindless Self Indulgence, The Sisters Of Mercy, The 69 Eyes, amongst others.

‘Dusk And Her Embrace… The Original Sin’ will be released on CD and digital formats. A vinyl LP will be made available later in the year, with a full tracklist to be issued in due course.

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