A few short weeks ago British black metal legends, Cradle of Filth released Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay. That album is fantastic and you can read our review of it here. Listening to that piece of excellence had me thinking back to all the other albums the band has released and my favourite songs on them. That lead to this – my personal Top Ten Cradle of Filth tracks from their entire, and ample, discography.
For fans of this band, you will know that there are loads of songs that could have made the cut. Cutting all their songs down to just ten is no easy task. What these are though are my favourites. The songs that had the biggest impact on me at the time of their release or over the years that followed. These are my Top Ten Cradle of Filth tracks.
10 – Lilith Immaculate – Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa
While 2010’s Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa is far from my favourite Cradle of Filth album, it did have a couple crackers on it. Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned) is one and another is this track, Lilith Immaculate. It is a fast and heavy track with a quick rumbling beat and heavy riff coupled with some of Dani’s finest vocal growls and screams to date. It also has a great female vocals section and an infectiously good mix of Dani’s menacing vocals with those haunting clean vocals from Lucy Atkins.
9 – From the Cradle to Enslave – From the Cradle to Enslave
A controversial one perhaps. Despite it’s graphic video and dark theme, it is one of the songs that heralded a cleaner, more mastered sound for the band though I never really felt that. I absolutely adore this track and still enjoy listening to it today, despite it coming out 18 years ago (1999). I love the infectious groove the main riff has and think Dani’s vocals sound great. The little orchestral choirs singing “this is the end of everything” as Dani screeches over the top are perfect and the drumming in this song is ferociously heavy. From the Cradle to Enslave had a huge impact on younger me. I had it on VHS. It was designed like a coffin, and must have watched it 1000 times.
8 – Wester Vespertine – Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay
Having only been released a few weeks earlier, it might seem strange to have a track in my top ten already but I think Wester Vespertine is brilliant. Fast and heavy with huge guitars and lashings of eerie atmosphere make it really stand out as one of their best ever compositions. The thundering hooves style riff near the end is one of my favourite Cradle of Filth musical moments ever. It instantly stood out on an album packed full of brilliance and I know this song is going to b e played a lot over the next decade or so.
7 – Deflowering the Maidenhead, Displeasuring the Goddess – Hammer of the Witches
I like a lot of the songs on 2015’s Hammer of the Witches. So much so that it got a perfect score in it’s review and was my album of the year. I genuinely could have listed any song from this album in this Top Ten and it would have been fair but it is Deflowering the Maidenhead, Displeasuring the Goddess that I tend to go back to the most. Another fast and heavy track, it really showcases the importance of the duel guitars but it is the final third of the song that blows me away. The rhythm switches up to a consistent groove and Dani’s vocals tone down a bit to allow the riff to carry you. As that section ends, it builds back up into an excellent solo. Perfect.
6 – Her Ghost in the Fog – Midian
Her Ghost in the Fog was the first single released from 2000’s Midian and I remember liking it but not loving it straight away. Over the years, my opinion on that has completely reversed. Her Ghost in the Fog, after more careful listening, is one of the darkest Cradle of Filth tracks ever. Massively deep, rumbling bass lines form the foundation of the track. There are loads of choir vocals, a slower meatier rhythm than you may be used to from Cradle and powerful sounding guitars. Dani seems more menacing than ever as the verses build in tension and atmosphere before a brilliantly catchy chorus with female vocals mixed in with Dani’s jump in. Chunky riffs and thumping drum rhythms just make the whole track feel really deep and dark and sombre.
5 – The Black Goddess Rises – The Principle of Evil Made Flesh
The Black Goddess Rises is probably the song I would have to credit for making me into a Cradle of Filth fan. I played this song almost endlessly after first hearing it. Other songs on the album got their turn too but it was always The Black Goddess Rises that I returned to, and still do.
A slower and creepy intro starts us off with demonic lyrics. “Thee I invoke bornless one”. A heavy verse follows but it is the genius of what comes next that hooked me so much. The slow, almost singing verse, from Dani that builds with layer upon layer of orchestration that builds until a gentle chorus of female vocals. That ends in a cacophony of chaos before the mix of Dani and female vocals join together to bring the song near it’s end. Even then there is still time for one last pounding riff and drum beat. Brilliant black metal.
4 – Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids – Cruelty and the Beast
That scream right? It is around 20 seconds long and heralds an explosion of instruments, after the creepy female spoken intro “Hear me now” from Ingrid Pitt. Once the song kicks in though it is a treasure trove of intricate, weaving riffs and perfectly timed drum rhythms. Dani’s vocals are especially strong and demonic with some of his deepest growls and highest screeches to date. The song moves through multiple phases, each timed differently and occasionally brings back some more spoken female vocals. Tons of rhythm, tons of atmosphere and as heavy a track as you are likely to find in their whole discography, Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids is an awesome tune.
3 – Dusk and her Embrace – Dusk… and Her Embrace
Dusk… and her Embrace never really hooked me in as much as The Principle of Evil Made Flesh did. That isn’t to say I didn’t like it. I did. Just not as much. It had some phenomenal tracks though in songs like Funeral in Carpathia and Heaven Torn Asunder and, the entry in this top ten, the title track. Dusk and Her Embrace. An amazingly eerie song that is chock full of gothic atmospherics. The female vocals are seductive yet menacing and the perfect foil for Dani’s enraged screams while the riff during the heavier verses is one of my favourite of all time.
2 – Lustmord and Wargasm (The Lick of Carnivorous Winds) – Cruelty and the Beast
How this song doesn’t get rated higher in other people’s opinions is beyond me. I personally think it is the best song on the insanely good Cruelty and the Beast album. Best by a long shot, too. The orchestral intro that builds atmosphere. The sudden chaotic explosion into life. The speed of the vocal delivery and the thunderous roar of guitars. Everything just knits together perfectly. This song has been played by me so many times. I was listening to it again this morning, actually, and it has aged brilliantly and still has the same powerful impact on me that it had way back in 1998.
1 – Tearing the Veil from Grace – Midian
So here it is. My number one. The song that I genuinely believe to be the best written, best composed and most powerful song Cradle of Filth have ever written. Having been released way back in 2000, you would think some of the excellent songs released since would have overtaken it but no. For me Tearing the Veil From Grace encapsulates everything I love about Cradle. An orchestral start, choir vocals, mixes between Dani and female vocals, crunching riffs, pounding drums and emphatic solos. It is a perfect, dark, gothic masterpiece.
So there you have it. My personal Top Ten Cradle of Filth songs. It wasn’t easy to write. There were a fair few tracks I came very close to including such Absinthe With Faust, Nymphetamine, Bathory Aria and The Forest Whispers My Name. They all came close but I am happy with what I have settled on.
So how about you? What would your favourite Cradle of Filth track be?
Remember you can pick up Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay on all the usual streaming sites like Spotify and Apple Music. You can also buy it from Nuclear Blast here or pick it up from the links below. Check out Cradle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information on them and their insanely good music.