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Once upon a time, I enjoyed Cradle of Filth. I certainly never worshipped them as some do, but I found them enjoyable. Particularly this album. I guess it's the fact that I picked it up as a 16 year old kid, at the peak of autumn, an excellent time of year for this type of music.
They had yet to become real superstars, and the whole vampire/bondage thing isn't as irritating as it is on later albums. Dusk and Her Embrace is not a black metal album, not by any means. I don't know what you'd call this, but it seems to me like a really extreme, and not quite as good, version of Mercyful Fate. It's certainly chock of full of melodies, which does much to recall Mercyful Fate and the best of vintage Iron Maiden, and there are many ripping sections that recall Slayer, At the Gates, and even Emperor. But goddamn, the parallel harmonies really make this album what it is.
The sound that the band manages to capture on this album is rich and full. Definitely, they spent a good amount of cash on a good studio and solid production. While that hurts their "underground" sensibilities and makes it a more accessible album, it makes every little nuance bubble to the surface. And really, the guitars are heavy, the drums are excellent, and even the keyboards don't ruin everything. As irritating as Dani's vocals can be, he puts them to good use on here.
The whole package works here. Even the bloody packaging works well to enhance the dense music and give a feeling of Victorian English perversion. I can't fault Cradle of Filth for this album at all; even now, it's a very enjoyable piece of metal.