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Cradle of filth for dummies - 25%

EvinJelin, February 15th, 2014

In Cradle of filth's discography, there are things I love, nice things, things I've been disappointed with and... this. "Thornography", the one COF album I couldn't finish the first time I heard it because of how it failed to keep me interested.

Because Cradle definitely have one flaw: when they don't make something great, they make something really boring, unoriginal and which borrows so much from their better albums that it borders into self-parody. And they never parodied themselves as much as in "Thornography". Every cliché possible about COF, or about gothic metal, they are all there. Reference to a goddess (here called Diane and not The black goddess, just to sound not to evil) ? Check. Weird-sounding growly/screamy vocals? Check. Female vocals here and there? Check. Lyrics all about sex and Dani's obsession for a mysterious woman ? Check. We get it, Dani, you love Toni King, you just have to give her other exotic names because Toni doesn't sound original and evil enough. The incessant drumming, too fast to be played by human hands, the little anti-religious/satanist thingy, and the obligatory cover? They're here too.

But of course, the COF clichés have been reduced to the extreme and the music is also radically simplified. Most tracks are short and have an obvious verse/chorus structure. While somewhat energetic on "Tonight in flames", "Cemetery and sundown" and even "Lovesick for Mina", the riffs are ten times less heavy than on previous albums, and not very interesting. "Cemetery and sundown" has a nice gothic rock-ish intro, something quite new for Cradle of filth, but that's all that really stands out. Vocals are still harsh, but they don't have the madness they used to have. "Under huntress moon" is in a more heavy old school COF style, but it's nothing original for them. All is a re-use of everything they've done before, nothing exceptional at all!

But the lyrics are where this simplification hits the hardest. They're just phrases put together, and there is no particular writing effort like there used to be. For a band like Cradle of filth, that's disappointing. As for the themes... Oh, dear. They are trying to show off cultural references as usual, but this time it's limited to what some dumb high school students think they know about gothic literature. There's Mina like in "Dracula", and Faust, well, I prefer girls so, he he, I invented his female from, Faustina, and then I call myself a Byronic man. There is even some Libertina Grimm out there, I don't know who the hell she is but that sounds good! To go with these random themes, some lyrics are pretty stupid. Read those for "The byronic man" and "I am the thorn" in particular. Really. You get what I meant by self-parody and Cradle of filth for dummies? It's not funny anymore.

All of this flanderization, as TV.Tropes would call it, already gives us a mediocre album. But here is our little bonus, the obligatory cover I mentioned earlier, namely: "Temptation", originally by Heaven 17. Oh lord. Maybe it's the absurdity of the concept of Cradle covering a song like that. Maybe it's the pseudo-heavy female vocals, by some "Dirty Harry". Maybe it's the music video where everyone is naked. But there is something incredibly ridiculous about Cradle's version. Actually, it's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard. One of these songs I hate so much I listen to it all the time just to make fun of it and destroy my brain cells. You have to make something really, really bad, to accomplish this.

Unfunny and dumb self-parody, uninteresting vocals, stupid lyrics and a really, really awful cover. What's not to... dislike on this? If you like COF or are just looking for good music, avoid this. This is the only COF record I really hate. I gave it points for "Cemetary and sundown" and "Tonight in flames". "Temptation" got a few points for being so bad it's funny, but it's so bad that I could rate this 30%. It deserves my ultimate award of "What the hell where they thinking ?"