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cradleoffilth existenceisfutile
Artist: Cradle of Filth
Title: Existence Is Futile
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date: 22nd October 2021
Label: Nuclear Blast

Album Review

CRADLE OF FILTH faced a global pandemic situation when it was time to record their thirteenth album ‘Existence Is Futile’, but those who followed the band for a while know, that the band doesn’t need any horror scenarios from the outside world. Their inner band world is cruel enough to create the most stunning and horror-dripping songs without any input from the outside. The album comes with 12 regular and 2 bonus tracks and is a real long-player with 70 minutes in total. that have all been written before the virus brought the world to a full stop but were recorded during the lockdowns in 2020, some of them seeing a makeover, since mastermind Dani Filth and producer Scott Atkins found some time to give them more intensity.

The album opens with a short instrumental track with the focus on orchestral instruments, that are joined by a chorus and that builds up more and more tension, like in a classic thriller movie. A short break later ‘Existential Terror’ literally blasts into your ears. This is a new approach to their own music for this band, the ornamental parts being packed into the intro track and being clearly separated from the main Metal song and it suits the music. It reminds me of their live performances, that are usually more Metal prone than the studio recordings. Excellence guitarwork frames the intense vocals by Dani Filth, the drums blast in a merciless speed, but they do not dominate the song, so someone really had a good hand while doing the mix. A perfect opener, that makes the listener curious, if the new approach will be audible on the whole album. The breaks between the songs are rather short and so ‘Necromantic Fantasies’, that is less loud but still very intense, continues the story about…

Here, more keyboard elements and some chorus background give the songs a nice Goth touch, but it’s still not as overloaded as previous releases. There is more space for guitar solo parts and arrangements around the main riff and Dani shows many aspects of his voice, with shouts, growls and whispering. ‘Crawling King Chaos’ follows suit and coming to speed and intensity, it’s far from crawling. The song starts like track No. 1 with a movie soundtrack orchestral attitude, that give it a dramatic touch, but suddenly the old core CRADLE OF FILTH live attitude hits the stage. Extreme blast beats by drummer Marthus, pushing the songs forward, joined by highspeed guitar riffing will see a live crowd opening a mosh pit a t lightspeed for sure. Dani's vocals perfectly merge with the riffing, the vocals are very up-tempo and are delivered spoken word style, and often end in shouts, while the chorus is partly joined by Dani and then contradicted by his voice once more. The song also comes with a nice short break, that is dominated by orchestral instrumentation, before the drums blast the band back towards the finale, a good choice for it has everything Cradle of Filth stands for

The next song ‘Here Comes A Candle (Infernal Lullaby)’ is an instrumental part, that lets you catch some breath. It starts with wonderful keyboard elements, that are joined by orchestral instruments and a chorus as the song proceeds. But this is only the intro for ‘Black Smoke Curling From The Lips Of War’ a song that once more beats the shit out of your stereo system. The song has a strong focus on guitar work and these are perfectly underlayed with drum patterns, that reflect the intensity of the riffing. Dani’s shouts and spoken word vocals are in a kind of dialogue with a female voice this time, and if this should be Anabelle, I must say, that Lindsay’s vocals suited the songs a lot better, as they were more pointed and came with a better range and intensity.

Time to stop headbanging and moshing. ‘Discourse Between A Man And His Soul’ is rather slow for the bands standard and there are lots of keyboards. The longing, nearly ballade style guitar parts are just wonderful, and I wish they would not be overlayed by Dani’s spoken word vocals and shouts. But unfortunately, his vocals only offer a break during some keyboard bridge parts. The song is one of these where you can find more orchestral and chorus elements, which would not have been necessary as the guitarwork is so brilliant. It’s sad that the trademark instruments and elements were forced into this song, for it could have really become a welcome high-quality surprise, that would have offered the shredders to perform a song that shows their excellent skills on an album, for CRADLE OF FILTH can do without keyboards or orchestral instruments live on stage, but never without guitars, bass or drums.

Spoken words of Anabelle open the next song, that comes with the old trademark CRADLE OF FILTH style. Fast drums are overlayed with a rather slow heavy and dark melody. ‘The Dying Of Embers’ takes us into the occult world and Dani tells the story making use of his whole range of vocal abilities. Keyboards and guitars are circling around the same sound themes until toward of the end the guitars come with great melodies and intensity that are underline by the base drums and suddenly sound like IRON MAIDEN a bit until Anabelle’s spoken words mark the end of the song. A fantastic song, but to be honest, Anabelle’s voice doesn’t come with the dramatic intensity, the song requires.

‘Ashen Mortality’ once more is an instrumental track, but this is a lot more dramatic than the previous ones and the intensity of the instruments and the strings indicate, that something really bad is gonna happen. Intense guitars and drums directly open ‘How Many Tears To Nurture A Rose?’ and or a COF song it’s rather melodic, with wonderful guitarwork that circles a fine hook line and creates a wonderful atmosphere. Definitely one of the best songs on this album. An acoustic, with some keyboard backing mark the intro of ‘Suffer Our Dominion’ and those who loved the album ‘Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder’ will immediately recognize the voice of Doug “Pinhead” Bradley who delivers a spoken word passage, that is underlined by Thrash style riffing, that will dominate the whole song. A new fresh approach for something that is also new to the band: a song with a clear political message. Dani Filth states: “As a band we usually shy from branching into politics, but it’s something that needed spouting. The fact we’re fucking our ecology up and desperately need to address the situation pronto…”

A perfect live song is ‘Us, Dark, Invincible’. Bold arrangements, hard and pushing riffing, blasting drums and Dani’s vocals at lightspeed with a hate and intensity that make you think, that you really don’t want him as an enemy. The chorus is one made for the masses to perform with the band, while the stomping mainline rhythm addresses headbangers and those who love to have their fists up in the air. I couldn’t believe that I had already reached the bonus tracks, when I locked at the tracklist, for the music I had been listening to, was so fantastic and versatile, that time flew by. ‘Sisters Of The Mist’ closes the ‘Her Ghost In The Fog’ trilogy, that started back in the 2000’s on Midian and for this special song, the band teamed up with Doug “Pinhead” Bradley, a member of the cast of the ‘Hellraiser’ series, again.

‘Unleash The Hellion’ comes with blast beats and lots of keyboard elements that give it a very dramatic attitude. Dani’s vocals once more vary between shouting, speaking and screaming, while the guitars come with really highspeed riffing. The song is nothing specials, but not bad either. “The album is about existentialism, existential dread and fear of the unknown. The concept wasn’t created by the pandemic. We’d written it all before that began, but the pandemic is the tip of the cotton-bud as far as the way the world’s going, you know?” Dani explains, and the band really hit the nail on the head, lyric wise and sound wise.

Compared to the previous album, the songs structures are clearer, so is the sound. The music blasts directly into your brain. Of course, there are some amazing chorus and orchestral parts, but the whole album sounds less epic and ornate and more like the band live on stage, so there is a little bit for every Metalhead on this album. Once more CRADLE OF FILTH proved, that they are the masters of merging Symphonic, Dark and Black Metal elements to their own trademark sound. The styles reach from brutal, hard songs like the opener, over those with a more ballade style attitude and even one with a political message (something the band usually tries to avoid), but to be honest, there are no real surprises.

Since the band attracts fans from all kinds of genres, some will love it and some will hate it. In my books, the clear and more livable sound of the songs is a way, the band should keep in mind whenever they will go back to the studio to record the next album.


01. The Fate Of The World On Our Shoulders
02. Existential Terror
03. Necromantic Fantasies
04. Crawling King Chaos
05. Here Comes A Candle… (Infernal Lullaby)
06. Black Smoke Curling From The Lips Of War
07. Discourse Between A Man And His Soul
08. The Dying Of The Embers
09. Ashen Mortality
10. How Many Tears To Nurture A Rose?
11. Suffer Our Dominion
12. Us, Dark, Invincible
13. Sisters Of The Mist (Bonustrack)
14. Unleash The Hellion (Bonustrack)


Dani Filth – vocals
Richard Shaw – guitar
Ashok – guitar
Daniel Firth - bass
Martin “Marthus” Skaroupka – drums
Anabelle – keyboards, lyre, orchestration & female vocals

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Cover Picture

cradleoffilth existenceisfutile


Music: 8.5
Sound: 8.5
Total: 8.5 / 10

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