the twelfth album of cradle of filth. pretty impressing number, especially when the numerous e.p's, compilations, dvd's and other odds and ends releases are not even taken into consideration. nevertheless i wasn't overly excited when the pre-orders went live. since "hammer of the witches" couldn't stand the test of time - great songs like "right wing of the garden tryptich" or "yours immortally" overshadowed a few weaker songs at first glance - my expectations weren't going through the roof.
when i finally ordered a copy, the album was even already released and i put it in the cart just because i had to make the order worthwhile with a second record. considering that the last real good cradle album was released almost ten years ago ("goodspeed on the devil's thunder") and that records without guitarist paul allender tend to suck - to be fair there are actually quite a few weak cradle releases that feature allender as well - chances for a return to form seemed faint. but these bad omens seemed to be all the band needed to prove me wrong.
oh boy, "cyrptoriana - the seductiveness of decay" is a rager all the way through. when i said that "hammer of the witches" could be good after a few spins (and came out to be "ok" in the end), all i needed was one run-through to recognise that this record was all i wanted from a cradle of filth piece. the song quantity was lowered, songs got lengthier and thus more complex and that seemed to be the trick. seven lengthy pieces of gothic horror - intense, fast, epic and heavy. check the single "heartbreak and seance".
lyrically there is no concept story line, just the theme of the victorian age of great britain to which the lyrics are loosely connected. still, these kind of short stories are a really interesting read and the perfect match for the fantastic music. the presentation is quite nice. standard gatefold with the obligatory band pic on the inside - just the second time in the over twenty five year long existence that cradle recorded two albums in a row with the same line-up - a fold-out insert with lyrics and further artwork and lovely black and white split vinyl out of 500 copies. nuclear blast. 2017.