ALBUM REVIEW: Cradle Of Filth – Existence Is Futile

The world is in disarray. Leaders are untrustworthy, people are divided over almost every issue and every day brings new adversity and disappointment. At a time when distrust outweighs optimism there is surely no better opportunity for music to provide a much-needed escape from all the despondency and pessimism. So what do you do if you happen to be UK symphonic Goth metal act Cradle of Filth? That’s right. You release an album called Existence is Futile (Nuclear Blast Records). That’ll cheer everyone right up.

Yes, in keeping with their perverse sense of humour, Cradle of Filth’s thirteenth full length studio release is a perfectly timed, hour long exploration of existential dread and fear of the unknown. And with some typically sharp lyrics and a title mimicking infamous occultist Aleister Crowley, one which is every bit as nihilistic, bitter and sarcastic as you would imagine.

After the cinematic drama of ‘The Fate Of The World On Our Shoulders’, the album explodes into life with the frenzied chaos of the appropriately titled ‘Existential Terror’. Two of several standout tracks, ‘Necromantic Fantasies’ and ‘Crawling King Chaos’ deliver some devilishly wicked riffs before the nebulous keys of ‘Here Comes A Candle… (Infernal Lullaby)’ give way to ‘Black Smoke Curling From The Lips Of War’, a labyrinthine spiral of scything riffs and bludgeoning rhythms. ‘Discourse Between A Man And His Soul’ slows things down to a slow, Gothic crawl before ‘The Dying Of The Embers’ surges with venomous bursts of speed.

‘How Many Tears To Nurture A Rose’ follows second interlude, ‘Ashen Mortality’, a classic cradle composition featuring everything from gallop riffs to operatics. The beautifully cataclysmic ‘Suffer Our Dominion’ is a brutal ecological warning featuring the unmistakable voice of long-time collaborator and former Cenobite, Doug Bradley, whose cautionary narration sounds like an angry David Attenbrough. ‘Us, Dark, Invincible’ closes the record, another tempestuous storm of violent, cascading rhythms underpinned with operatic vocals and shadowy instrumentation.


The first of two bonus tracks, seven minute epic ‘Sisters of the Mist’ concludes a trilogy which began with ‘Her Ghost in the Fog’ and features a second appearance from Doug Bradley, the actor even getting to repeat a couple of his more famous lines from classic horror film, Hellraiser. Second bonus cut ‘Unleash the Hellion’ is another fevered and frenzied beast but it’s the previous song which steals the show.


Once again, it’s frontman Dani Filth who takes the lion’s share of the limelight, gleefully holding the listener’s attention as he howls, whispers and snarls his through another novel sized lyric sheet. New member Anabelle Iratni more than holds her own though, countering with swirling orchestrations and ethereal operatics while guitarists Richard Shaw and Marek ‘Ashok’ Šmerda continue to prove quite the formidable duo, as do drummer Martin ‘Marthus’ Škaroupka and bassist Daniel Firth.


Combining old school NWOBHM with savage black metal hooks, Gothic orchestrations and rampaging blastbeats, Existence is Futile is as playful and strangely uplifting as it is serious and oppressive. The end is nigh, there is no hope for mankind and Cradle of Filth is here to watch the world burn.


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9 / 10