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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Symphonic Black metal/Gothic extreme....a classic in this genre and probably one of three important albums by this band, Cruelty And The Beast, Midian, and Godspeed The Devil's Thunder are all must haves by this band. Ultra dark and sophisticated music skills combined with outstanding poetry and uber black metal darkness. All the while a great team of engineers and an obviousley expensive production. For fans of Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth, Satyricon, and Sothis.
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on 3 May 2017
My 4th cradle album MIDIAN still the better one
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on 6 December 2001
This album album is a absolutely amazing, the atmosphere is excellent. It starts off with three devastating tracks which suck you in and dont let you go till the end including one of my favourites on the album "Beneath The Howling Stars." It then goes into the weird and twisted "Venus In Fear" with its disturbing screams and groans. Then comes another brutal track followed by the excellent "Twisted Nails of Faith". Then comes "Bafory Aria" which is a mixture of orchestra, heart pounding guitar riffs and furious drumming. My philosophy is save the best till last and that is just what Dani and co have done concluding the album with "Lustmord and Wargasm" which is another of my favourites and is a true masterpiece. Dani`s vocals are also amazing with great lyrics inspired by an evil countess who lived around the 16th century which also adds to the atmosphere. All this combines together to make one of the best Cradle of Filth albums ever great job lads.
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on 24 March 2001
I first saw this album when I was browsing around a few Black Metal bands. Cradle of Filth have accomplished what they were instructed to do. The popularity of their previous album (Dusk and Her Embrace) was so successful, that it sold over-seas, so they were naturally going to work hard on this one. Cruelty and the Beast is indeed a masterpiece for mainstream black metal, even though tracks such as 'Desire in Violent Overture' can convince any hardcore Black Metallers that Cradle of Filth get inspirations from bands such as Darkthrone, Bathory, etc. This album is quite intense, yet very melodical. Only problem is the power which the drums give out. Sounds kind of tinny, but then again, that's distinctive of CoF. I would recommend this to both 'true' black metallers and newbies to the scene. -Digital
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on 25 January 2007
This album is just excellent, and is one of the few concept albums that really works. Based on the legend of the Hungarian 'Blood Countess' Elizabeth Bathory, the album drags its listeners through a dark and violent story steeped in eroticism and lascivious imagery. Dani's lyrics are intelligent and intriguing in equal measures - it's almost worth buying the album just to read them. However, don't expect to be able to actually hear his message as his trademark screaming and barking blurs the dialogue into one long tirade of apocalyptic proportions.

At the time the band were disappointed with the sound production and were particularly despondent about the drum sound. However, until they had actually pointed that out to me I had not noticed that there was anything amiss. With hindsight it's noticeable that the drums are quite tinny, but I really don't think this detracts from the quality of the songs as a whole. Nicholas Barker's drumming is so furious, and his timing is so accurate, that any sound production issues pale into insignificance.

Cruelty and the Beast was the first Cradle of Filth album to really reveal the band's influences, and a heavy dose of Iron Maiden style riffage can be heard resonating from the twin guitars. The dark undertone, carried forward from The Principle of Evil Made Flesh, prevents the guitar sound from being too cheery, but the seeds of commerciality were definitely being sown at this stage. I bought the first couple of albums from underground 'goth' shops and was surprised to see this one hit the shelves in all the major music retailers immediately. This was partly due to Dani's increasing presence in the rock media at the time, but was also as a consequence of more traditional metal sounds coming through the mix.

Being a concept album all of the songs flow together well and are best appreciated in their original sequence. However, in my view, the classics are Thirteen Autumns and a Widow, Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids, Beneath the Howling Stars and The Twisted Nails of Faith. The album loses the plot slightly half way through The Bathory Aria, but quickly picks up again towards the end. Concluding the album is Lustmord and Wargasm, a huge song that leaves you feeling knackered when it's over.

All of the songs explode with a diverse array of sounds and the orchestration is extremely impressive. At times there are classical elements that could be confused with Brahms, whilst the cacophony that erupts from other parts, usually from the same songs, could only be matched by the most intense thrash metal band after thirteen shots of Black Death vodka.

I highly recommend this album to any fan of Black Metal. This was Cradle of Filth at their best. It swept aside the whole genre and redefined 'heavy' for a new era.
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on 18 March 2000
This is one of the best black metal albums i have ever heard! I must admit that this was my first "Cradle of Filth" album and I was hesitating in the beginning whether I should buy or not. Believe me, it is worth its money and a lot more. The music by itself is very good while not following the standards that other bands have set. But once you have read the lyrics you begin to get into the dark, aggressive even melancholic atmosphere of the album. What helps is that it is a concept album and the story described is magnificent. For the black metal fans it is a blessing, for the rest of the metal fans it is another "diamond" added in their collection. BUY OR DIE!
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on 1 February 2003
All I can say is that this album is truly Cradles best. If you are interested in them buy this or 'Midian'. 'The Twisted Nails of Faith' is the best song of all time with its Gothic leanings, yet still brutal guitars. Keyboards are put into good use too. 'Portrait of the Dead Countess' is Cradles best instrumental, really making you feel the darkness of Elizabeth Bathory's soul (whom this whole album is bases upon). The rest of the album is of usual Cradle standard....exellent, yet the latter songs really do stand out. Dani's vocals are bound to echo inside yer head for weeks to come too! Buy this album!
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on 8 June 2002
In my opinion this is cofs most creative album to date. It is a concept album, about Elizebeth Bathory. Many of the tracks have clasical influences. This is most prominant in the instrumental `Portrait of the dead countess`.
By far the best track is Bathory Aria. This is divided into three parts `Benighted like Usher`, `Murder of ravens in fugue` and `Eyes that witnessed madness`. This song has a duration of approximately eleven minuites. However there is sufficiant variation in tempo and atmosphere to justify this.
The next best song is probably `Lustmord and Wargasm`. This has an excellent clasical introduction, leading into an extremely fast song. Personaly I am suprised that this does not often apear in their live shows.
`Thirteen Autums and a Widow`, `Cruelty brought thee Orchids` and `Beneath the Howling Stars` are in many respects similar songs. For example they are all very up-tempo, are of similar length, and have many structural similarities.
If this album has a weakness it is the production.
As was actually pointed out by a band member, on the official site, the drums sound tinny. This is a shame, as the drummer on this album is superb.
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on 11 October 2003
Unlike with a lot of bands, you have to turn back a few pages in Cradle's history to find the best record that they have released. Cruelty and the Beast is by far the most impressive sound they have created.Based upon the life of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the album is not just a collection of songs, but a story...and what a good read it is!
Combining truly terrifying guitar riffs, ghostly keyboards, electrifying drumming from Nick Barker (who is surely the best metal drummer of today), and of course superb variety of vocal styles, every song leaves you breathless and in absolute awe of how mere mortals could create something so genuinely grand.
A special mention has to go to Robin Graves on his truly inspirational bass playing. Listen to 'Beneath the Howling Stars', the best track on the album and you'll see what i mean.
Other classics on this masterpiece include 'Desire In Violent Overture' and 'The Twisted Nails Of Faith'.
One 'song' to be wary of is 'Venus In Fear'. Actually quite disturbing in places its not for playing if parents or relatives are within hearing distance!
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on 5 March 2003
Welcome my feinds to the darkest heart of Transylvania where we take a journey into the life of Countess Elizabeth Bathory. This has to be the best Cradle Of Filth album ever I garantee that you will not be dissapointed by this truly dark and morbid masterpiece also it features the legendary Igrid Pitt providing the voice of the Countess on severel songs. As with all my reviews I will do it song by song.
1.Once Upon Atrocity
An intro filled with the true heart of everything that is the scum of the earth as you can feel yourself passing over the bridge entering Castle Cséjthe as you enter the sinister world of the Countess.
2.Thirteen Autumns And A Widow
A truly amazing beginning to the album it is one of the best songs on the album yes the choral singing is real and raw as anything. But this is just the beginning to this tragic story.
3.Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids
I am tired of reviewing title tracks but anyway this again will fail to dissapoint you. The driving guitars and powerful drumming is by far the main attraction if you may have noticed that Nick's snare has a very high, crisp sound which alot of people don't like on this album but it was intentional.
4.Beneath The Howling Stars
There was always something truly magical about Robin Graves's bass playing on this album which fills your soul with ease as this track is a prime example of it. They are plenty of things to listen for in this track.
5.Venus In Fear
One could easily be discouraged by this terrifying intrumental It is not for the weak-stomached as we can hear one of Elizabeth's servent girls being toutered .It is strange for Sarah Jezebel Deva to do something as erotic as this but it just goes to show that one can easily be truly horrified by this track APPROACH WITH CAUTION
6.Desire In Violent Overture
Going deeper into Castle Cséjthe we are revealed more of this reality nightmare a good song, probally the most different track on the album in terms of style has some kind of dark moral meaning i'm sure
7.The Twisted Nails Of Faith
In this track we finally get to here the Countess speak portrayed very well by Ingrid Pitt well, come on they wouldn't choose her just for the sake of it! The song is brilliant it is the best song on the album.
8.Bathory Aria: Benighted Like Usher, A Murder Of Ravens In Fugue, Eyes that witnessed madness.
This is a very long song. And the most powerfull more vocals of Igrid Pitt can be heard towards the end. Overall it's not really the best song but there are bits to it which really are quite intersting.
9.Portrait Of The Dead Countess
The title again echos lines for 'Dusk And Her Embrace' All I can say is that this stands as the most emotinal intrumental on the album of the Countess's death.
Lustmord And Wargasm (The Lick Of Carnivorous Winds)
A brilliant ending short but sweet full of energy and passion as you end your journey of Cruelty And The Beast
My final conclusion is that this is the best Cradle Of Filth album ever and that you could live inside. I would recomend it to any Cradle fan.
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