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on 16 December 2012
You could be forgiven for thinking that after 20 years in the business, Cradle might have seen better days. I certainly thought so. After a decade of spreading infectious darkness, accompanied by lashings of OTT gothic, they had set off down a harder, more simplistic and ultimately rather more pedestrian road. Nymphetamine was bad, Thornography was worse... Yes, they pulled their socks up a little with some decent pieces on Godspeed, and even more so with the darkly erotic Venus Aversa, but in many ways they had abandoned the principles of evil that once made them so fantastic.

So, another decade after the band had reached their zenith and had a good many years to wane, they've gone and produced something which stakes a real claim for a place amongst some of the rather more cutting edge contemporary metal bands.

For a start, Manticore is actually quite heavy. Although COF originally started out with the extreme metal tag, they soon outgrew that and found themselves their own Byronic niche - occupying a space somewhere between poetry, gothica and tongue-in-cheek ridiculousness. They've always been a metal band, but they've rarely strayed into territory this close to death metal. Yes, I did actually just use the word death metal. Although Manticore retains many of the Cradle hallmarks - the trademark Paul Allender riffs that have loomed large on everything since Damnation and a Day; Dani's shrieking vocals and kinky poetry; the cheesy whispered breakdowns - it is actually a million miles away from both their earlier keyboard-laced graveyard-isms and their later melodic heavy-metal-with-black-metal-screams. The Abhorrent hits damn hard and does not relent for so much as a second. The tinkly, melodic, Her Ghost in the Fog keyboards have been shoved aside by sharper, slicker and sicker synth-backed heavy riffing. The Abhorrent is a genuinely hard and heavy slice of energetic and aggressive thrash-esque blackness. I can listen to it at least 5 times in a row every day, and it still gets its claws into me and does not let go.

Manticore is another beast of a track: eastern rhythms jostle for space amongst utterly black riffing, vicious drumming and some of Dani's most bearable vocals. Practically the only thing holding this album back from really entering heavy, thrashy territory is Dani's not-changed-it-since-1991 screaming vocals. He does mix in some low, deathy growls, which are so good they hurt, but he still clings way too much to the low then hiiiiiigh shrieky style. Manticore itself is one of the few songs that manage to break free from their corny, tongue-in-cheek archetype and really make the leap into 2012. The chorus is pure blackened filth and the verses cast a brilliant contrast between death metal riffage and Iron Maiden melodic soloing.

Pallid Reflection, like much of the album, has Iron Maiden's fingerprints all over it, along with clearly audible references to their original inspirations: Bathory, King Diamond, 80s thrash and classic hard rock. All the gothic romance elements are gone, and replaced by clever, sexy leads and breakneck riffs. Forget the classic Midian-era piano leads, the spooky keyboards, narration, female vocals and choirs - Cradle have stripped things back to basics and produced an album that is simply about crushingly good heavy metal. Practically the only track that has really retained the traditional keyboards is Siding with the Titans, which mingles sticky sweet keys with thunderous drumming and churning distorted guitar.

I hesitate to make any big claims that I will regret later, but this is a new direction for Cradle: one which is truer to their roots and inspirations, and unafraid of abandoning certain trademark sounds and replacing them with pure heavy metal, to rather surprising effect. There's a lot here that we haven't seen them do before, and they seem to have finally broken free from the chains of their past and taken a bold step into contemporary metal scene. I don't think I would be wrong in saying that Manticore has really put COF back on the map, and I shall watch their next moves with interest.
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on 23 October 2015
This band never fails to deliver when it comes to this genre of music, no matter what they do they always manages to put out the best music they can do there is not one album of theirs that I have not disliked this is just yet another example of their work.
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on 22 June 2017
I've found Cradle of Filth after finding Dani Filth's side project Devilment and started by listening to this albums successor "Hammer of the Witches" before coming to this one. Stylistically if you like "Hammer.." then this is in the same vein, black metal with gothic overtones. Dani Filth's lyrics are under rated studies of the dark arts and intriguing in themselves while guitar interplay and blast beat drumming work wonders for the soul. It's pretty obvious from reading the notes of fans who have been Cradle of Filth career followers and sampling the odd older track that the band have mellowed a bit and moved in perhaps a slightly more commercial direction. But that's not a bad thing here. Great album.
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on 29 October 2012
This is the first COF album I have pre-ordered since "Nymphetamine" (and I still haven't bothered buying "Midnight in the Labyrinth"!). Naturally I opted for the limited edition digibook with 2 bonus tracks. I really enjoyed the fans edition of "Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa" and having read the bands comments on this latest album, I felt excited about this release and was glad to receive it 2 days before the official release date.

Initial impressions from track 3 "For Your Vulgar Delectation" (available for advance free download from Peaceville) reminded me of 'Thornography' (albeit harder, darker and faster!). That said the theme is fairy tales, so perhaps this was to be expected. Other tracks feature assorted beasties as inspiration, including the titular Manticore.

As a whole there are few surprises on this album. Just think of any of COF's recent non-concept albums and you get the general idea of how this will play out. All the standard COF elements are here & working like clockwork. Indeed, I did start to wonder if they had anything original to offer or should just call it a day before track 7 came on. "Huge Onyx Wings Behind Despair" incorporated an electronic style in a subtler way than on certain previous controversial "special edition" tracks. I also enjoyed the different vocal style present on the same track.

Nevertheless, this is still a solid and competent COF release. It won't win COF any new fans & shouldn't lose them any existing ones. In some ways it reminds me of Midian-era COF but somewhat softer, gentler & less dark. (Although maybe I shouldn't have listened to Marduk's ROM 5:12 not long before popping this in my stereo for the first time!) The vocals are definitely more restrained and easier to comprehend than ever (not uncommon with BM style vocalists reaching their 40s). Perhaps that is the biggest advantage of this work (not needing to reach immediately for the booklet to read the lyrics!)

I can only conclude that, alike to all previous COF albums, this will continue to grow on me as I discern more elements and accept it on its own terms.

BTW Peaceville have told me that they do not currently intend another "fans edition" boxset for this album. Surely they'll find some way to milk this release in the future? Meanwhile, Happy Halloween!
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on 11 December 2013
Well where do I begin. For those of you who may be new to the musical styling of Cradle of Filth imagine someone has dug up Edgar Allan Poe and reanimated him. Then introduced him to the current "old school" vernacular before treating him to a week in the local cinema screening nothing but 18+ horror movies and a few silent screamers as well for good measure. And then locked him in a recording studio with access to an unending supply of Absinthe and or Jack Daniels. Or maybe even both. And finally overlaid the resulting poetry with some thundering drumming and ripping riffs. Oh yes, it's that good.
Well, as the title of this particular tome suggests, the album is about various mythical monsters throughout history so it's not a concept album as such, unlike some of their earlier work, most notably Cruelty and The Beast (my personal favourite of their back catalogue). Their sound has changed over the years, there's not so much of the demented high pitched screaming from Mr Filth that we all knew and loved. He now seems to favour a somewhat measured vocal delivery with some melodies thrown in. I'm still not sure what to make of that one but as I've been listening to the album on repeat since I bought it, I'd wager it's a good thing. Having said that, his voice is still powerful enough to send shivers down my spine and he never falters or wavers in his delivery, and when he does throw the melodies in, he's in tune. I'd merrily recommend this album as I would any of their work and can honestly say I am happy that my current earworm (for the last fortnight) has been Pallid Reflection.
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on 1 November 2012
What an album!.....& a brutal workout for The Filths latest 'Battery'(Martin). Once again Dani & Paul work in perfect harmony to produce an album that solidifies them as debateably the best working partnership in Metal.

Dani's fathomless research & choice in subject matter are simply divine (As they are with every Filth album) & make him the most intelligent & interesting lyricist in the business!!

It still mystifies me how Paul continually compliments & accentuates Dani's input to turn lyrics of fury into Symphonies of madness.

Another Masterpiece from COF.....But did you really expect anything else!!!

Thanks again Guys & remember.....If you produce it, I'll buy it :)
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on 1 December 2012
This is a huge return to form for Cradle. The last couple of albums really saw a decline in quality with only one or two tracks worth repeated play time. Manticore etc is a brilliant album with some fantastic time changes and catchy rhythms. My only gripe is that there isn't enoigh in the way of female vocal passages and I'd love to see Sarah return.
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on 3 November 2012
this album is a slight return to older albums and is the first album in a while that hasn't been a concept album.
Each song is suppose to be about a mytholical beast hence the title. it has the same eerie guitaring faster paced and haunting keyboard parts and screechy vocals. but also it has some more punk like moments and some Actual singing from Dani filth too. I actually rather like it. alot it has excellent cover art as do most cradle of filth albums.
the album opens up with as usual a slow haunting piano instrumental before ripping in to a blistering blast beat and orchestral thing and dani screeches. and Dani start screeching and start sort of singing alittle bit he sound slike he is trying to be more melodic in the vocal department kudos for giving it a try, he seems to have layer all the vocals too so you get high pitch screeches and that sort of talking gorlw thing atthe same time. this album is definatly better than the last one which just seems to blend in to each other with this one the songs stand out alot more.

very good hope they keepy to this format for a while and then start experimenting again to come up with a new alteration I like it
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on 21 November 2015
Though not as brilliant as 'Midian' and 'Cruelty and The Beast' when Cradle were at their best. Still a good listen, I preferred this to Darkly Darkly, which I couldn't get into at all. My personal favourite tracks are 'Manticore' and 'For your vulgar delectation'. Definately worth getting.
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on 2 March 2013
The Manticore And Other Horrors is just how Cradle Of Filth should sound in my opinion.

Their perfect tales of horror and monsters are told with such elegance it makes the tracks purely amazing.

This is exactly how I love cradle and here's to their future.
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