Cradle of Filth

Lovecraft & Witch Hearts

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Although the black metal resurgence in the '90s was centralized in Scandinavian countries, Britain's Cradle of Filth was perhaps the most recognizable band to appear during that time. Brandishing a razor-sharp wit, excellent playing skills, memorable songs, and a penchant for controversy, the band had just the right combination of skills to make it a genuine threat to the mainstream. To celebrate Cradle of Filth's ten years of metal rumblings, the band compiled tracks from each of its albums and released the two-disc Lovecraft & Witch Hearts. As a showcase for the band's progression, the album tends to fail, as it features material that fits into the same vein of high-concept black metal. But as a pure dose of moody, visceral music taken from Cradle of Filth's entire career, this is a fabulous success. One listen to "Her Ghost in the Fog" shows a band that can be dramatic, melancholy, and venomous within the same song. The group's ability to pack so much into a single track is a testament to the bandmembers' abilities as influential genre songwriters. The inclusion of several remixes and covers is a nice touch, giving the album a variety that mirrors the way a typical Cradle of Filth album sounds. Because of the band's tendency to give its albums concepts and linking themes, the compilation still doesn't paint the ultimate picture of Cradle of Filth. But Lovecraft & Witch Hearts is an excellent way to hear the group for the first time, as well as a handy sampler for longtime fans. Few metal compilations manage to do justice to the band being covered, but this is a satanic roller coaster ride that collects Cradle of Filth's best work into one savage collection.

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