13 albums in their career and been in the extreme metal scene for three decades, England’s Cradle Of Filth are a unstoppable force responsibly known in creating the darkest, most sinister albums in black metal history. But overtime, Cradle Of Filth’s 2000’s material such as Thornography, Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder and Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa were not only met with average scores due to changing the musical direction the band was heading into, but they’ve decided to experiment other hybrids of metal including gothic, symphonic and even melodic black metal. But in 2015, Hammer of the Witches was released and since then it became one of highest scored Cradle albums that I reviewed long ago and was a true return to form and going back to the earlier stages when they were originally black metal and have met many fans expectations.
Fast forward to the prior album after Hammer, 2017’s Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay kept the same formula, vein, progressiveness and technical proficiencies as Hammer but they’ve decided to make the music darker, atmospheric and very gothic driven in which in this case they’ve outdone themselves in creating a album that was intelligently written and heavy. Now in 2021, Existence Is Futile is the thirteenth full-length album in the band’s long-running career and is released through Nuclear Blast Records. What’s different about this album in comparison to Cryptoriana, they’ve added a brand new member to the modern-day lineup of Cradle’s signature sound in which they welcomed Anabelle Iratni to the mix who’s also in another band called Devilment. But question is, did Existence Is Futile kept anticipation and expectations that were met? Absolutely. I’ve always particularly enjoyed Cradle Of Filth’s catalog with 2004’s Nymphetamine became one of my all time favorite albums by this British outfit and with Existence Is Futile, Cradle Of Filth’s discography over the years went from traditional black metal, to more gothic, symphonic and extreme boundaries and this time, their continuations for a revamped line-up is extremely enjoyable upon listening to this album.
To be honest, I truly believe Cradle Of Filth’s newest album took a massive improvement both musically and lyrically to produce incredible institutions that are cooperated fluently. Tracks anywhere from Necromantic Fantasies, Us, Dark, Invincible, Black Smoke Curling from the Lips of War and The Dying of the Embers all contained with passionate, inspired, motivating and increasingly symphonic, concept-oriented which periodically refreshed the whole group from Cradle Of Filth as this album naturally progresses into a identifying, technical precision seems to be a well thought out experience. Aside from Cryptoriana, Hammer Of The Witches and older albums, Existence Is Futile remained the extremist elements from Dani Filth’s shrieked, backbone ,accessible and memorable vocal deliveries we all know and love has never sounded this impressive on a Cradle album since 2000’s Midian or even the mid 2000’s to be precise.
The greatest highlight on the album is Anabelle’s contributions alone makes the album very well utilized, harmonized and beautifully written passages from the gothic orchestrated piano and keyboard segmentation balances her vocals with Dani’s is a fresh intake to the album’s content. Perhaps the contributors to Cradle’s answers is the tasteful balance between aggression and engaging melodies, Black metal tremolos, thrashy palm-muting, and touches of gothic atmospheric passages lead into a mythological, almost a epic possibility to realize what the band wanted in a sense of their own essential craft. This is another presented and well achieved album from these British musicians and has complimented such greatness within their 30 year span as a artist.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Review by Jake Butler