Cradle Of Fitlh – Cruelty And The Beast (1998)

I haven’t listened to Cruelty… in donkey’s years. In fact, I didn’t even know there had been (finally!) a remaster of it either, so I decided to listen to both back to back for the purposes of commiting the records finally the vaults of Lines In Wax. What surprised me however, was that I heavily preferred the first mix to the remaster, despite the heavy shortcomings of this original release. But anyways, I’ll get to that in a second.

First, let’s address the music. Cruelty… saw Cradle yet again build and mold their barbed lullabies of maturing gothic romance. If you’ve loved what came before then of course there is no need to stop here, “Thirteen Autumns And A Widow”, “Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids”, “Beneath The Howling Stars”, “Bathory Aria” and “Twisted Nails Of Faith” are all enormous, career-best Filth numbers that tick all of the right boxes.

The production is thin and brittle, which is fine, especially in such realms of frost-crusted, fragile “blackened” romps such as these. However, I would absolutely love to know who signed off on those drums. Nick Barker’s immensely complex playing is reduced to a series of clicks and clatters. In the grand scheme of the atmosphere it almost works (like it did on Dusk….), but I have a nagging feeling that some producers in the 90s just didn’t know what to do with that level of drumming, especially alongside the rest of the many moving pieces Cradle Of Filth had going at the same time. Cradle always walks the line between beauty and an absolute car crash, you need only seem them live on an off-day to know that.

I’ll discuss these issues – and the steps taken to remidiate them – further on the remaster review, which should immediately follow this one. You can use the link below. Cheers!