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A Review of the Album Cruelty and the Beast by British Symphonic Black Metal Band Cradle of Filth

Updated on April 18, 2020
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is looking to always explore his writing opportunities.

Cradle of Filth is a Unique Band Because of Their Vocal Style

There are heavy metal bands in the history of heavy metal that may be considered unique in the opinion of certain music fans. An example of this British symphonic black metal band Cradle of Filth. Their 1998 studio album called Cruelty and the Beast is an example of this uniqueness. But are they really unique in relation to the black metal scene? My listening time for the heavy metal genre is now more than 25 years and I can say that Cradle of Filth is pretty unique in the black metal genre first of all because of its high pitched screeching vocals by Daniel Davey.

Note: at the first writing of this article the intent was to try and explain whether the band Cradle of Filth is a unique band in the black metal genre. But now, the focus for this article will be on one album only.

Cradle of Filth Band Logo


Cons about Cradle of Filth

The bad vocals are the biggest con for this band and this is why these guys are not as good as Finland’s Catamenia for instance. Also, they do not have the kinds of interludes and solos that Riku Hopeakoski has. This point was brought up to emphasize that although Cradle of Filth has a few decent albums, their music cannot compare to other bands in the black metal genre.

Some Background Information About the Album Cruelty and the Beast

First we will review this band’s 1998 studio album called Cruelty and the Beast. This is a concept album that is based on the story of Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian blood countess. That was the album that I had received at the time along with Dusk and Her Embrace. We’ve been reviewing so many Napalm Death albums that it is time to introduce the world to symphonic black metal from the UK. The vocals are sometimes low and guttural, but a deep guttural tone is what is present on this album. Don’t be surprised of you wonder how a black metal album could be so dark, brutal, and heavy.

"The Twisted Nails of Faith"

A Brief Review of Their 1998 Album Cruelty and the Beast

The band’s heavy use of keyboards and synchronization creates a pretty dark atmosphere that lets the listener know that they are in for a real surprise musically. You might want to skip over this music if you are despondent or depressed. There is a part in the fourth song that sounds like a musical part that may be in the video game Castlevania Symphony of the Night. The song Venus in Fear is the second instrumental song in the album and the best way to describe this song is that there is a dark, symphonic sound followed by the anguishing screams of women as if they are being pursued and tormented by an evil force. This is the weakest song in the album because it just occupies space on the CD without adding any real musical substance to it. I know this is a concept album but bands should write instrumental songs that actually make sense and fit in with the rest of the album. The Twisted Nails of Faith starts with some interesting vocals by Sarah Jezebel Deva but the first line is the most memorable when she says: “mirror mirror on the wall.” She refers to pleasure being the goal for all humans on the planet but the writing style is similar to Old English style (think William Shakespeare). In the song Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids, she uses this same approach in the beginning and brings attention to the art of enjoyment but in a sarcastic sort of mood.

Sarah Jezebel Deva Makes Comments About the Production

Speaking of Sarah Jezebel Deva, reading about this album brought awareness about the comments that she made about the album’s production. Particular criticism was leveled at the drum sound of Cruelty and the Beast. Sarah said: “The production is absolute rubbish. I remember when I first heard it. Dani played it. I walked out with tears in my eyes. I had spent twenty-five hours working in the studio on that album and it sounded like I had my head in a toilet,” (Deva, n.d.).

"13 Autumns and a Widow"

Some More Thoughts About the Album Cruelty and the Beast

I don’t think that the UK is that well known for black metal but Cradle of Filth shows their uniqueness with these kinds of vocal parts. The song called Portrait of the Dead Countess sounds like a classical music kind of song which again is another example of the contrast and uniqueness of this band. Overall, the album Cruelty and the Beast is a good album. However, their best album may be Midian released in 2000.


Deva, S. J. (n.d.). Cradle of Filth. Retrieved from Cradle of Filth The Official Website:

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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