Cradle of Filth – Existence is Futile (Album Review)

Cradle of Filth requires no introduction, they have been creating their distinct style of symphonic black metal for 3 decades now and have carved their niche with 12 studio albums.  “Existence is Futile” is album number 13 and has a foreboding theme running throughout.  When speaking about the album, frontman Dani Filth explains Everybody asks, “Is this about the pandemic?” And it’s like, no, actually, it was written before. The world went to shit a long time ago. This is just a small wake-up call in the greater scheme of things.”

The album begins with the epic, orchestral instrumental “The Fate of the World on our Shoulders” which builds into a crescendo and throws you into the thundering second track “Existential Terror”.  It is heavy and nasty and instantly you are treated to Dani Filth’s unmistakable vocal delivery.  He alternates between lows and his signature high screams which are complimented by choral backing vocals, giving substance to the track  The changes in tempo keep you intrigued.

“Necromantic Fantasies” has the familiar Cradle of Filth sound, menacing vocals, and beautiful soaring backing vocals from

  • Anabelle Iratni.  The track has a driving, heavy riff and encompasses all of the instruments seamlessly.

The standout track on the album for me is “Crawling King Chaos” – again the haunting backing vocals from Anabelle lead you into the belly of the beast, with a frantic riff which only briefly lets up for a symphonic middle section, then escalates back into the previous furious pace.  The trademark Dani Filth screams are there, but there is a deeper intensity to his lower range which is a good contrast against the melodies dancing through the music.  Absolutely fantastic drum work in this track by Martin ‘Marthus’ Škaroupka!

The mood shifts with “Here Comes a Candle (Infernal Lullaby)”, a tasteful instrumental interlude, the piano meanders along delicately accompanied by operatic vocals, a beautiful piece of music.

“Black Smoke Curling from the Lips of War” has a very catchy riff, and the low growls in this track are exceptional, the backing vocals again give depth to the song and the guitar solo is wicked, the impeccable timing of Dani Filth’s vocals match every beat and riff with precision.

“Discourse Between a Man and His Soul” is as close as Cradle of Filth gets to a ballad, the brutal whispering which leads into banshee-like screams work well with the slow tempo, Dani Filth is a storyteller, and you believe every word as he masterfully delivers the perfect vocal style to portray the sentiment of the song.

“The Dying of the Embers” is reminiscent of the early Cradle of Filth, and is a nod to the history of the band’s previous releases.

In summary, the album is a step up in writing from the two most recent releases “Cryptoriana” and “Hammer of the Witches” and each track has merits in its own right.  It is a dramatic and theatrical listen.  Top tracks “Us, Dark, Invincible”  and “Crawling King Chaos” showcase why Cradle of Filth have continued to maintain the majority of their loyal fanbase and draw in new fans over the years.

A must-listen for fans of Cradle of Filth and symphonic black metal.  Even if your interest in the band has waned over the years, as it has for some, it may surprise you!

Cradle of Filth: Facebook

Release Year: 2021
Category: Album
Country: UK

Reviewed by ForsakenMisery