Cradle of Filth
Dusk…And Her Embrace – The Original Sin
Released 8th July 2016
Symphonic Black Metal/Extreme Gothic Metal
Released via Cacophonous Records
Ever since discovering it as a teenager, Cradle of Filth’s ‘Dusk And Her Embrace’ has been one of my favourite albums. A couple of months ago I was surprised to find out that this beautiful piece of Gothic horror/symphonic black metal is not in fact the original version. An earlier edition was recorded in 1995 but due to problems with both the line-up and the record label, the album never saw the light of day. Not until now that is… This year the newly re-animated Cacophonous Records decided to finally release a remastered version under the name of ‘Dusk…And Her Embrace – The Original Sin’.
Given how much I love ‘Dusk And Her Embrace’ (the “later” version, released in 1996) I was keen to see what this remastered, older edition sounds like and how it compares to the 1996 version. Well…Let’s start with stating some basic facts that make this version different from the previously released version: 1. the line-up for this album is the same as the one for ‘Principle of Evil Made Flesh’. It should be noted that the only band members who were present during both recordings were Dani Filth and Nicholas Barker; 2. the artwork, 3. the track-listing – this edition features more songs including two instrumentals and some demos and Nocturnal Supremacy (originally released on the ‘V Empire’ EP).
Now on to the actual music… As with all the Cradle of Filth albums, this one starts off with an atmospheric instrumental track which is this version is titled Macabre, This Banquet. It has got an eerie and atmospheric keyboard intro that is not too far removed from Humana Inspired to Nightmare (the opening track on the 1996 version). Nocturnal Supremacy comes as a bit of a surprise on here, possibly because I’m so used to the older, more abrasive black metal version of the song as featured on ‘V Empire’ EP.
Then we enter more familiar territory as the album progresses, revealing the original versions of the songs. As with any good quality gem, the unpolished version shows some potential but it can feel a little rough around the edges. This definitely the case here. One of my favourites, Funeral In Carpathia is a good example. It’s fairly similar to the later version of the song, but there’s a few subtle differences. The most prominent are Dani’s vocals; instead of the high pitched shrieks featured on the 1996 version, he adopts the more traditional black metal vocal style, more akin to the vocals on the band’s debut album. There’s also considerably less of the eloquent Gothic horror overtones than in the 1996 version. Yet some things remain the same; for example A Gothic Romance still has the same eerie horror story feel to it and the title track, even in this more primitive form it is still the undisputed highlight of the album
In summary, ‘Dusk…And Her Embrace – The Original Sin’ is definitely a collector’s item for the avid Cradle of Filth fan looking to expand his/her collection. The name is a big clue – “original sin” which on here implies raw, more aggressive and generally more black metal bearing more similarities to ‘Principle of Evil…’ and ‘V Empire’ than the previously released version.