Scrawl from The Saw’s Butcher Shop: Cradle of Filth —Existence is Futile

What’s up Butcher Crew?! It’s ya girl, The Saw! And October 22, 2021 marked the release of (I think) the best work in the long and inglorious career of Cradle of Filth. Existence is Futile (Nuclear Blast) is a dark commentary on modern human existence. If you are a fan of the band, then you already know that poetry, mythology, and literature are the normal fodder for a Cradle of Filth record. Imagine, though, if Dani Filth (founder; vocals) turned his gaze toward a more direct commentary on current events in the world. Existence is Futile is an awesome and excellent soundtrack for a vivid interpretation of where creation finds itself today.

Cradle of Filth formed in Suffolk, England in 1991 by the infamous Dani Filth. Originally labeled as Black Metal, today the band enjoys the fact that categorizing them proves a difficult task. They wear the Corpse Paint of the Black Metal genre, and much of Filth’s vocals on Existence is Futile is classic Black Metal in composure and content. Yet, though there is definitely a Symphonic Black Metal under-current, the music on this record is far more expansive than that. Since I am a categorical thinker, I put Cradle of Filth firmly in that category. But I also understand the stress that Symphonic Black Metal is under because of it. 

Think what you will about Dani Filth, he has an incredible voice, ranging from deep register gutterals to his patented airy screech. For most of Existence is Futile, Filth utilizes his higher range (Black Metal) voice, accenting points with his wicked gutterals and his beautiful ear splitting screech; all delivered as commentary on what he interprets as a dire situation – the situation in which both humanity and the world as a whole finds themselves. 

 2014 marked a watershed moment, I think, in the saga that is Cradle of Filth. First, a new band was formed around Filth to support a tour that was coming up. Secondly, they were due a new album release (2015s Hammer of Witches) and; finally, that new record would come through a new record company for the band – Nuclear Blast. The individuals that collected have great chemistry and together can support Filth’s incredible energy. 

Martin “Marthus” Skarouptka has been the drummer since 2006. He’s an excellent time-keeper, with lightening fast double-base and electrifying Blast beats; but also a great sense of timing for the odd signatures and tempo changes. Daniel Firth (bass), Richard Shaw (guitar), and Merek “Ashok” Smerda (guitar) are a strong team that makes a real difference on this record. Crunching riffs dominate Existence is Futile, with atmospheric accents tastefully placed throughout. Great, well placed dueling solos with support from bass lines, add an extra texture that really puts Cradle of Filth over the top on this Album. For Existence is Futile, Annebelle Iratni enters the narrative as keyboardist and backing vocalist. She has an incredible operatic voice (utilized a lot on the songs), a haunting melodic style that is another instrument for the band (adding another layer of depth), and she is a great keyboardist (filling out the atmospheric sound).

I think a special note is in order, here: “Pinhead” (Doug Bradley) makes an appearance as narrator on “Suffer Our Dominion” and “Sisters of the Mist!” Perfect! He is an old friend of the band and is like an exclamation point on Filth’s dark commentary.

Existence is Futile has a huge production. It is operatic in its presentation. It’s an experience to behold and not just a record to listen to – very powerful and very dramatic. The album is a concise labyrinth of spellbinding intensity. 

Song Listing:

  1. The Fate of the World on Our Shoulders
  2. Existential Terror
  3. Necromantic Fantasies
  4. Crawling King Chaos
  5. Here Comes a Candle (Infernal Lullaby)
  6. Black Smoke Curling from the Lips of War
  7. Discourse Between a Man and His Soul
  8. The Dying of the Embers 
  9. Ashen Mortality
  10. How Many Tears to Nurture a Rose?
  11. Suffer Our Dominion
  12. Us, Dark, Invincible
  13. Sisters of the Mist
  14. Unleash the Hellion

Rating: 9/10!! The best album by Cradle of Filth (IMO)! Brilliant!

Favorite Songs: Existential Terror; Crawling King Chaos; Sisters of the Midst 

Stay Metal,