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4.19 | 40 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1996


1. Humana Inspired to Nightmare (1:22)
2. Heaven Torn Asunder (7:04)
3. Funeral in Carpathia (8:24)
4. A Gothic Romance (Red Roses for the Devil's Whore) (8:35)
5. Malice Through the Looking Glass (5:30)
6. Dusk and Her Embrace (6:09)
7. The Graveyard by Moonlight (2:28)
8. Beauty Slept in Sodom (6:32)
9. Haunted Shores (7:04)

Total Time: 53:11

Bonus tracks (Japanese edition):
10. Hell Awaits (Slayer cover) (5:41)
11. Carmilla's Masque (instrumental) (2:54)
12. Nocturnal Supremacy '96 (5:59)


- Dani Filth / Vocals
- Stuart Anstis / Guitars
- Gian Pyres / Guitars
- Robin Graves / Bass
- Damien Gregori / Keyboards
- Nicholas Barker / Drums

Guest Musicians:

- Sarah Jezebel Deva / Additional Vocals
- Danielle Cneajna Cottington / Additional Vocals
- Cronos / speech on "Haunted Shores"

About this release

Label: Music For Nations
Release Date: October 28, 1996

Thanks to Stooge, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Released in 1996, Dusk … and Her Embrace is an album that had an enormous impact on the impressionable psyche of the then-16 year old me. Having largely ignored most of the Scandinavian black metal scene at that time, Dusk was one of the heaviest, most extreme and exciting things that I had ever listened to back then. The combination of furious aggression, profanity, sensual gothic undertones, and dark, sinister atmosphere was simply impossible to resist and I found myself literally obsessing over this album, which I must have listened to hundreds of times in those years. Fast forward 25 years, and here I am, still enjoying Dusk … and Her Embrace almost as much as I did back in 1996. This is not something that happens to me with every album that I used to adore back in my teens. Some of those records turn out fairly disappointing when I listen to them today with my 41 year old ears. But Dusk’s enjoyment has not at all diminished with time, and I like to believe that this is because the record truly possesses the rare qualities of a timeless classic.

The album has a curious backstory. Most of its material (except the opener instrumental Humana Inspired to Nightmare and Malice Through the Looking Glass) was initially recorded by the same line-up that had written Cradle of Filth’s debut album The Principle of Evil Made Flesh. That line-up, however, split in two in the midst of the album’s recordings: Paul Allender (guitar), Benjamin Ryan (keyboards) and Paul Ryan (guitar) left the band to form The Blood Divine, while Nicholas Barker (drums), Robin Graves (bass) and Dani Filth (vocals) continued under the Cradle of Filth’s banner. The original recordings of Dusk were therefore scrapped (they will see the light of day only in 2016 when the band will release them as Dusk and Her Embrace - The Original Sin), as the band took time to regroup and change recording label (from Cacophonous to Music For Nations). Cradle of Filth eventually found the right substitutes in guitarist Stuart Anstis and keyboard player Damien Gregori and the 5-pieced Cradle of Filth headed to D.E.P. International Studios in Birmingham to re-arrange and re-record the tracks of Dusk … and Her Embrace (Gian Pyres is listed in the CD booklet as second guitarist, but apparently all guitar parts were actually recorded by Anstis).

The record is superbly balanced between black metal fury and gothic romance, aggression and atmosphere, melody and speed. Each single track is meticulously structured to give equal emphasis to the two sides of the band’s sound. Songs that start slow suddenly change gear and plunge into accelerations of uncompromising ferocity (“”Heaven Torn Asunder”, “A Gothic Romance”). Viceversa, the songs that commence at breakneck speed eventually open up into emotional mid-tempos and memorable melodies (“Haunted Shores”). The flow between the different sections and tempos is masterfully arranged. This constitutes a massive improvement over Cradle of Filth’s previous compositions, where the band often failed to find the right connection between the different segments of their songs.

The improved songwriting comes together with a huge step-up in individual performances. Dani Filth’s voice is miles better than on the debut album, exploring a full gamut of styles and vocal techniques, from deep baritone spoken-word vocals, to enraged snarls, to ear-piercing shrieks. His performance is technically astonishing as well as emotionally charged, and really elevates the album’s material to a whole new level. Nicholas Barker’s drumming is phenomenal as always, and it is greatly exalted by the smooth and clean production. Speaking of production, this is probably one of the best sounding Cradle of Filth’s album ever recorded. Producer Kit Woolven (Thin Lizzy, Anathema, Cathedral) strikes a fantastic balance between rawness and detail, letting each instrument fully come through in the recordings (even Robin Graves’ bass, which on other records often ended up buried behind the bass drum). Stuart Anstis’ guitars have a fantastic tone, thick and wet and, together with Damien Gregori’s richly symphonic keyboard arrangements, contribute to the record’s lush and velvety feel that suits perfectly the gothic overtones of the album. Anstis’ guitar work also deserves huge praise per se. His melodic twin leads and counterpoints are fantastic: simple, tasteful and extremely effective in giving the music extra depth and texture.

Song after song, Dusk is an unstoppable collection of extreme metal masterpieces. Among these, the three tracks in the middle of the record really stand out for me. “Funeral in Caprathia” is one of the most iconic and best songs ever written by Cradle of Filth. From its epic beginning to its languid ending, the song is a treasure trove of great musical moments that do not simply amaze from a technical viewpoint, but are also capable of stirring up emotions and excite. The track is followed by another fantastic song, the gothic masterpiece “A Gothic Romance”, where Stuart Anstis’ guitar is particularly impressive. “Malice Through the Looking Glass” completes the exceptional trio. This is one of the newer songs that was not recorded with the old line-up. The track builds on a poignant mid-tempo and is instrumentally richer compared to the rest of the album material. Cleverly placed in the middle of the album, this gives the listener some respite from Dani’s hyperactive vocal lines, which can at times feel a little overbearing. I also want to mention “Beauty Slept in Sodom”, which is another slightly unusual track that feels different from the rest of the material. The music is doomy, dissonant and almost hallucinated, giving the song a vaguely experimental and progressive feel.

In summary, Dusk … and Her Embrace is an exceptionally strong album. Packed with incredibly well written and balanced material, and gifted by a strong production, the album goes from strength to strength across its 9 songs. There is no filler or weak spot here, everything sounds fresh, captivating and exciting. It received a fantastic response when it was released back in 1996, which projected the band to the top of the extreme metal movement, making them one of the best known acts in the genre. Deservedly so, I would add, since this is arguably the best album that Cradle of Filth have recorded to date and indeed one of the best records in the whole extreme metal scene.
Cradle of Filth's second album displays a massive and welcome improvement over the first. Though they pull off the coup of having Cronos from Venom recite a speech towards the end of the album - what better way to declare yourselves the new masters of British black metal? - the band actually move away from the pure black metal roots of their first album and towards an intriguing hybrid style combining the best of second wave black metal and gothic metal, much as other bands in the gothic metal category would combine gothic music and doom or death metal.

Dani Filth's vocals here take on their characteristic style, alternating (or occasionally combining) low-pitched intonations with incredibly high-pitched shrieks which would serve well on any black metal release by the Norwegian masters of the genre, whilst the use of female vocals and synthesisers does wonders for bolstering the album's gothic credentials - as do the lyrics, which once again revolve around eroticism and pagan Goddess-worship. As a whole, the band prove adept at shifting between metal styles at the drop of the hat.

The only thing which prevents this album from attaining a perfect score is the somewhat average production values, but on the whole it's a decent listen, and much more interesting than their debut.
You know when you weren't that big on an album...and then you listen to it for the 4th or 5th time and you think "why do I really like this now"...yes that's what I'm going through now.

Out of all of Cradle's albums, this is the one that I always had mixed feelings about. For some odd reason, I just never got it, or favoured it amongst these guys discography, but not I really love this album.

Now historicaly speaking, this album, technically is a black metal classic and I can see why. When I listen to this album, I can see parallels to Emperor's In The Nightside Eclipse or Dimmu Borgir's Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, mainly because they were released around the same time, but because they took a dying genre, and really turned it on its face and showed progression and how the genre can still live and breathe, and these 3 albums really prooved that.

This album really is special because it was a turning point for the band, with what was shown on Vempire was taken a further step foward into creating the Cradle Of Filth style and sound. Taking gothic rock elements and mixing it with the speed, darkness, vocal styles of black metal, and even having punky grindcore and death metal moments. The sound really is unique, and people trying to copy it really doesn't bode them any well.

The album has some Cradle standards...the epic over 7 minute songs, the shortened songs, the intros and interludes, but the album also seems to have alot of experimentating, especially with structure. The songs really have exciting structures that keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. Dani's vocals are also different. I do like them, but at times, they feel strained and maybe some techniques are done a bit too much, but to be honest, that was what put me off the album a bit, and now I see no problem with them, in fact I really like his vocals on this album. I have to admit, his shrieks are pretty epic.

Lyrically, the album deals with vampyric topics, which isn't a big shock, but its highlighted a good bit more, and makes the album more enjoyable I think, mainly due to their storylike nature.

This is also the first real full length album to feature Sarah Jezebel Deva, and it's good to see her on top form, because her haunting voice really does go well with

1. Humana Inspired To Nightmare - Great intro. I think this is one of those intros that really sticks out to me. 10/10

2. Heaven Torn Asunder - An incredibly exciting song. Great riffs and interesting lyrics. The ending reminds me of Chthonic, and it's easy to see why this album would be a big influence for them. Great arrangement. 10/10

3. Funeral In Carpathia - Best song on the album in my opinion. It's just classic Cradle at their best.The epic Iron Maiden parts are killer. The female vocals are cool too. The arrangement is just beautiful (odd to say about a Cradle Of Filth song haha)

4. A Gothic Romance (Red Roses For The Devil's Whore) - Such an exciting and dramatic song. Love the atmopsheric intro. This song is epic! Amazing arrangement and some very kick ass riffs. 10/10

5. Malice Through The Looking Glass - Now this is something a bit different. This song is really expiermental, in that it's structure is very odd, yet it just strikes such a heavenly chord. The intro sounds alot like A Bruise Upon The Silent Moon, but that doesn't matter, it's a great into. The instrumental sections are really beautiful, and how the song plays out is just amazing. It's a marvel that needs to be beheld I think. 10/10

6. Dusk & Her Embrace - Wow! What a head twister (Exorcist style :D) Very sporadic and mind blowing. The past paced parts really are amazing. The vocals are out of this world too. 10/10

7. The Graveyard By Moonlight - Nice atmospherioc interlude. I like the repetition of the familiar themes (I have to admit, the interludes really are amazing too). 10/10

8. Beauty Slept In Sodom - Great lyrics and gothicy dark moments throughout. I love the discordy dark bits near the end. Yet the song is incredibly melodic. 9/10

9. Haunted Shores - The fast bits really are incredibly and add to the epic feel of the song. Exciting and eerie throughout. The ending is cool too (Cronos from Venom...woop) 10/10

CONCLUSION: I really regret not loving this album at first. I think if you don't like it at first, really listen to it again...AND I MEAN LISTEN!!! I also think that this album should be on the top 161 list, because it's just that good.

Dusk and Her Embrace is the 2nd full-length studio album by UK black/ goth metal act Cradle of Filth. The album was released in August 1996 by Music for Nations.

The music on the album is already this early in the band´s career the unmistakable sound of Cradle of Filth. The trademark combination of symphonic/ melodic black metal and goth metal. The songs on the album are quite adventurous and most are pretty long, which gives them time to develop, which in this case also means that there are a lot of different sections in each song. This makes for quite a challenging listen, but the band never lose sight of memorability and you´ll find plenty of hooks in the music. While this certainly is extreme metal ( lots of blasting drums and aggressive parts), and especially Dani Filth´s vocals come off as really extreme at times, the songs are actually pretty melodic and also to a point pretty accessible. The above mentioned vocals are both growling, raspy, really high pitched screaming and clean deep goth type talking/ singing. Dani Filth is a very versatile vocalist. In addition to Dani Filth´s various vocal styles there are also occassional female vocals in the songs. The serve as a kind of dark erotic spice.

Dusk and Her Embrace is quite the intriguing album and fans of the goth tinged black metal style should enjoy this one greatly. Personally there are a few things that keep me from awarding the album with a full 4 star rating though. First of all the extremely high pitched screaming vocals that Dani Filth performs at times. I really have a hard time listening to them when they occur in longer passages on the album. They sound hysteric and unpleasant to my ears. When that vocal style is used more moderately in the songs it works much better. Secondly the production is a bit thin. It´s not lo-fi by any means, but it´s not that well sounding to my ears. So overall a 3.5 star rating is warranted.

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