So, the year was 1999, and CRADLE OF FILTH, now on the rise of becoming Black Metal celebrities, released a mysterious EP called "From The Cradle To Enslave". If you can recall, last time CRADLE OF FILTH spawned forth an EP from the bowels of their imagination, the legendary "VEmpire" was born, however, that's about as far as any comparison can go: they're both EPs. The content on this one is nothing short of dubious.
The first song is actually decent enough, and has proven itself to be a live-favourite. It's quite catchy in CRADLE OF FILTH terms, but offers enough variation to keep matters interesting. If you remember, this was also CRADLE OF FILTH's first promo video, which was quite amusing too as a matter of fact, featuring over-the-top gore, hilarious killings, explicit nudity and some dwarves thrown in for good measure. Well, what do expect from CRADLE OF FILTH anyway? :)
Unfortunately, the video was NOT included on this EP. A fatal mistake, because that would have redeemed "From The Cradle To Enslave" quite a bit. It goes rapidly downhill from here. "Of Dark Blood And F**king" is just an uninspired affair. The only interesting thing about it is that it features soon-to-be-permanent-member Adrian Erlandsson (AT THE GATES) on drums.
Then we get two covers: "Death Comes Ripping" (MISFITS) and "Sleepless" (ANATHEMA), which both aren't very exciting. It only leaves you wondering when the good stuff is going to kick back in, but at this point, all hope is crushed by the truly abominable "Perverts Church", a techno version of "From The Cradle To Enslave". (note: the US version features "Dawn Of Eternity" instead) Let's just hope they weren't really serious about this one. It's completely pointless anyhow… but not quite as pointless as the final track: a remix of the excellent "Dusk & Her Embrace" track "Funeral In Carpathia". Suffice to say you should stick to the original.
Well, what to think of this? This not something you'd expect from CRADLE OF FILTH. Usually, they deliver the goods, give the fans their money's worth, but this time they missed and failed miserably. A disappointing release for the fans, and the definitive sell-out record for the haters. On the other hand, "From The Cradle To Enslave" is in fact a perfect reflection of the band's internal conflicts. This output features CRADLE OF FILTH's most inconsistent line-up to date, with different drummers and guitarists on different songs and even a different line-up for the video. At the time, the future of CRADLE OF FILTH was probably unsure…
Final verdict: don't buy it unless you're only interested in completing your CRADLE OF FILTH discography! Even fans should probably avoid this. Besides, "From The Cradle To Enslave" is featured on "Lovecraft & Witch Hearts" as well. Buy that one instead. (Online August 11, 2003)
Guest Reviewer Ben Meuleman