Sound — 8
The sound on this album is not excellent. I felt that the mood and atmosphere that the music brings was not harnessed by enough quality sound and production, however I wouldnt say it was bad. As I mentioned before this album has great atmosphere and truly paints a dark and vivid picture of the lyrical concept/story that Cruelty And The Beast presents. So overall, this is the album where Cradle Of Filth make the shift in their sound. The keyboards on this album may be the best they've ever been, the guitars are obviously more melodic and COF are set on playing more emotional and more meaningful music, not to mention Dani Filth altering/varying his vocal style since Dusk And Her Embrace, so that you can not only here the lyrics a little better but they add more melody and emotion then they did in previous albums.
Lyrics — 10
In my opinion, their are very few acts that can pull off lyrics like Cradle of Filth. Dani Filth is not only one of the most unique and interesting vocalists in metal but he also puts together some of the best lyrics I have ever seen/heard. Getting to the point that is lyrics from Cruelty and the Beast, the albums concept of course is based on serial killer, Elizabeth Bathory who lived sometime during the 1500's or 1600's (not sure). From what I've heard (I'm probably missing stuff or am wrong) she killed young virgin's and bathed in their blood because she believed it would keep her beautiful. Anyway, people were sceptical about the idea of a concept album especially since it was based on this story and many predicted that this album would be CoF's downfall. However, Dani Filth pulled off a lyrical genius. His lyrics tell vivid and very detailed stories once again using a wide yet appropriate range of vocabulary. The lyrics here never come off as lame or cheesy, though I found that the intro words spoken by Ingrid Pitt did rub off the wrong way just a little. Dani Filth as mentioned before has varied his vocal style just a little but it really shows on "Cruelty Brought Three Orchids" for example.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, Cruelty And The Beast is arguably COF's best album. With this album, Cradle have gone farther from the black metal sound than they have before and it has become harder to categorize them since they are so different. Although die hard black metal guys would disagree with might, Cradle do show a black metal influence. My take on them is blackmetal/gothmetal/extrememetal/metal. Their is more of a goth metal vibe than black metal and you can tell that they are also influenced by bands like Iron Maiden and Slayer.