Last updated

Thornography cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released17 October 2006
Genre Extreme metal
Label Roadrunner
Producer Rob Caggiano
Cradle of Filth chronology
Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder
Singles from Thornography
  1. "Temptation"
    Released: 2006
  2. "Dirge Inferno"
    Released: 2006
  3. "Tonight in Flames"
    Released: 2007
  4. "The Foetus of a New Day Kicking"
    Released: 2007

Thornography is the seventh studio album by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. It was released on 17 October 2006, by record label Roadrunner. It was produced by former Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano, engineered by Dan Turner and mixed by Andy Sneap, and once again features narration by Doug Bradley (as with Midian and Nymphetamine ). It is Cradle of Filth's second album as a five-piece, as keyboardist Martin Powell left the band in 2005. This would also be the band's final album to feature drummer Adrian Erlandsson, and the only full-length to feature guitarist Charles Hedger.



Album title

Dani Filth explained the album's title in 2006:

This title represents mankind's obsession with sin and self. The thorn combines images of that which troubled Christ, the Crown of Thorns, thus intimating man's seeming desire to hurt God and also of the protecting thorn and the need to enclose a secret place or the soul from attack. An addiction to self-punishment or something equally poisonous. A mania. Twisted desires. Barbed dreams. A fetish. An obsession with cruelty. Savage nature. Paganism over Christianity. The title can also represent a sexual attraction to religious iconography as in the case of the "possessed" Loudun nuns. I like the title because to me it invokes images of a darker, sexier pre-Raphaelite scene wherein Sleeping Beauty's castle is won and she is awoken by a poisonous kiss. A darker, more adult fairytale. [1]

Album cover

In news posted on the official Cradle of Filth website in mid-May 2006, it was revealed that the planned artwork for Thornography had been vetoed by Roadrunner Records. A replacement was soon forthcoming, although numerous CD booklets had already been printed with the original image. Filth stated in an interview with Metal Hammer that the controversy was over the nakedness of the female figure's legs on the original cover: "When we put the original next to the new version, it was so slightly changed... The nymph's skirt was a little longer. It was like a game of spot the difference".[ citation needed ] Charles Hedger told that the new cover "is practically the same... A lot of Americans are really religious and Roadrunner were basically saying that Wal-Mart was not going to take Cradle albums with that on the cover. But Wal-Mart never takes Cradle albums anyhow, so it doesn't make any difference." [2]

Musical style

Paul Allender told Terrorizer magazine:

There are quite a few guitar solos on this album. To be honest, I've never really classed myself as a lead player as such, but this is the first time I've sat down and seriously practiced lead work. I've been so involved in actually writing new material and coming up with song structures that I haven't had time to practice all the frilly things that go on top of it. Up 'till now, there hasn't really been much room for guitar solos as such. The riffs we write, they're not riffs that are meant to be soloed on top of. They're melodic within themselves. But I'm a great believer that less is definitely more. I love listening to all the shreddy, widdly stuff, but I have no interest in playing it. This new album is quite guitar-orientated. The last album was, but this is definitely more melodic. Dare I say it, there are quite a lot of typical Maiden-esque harmonies in there. [1]

Track-by-track commentary

Dani Filth provided the following explanations for the album's individual tracks in a press release: [3]

"Dirge Inferno"

Another end-of-world opus in the vein of "Cthulhu Dawn" or "Mother of Abominations". "Dirge Inferno" is the pseudonym for the "Great Beast" that arises and wages war during the Book of Revelation. He is the epitome of the turmoil and chaos of the end time. He characterizes mankind's warmongering nature and every attribute that is in conflict with stability and peace. He is Armageddon made flesh.

"Tonight in Flames"

This concerns itself with fiery religious fanaticism stoked up by the sudden death of a loved one. The idea behind the song is that even the most ardent supporter of peace can be drawn into violent conflict if their faith is shattered beyond repair. The title reflects the onset of spiritual darkness that pervades and eventually clouds the mind through irrevocable grief and irretrievable loss. Without sounding too political, one can draw a parallel with the current clime of terrorism, where normally peaceful religious groups are being incensed to hatred.

"Libertina Grimm"

Libertine Grimm is another gothic character who is actually an amalgam of many different women. She is sexy, erudite and possessed of an extraordinary wit, but this is counterbalanced by an unhealthy appetite for self-destruction and flights of morbid fancy, brought on by dark secrets, terribly chic drugs and wild, sexual abandonment. She is a gluttonous Miss Muffet; the fairy-tale girl who ate the Big Bad Wolf; and the beauty who slept with one eye on the coming talent. Libertina Grimm is every goth girl's coven mistress.

"The Byronic Man"

Based on the infamous poet and libertine Lord Byron, the song is written from a first-hand perspective that is not only historical but also self-analytical, musing on the individual's slide into decline and relishing fully in its rich, unwholesome flavour. Ville Valo from HIM was asked to contribute vocals to this song, partly due to the need for a good clean male vocal, but mainly to have Byron portrayed by someone who may be the modern-day equivalent.

"I Am the Thorn"

The closest thing to a title track on the album concerns itself with a livid God, who has seen the multitude of religious wars fought in his many names and has sent his right hand, The Thorn, an avenging angel of death, to mete out a collective punishment. If the concept of an all-encompassing God is to be believed, then why should it not be also believed that his will could turn grim and 'old testament' on the self-professed prophets who war in his name? "I Am the Thorn" is a song about the dire consequences of waging war in the name of religion and territory.

"Cemetery and Sundown"

In response to Cradle's recent lull in all matters of a vampiric nature, this track is akin to a revenant anthem: a song that unites the legions of the undead, urging them to forget their covenant with mortal kind, come forth from the shadows and rekindle their passion to muster and master the night.

"Lovesick for Mina"

Another song whose essence is undoubtedly in the title. Mina Harker is the intended bride of Bram Stoker's infamous Count Dracula. The lyrics in this case are set in a time when Mina is irrevocably lost to him and he is pining for his immortal beloved. This song is a blend of gothic romance and balls-to-the-wall thrash.

"The Foetus of a New Day Kicking"

After a "long dark night of the soul" comes a dawn that is twice as potent. Using religious iconography as a theme once again and flirting with more modern tragedy, this song deals not only with the notion of despair and spiritual death, but also, far more importantly, with the resurrection, twice as strong, of the broken individual.

"Under Huntress Moon"

This is a hymn to the beauty of the Moon, as personified by the celestial huntress Diana. The lyrics in this song are very reminiscent of Cradle's earlier works where Pagan imagery is imbued with strong female characteristics. The lyrics' morbid cadence hint at the author's bewitched state of mind.

Several further tracks were prepared during the Thornography sessions, but not finished until after the album's release. These were later added to the expanded Harder, Darker, Faster: Thornography Deluxe, and Filth spoke about them in the magazine Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles . [4]

"Murder in the Thirst"

One of our classic intros. The title was stolen from the lyrics of "Cemetery and Sundown".

"The Snake-Eyed and the Venomous"

This is a sort of metaphorical anti-critic song.

"Halloween II"

A Samhain cover. This has been remixed and remastered, so it sounds a bit better than it did on the Underworld: Evolution soundtrack, which was the only place it was available prior to this.

"Courting Baphomet"

Another metaphorical, fable-type song, in the vein of "Her Ghost in the Fog".


A track by Shakespears Sister that we've bastardised. Now it sounds a bit more like a symphonic "Nymphetamine".

"Devil to the Metal"

A celebration of everything dark and nasty. It could have come from V Empire ; it's really fast and brutal, with some nice drop-downs and weird bits.


Three cover versions were recorded during the album's sessions, namely Samhain's "Halloween II", Shakespears Sister's "Stay", and Heaven 17's "Temptation". "Halloween II" (renamed "HW2") was released on the Underworld: Evolution soundtrack. It is included as a bonus track on the Japanese release of the album. "Temptation" is part of Thornography's finalised track listing, and features vocals by Harry. Harry also stars in the promo video for the track, which was released a week before the album as a digital single. "Stay" surfaced in early 2008 on the Harder, Darker, Faster re-release (see below). A press release by Liv Kristine [1] announced that "Stay" would be Kristine's second guest vocal spot with the band (following "Nymphetamine"). Paul Allender later confirmed however that the duet never actually took place, although versions were recorded with both Harry and Sarah Jezebel Deva. [5] The latter is the version included on the re-release.

Early reports during the album's production process mentioned a track called "The Flora of Nightfall, The Fauna of War". [6] It is unknown which track this was the working title for, although the words appear as a lyric in "Cemetery and Sundown".


Thornography was released on 17 October 2006. It debuted at number 66 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, [7] selling nearly 13,000 copies. [8] It reached number 46 in the UK Albums Chart. [9]

Harder, Darker, Faster: Thornography Deluxe

Harder, Darker, Faster: Thornography Deluxe was released on 4 February 2008. This version is a CD-DVD package, with the original album in standard stereo format on CD and DVD and the following additional bonus tracks on the DVD only: "Murder in the Thirst", "The Snake-Eyed and the Venomous", "Halloween II" (a cover of the song by Samhain which had previously appeared on the soundtrack to the film Underworld: Evolution ), "Courting Baphomet", "Stay" (a cover of the song by Shakespears Sister) and "Devil to the Metal". Original plans to include "Mater Lachrymarum", a song from the soundtrack to the 2007 Dario Argento film The Mother of Tears that Dani contributed to, were scrapped due to rights issues.[ citation needed ]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [10]
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [11]
Exclaim! favourable [12]
Kerrang! unfavourable [13]
Metal Hammer favourable [14]
PopMatters Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [15]
Terrorizer favourable [16]

Critical response to Thornography has been generally favourable. Metal Hammer called it "undoubtedly their heaviest and most guitar-dominated record in many years", though commenting that the band's cover of Heaven 17's "Temptation" is "ridiculous" and "best avoided". [14] Terrorizer called the album "sharp, slick, elegant, focused, catchy, accessible heavy gothic metal, with the dark romantic schtick still present, but reined in and more explicitly parodic". [16] AllMusic commented on the album's comparatively more mainstream style: " the sound of Thornography, CoF are aiming at playing an arena near you sometime in the near future." [11] PopMatters wrote: "Thornography, all things taken into consideration, is one of most solid additions in Cradle of Filth's history". [15]

Kerrang! , on the other hand, commented: "The black magic for which they're usually so dependable is in short supply... If there was a word to sum Thornography up, it would be 'incomplete'..." [13]

Track listing

All lyrics are written by Dani Filth; all music is composed by Cradle of Filth (Filth, Paul Allender, Charles Hedger, Dave Pybus, Adrian Erlandsson), except where indicated..

1."Under Pregnant Skies She Comes Alive Like Miss Leviathan" (instrumental) 1:40
2."Dirge Inferno" 4:53
3."Tonight in Flames" 5:55
4."Libertina Grimm" 5:51
5."The Byronic Man" (featuring Ville Valo of HIM) 5:03
6."I Am the Thorn" 7:06
7."Cemetery and Sundown" 5:37
8."Lovesick for Mina" 7:00
9."The Foetus of a New Day Kicking" 3:43
10."Rise of the Pentagram" (instrumental)Allender7:02
11."Under Huntress Moon" 6:58
12."Temptation" (Heaven 17 cover, featuring Dirty Harry) Glenn Gregory, Ian Craig Marsh, Martyn Ware 3:47
Japanese edition bonus track
13."Halloween II" (Samhain cover) Glenn Danzig 3:36
Harder, Darker, Faster: Thornography Deluxe DVD one bonus tracks
13."Murder in the Thirst (Instrumental)" 1:17
14."The Snake-Eyed and the Venomous" 5:47
15."Halloween II" (Samhain cover)Danzig3:36
16."Courting Baphomet" 5:17
17."Stay" (Shakespears Sister cover) Siobhan Fahey, Marcella Detroit, Jean Guiot 4:55
18."Devil to the Metal" 6:18
19."Temptation" (video)  
20."Tonight in Flames" (video)  
21."The Foetus of a New Day Kicking" (video)  
22."Making of "The Foetus of a New Day Kicking"" (video)  


Cradle of Filth

Session/guest musicians

  • Doug Bradley – narration on tracks 3 and 10
  • Ville Valo – vocals on "The Byronic Man"
  • Dirty Harry – vocals on "Temptation"
  • Martin Walkyier – backing vocals on "The Snake-Eyed and the Venomous"
  • Mark Newby-Robson – keyboards on original edition, "Courting Baphomet" and "Devil to the Metal"
  • Christopher Jon – additional keyboards on original edition and "The Snake-Eyed and the Venomous"
  • Chris Rehn – producer, composition and performance of track 1, orchestral arrangements on "Stay", backing vocals on track 1
  • Tommy Rehn – producer and additional arrangements of track 1, orchestral arrangements on "Stay", backing vocals on track 1
  • Veronica Rehn – vocals on track 1
  • Tony Konberg, Hanna Tornqvist, Linnea Kibe – backing vocals on track 1
  • Rob Caggiano – drums on "Stay", backing vocals on "Halloween II"
  • Aric Prentice, Keith Halliday, Charlie Jenkins, Moira Johnson, Ruth Nixon, Chris Mitchell, Rachel Line, William Harrison, Sophie Allen, Laela Adamson – choir vocals
  • Laura Reid – cello


  • Rob Caggiano – producer
  • Dan Turner – engineer
  • Andy Sneap - mixing and mastering at Backstage Studios, Derbyshire
  • Daniel Presley – arrangement of orchestral passages, composition and arrangement of "Murder in the Thirst"


2006 Finnish Albums Chart 16 [17]
Austrian Albums Chart20 [18]
German Albums Chart27 [19]
New Zealand Albums Chart28 [20]
Australian Albums Chart 35 [21]
Swedish Albums Chart 37 [22]
UK Albums Chart 46 [9]
GfK Dutch Chart48 [23]
French Albums Chart48 [24]
Canadian Albums Chart50 [25]
Ultratop Belgian Chart (Flanders)58 [26]
Billboard 200 (USA)66 [7]
Swiss Albums Chart71 [27]
Oricon Japanese Albums Chart104 [28]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cradle of Filth</span> English extreme metal band

Cradle of Filth are an English extreme metal band formed in Suffolk in 1991. The band's musical style evolved originally from black metal to a cleaner and more "produced" amalgam of gothic metal, symphonic metal and other metal genres. Their lyrical themes and imagery are heavily influenced by Gothic literature, poetry, mythology and horror films. The band consists of its founding member, vocalist Dani Filth, drummer Martin 'Marthus' Škaroupka, bassist Daniel Firth, guitarists Marek 'Ashok' Šmerda and Donny Burbage, and keyboardist Zoe Marie Federoff.

<i>Damnation and a Day</i> 2003 studio album by Cradle of Filth

Damnation and a Day is the fifth studio album by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. It was released on 10 March 2003 and is Cradle of Filth's only album on a major label, Sony Records, after which they transferred to Roadrunner. It features the one hundred and one-piece Budapest Film Orchestra including the forty-piece Budapest Film Choir. The album is partly based on John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost.

<i>The Principle of Evil Made Flesh</i> 1994 studio album by Cradle of Filth

The Principle of Evil Made Flesh is the debut studio album by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. It was released on 24 February 1994 through Cacophonous Records, following three demos released between 1991 and 1993. The album's sound is significantly more raw than on subsequent releases, and frontman Dani Filth's vocals differ from his later style and technique. The album is a then-unusual hybrid of gothic metal and black metal. This would be the only album featuring guitarist Paul Ryan and keyboardist Benjamin Ryan; guitarist Paul Allender also left the band at this point, but returned five years later for Midian.

<i>Dusk and Her Embrace</i> 1996 album by Cradle of Filth

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dani Filth</span> British heavy metal vocalist

Daniel Lloyd Davey, known professionally as Dani Filth, is a British singer who is the lead vocalist, lyricist and founding member of the extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. He has a five-octave vocal range.

<i>Nymphetamine</i> 2004 studio album by Cradle of Filth

Nymphetamine is the sixth studio album by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. Recorded between February and July 2004, it was released on 28 September by record label Roadrunner. Nymphetamine marks the first recorded appearance of guitarist James McIlroy on a Cradle of Filth album. He would later record guitar for the band's 2010 release Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa. Nymphetamine is also the band's final album to feature keyboardist Martin Powell.

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Midian is the fourth studio album by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. It was released on 30 October 2000, through Music for Nations. The album marks the return of guitarist Paul Allender to the band, as well as the introduction of drummer Adrian Erlandsson and keyboard player Martin Powell. It also features Doug Bradley as the narrator for various songs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sarah Jezebel Deva</span> British singer

Sarah Jane, better known by her stage name Sarah Jezebel Deva, is an English singer. She was the female soprano vocalist for Cradle of Filth for 14 years and the frontwoman of the band Angtoria for 10 years. In 2009, Deva started her self-titled solo project, releasing two studio albums and one EP from 2010 to 2012, and in 2020 announced she would be working with former Angtoria bandmate Chris Rehn on a new project entitled Torn Between Two Worlds.

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<i>Bitter Suites to Succubi</i> 2001 EP by Cradle of Filth

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Live Bait for the Dead is a live album by Cradle of Filth, recorded at Nottingham Rock City on 14 April 2001 and released on 19 August 2002. The album was released and distributed on the band's own Abracadaver label. The same gig is included on the DVD Heavy, Left-Handed and Candid. Following the same format as Lovecraft & Witch Hearts, the main album is supplemented by a second disc of rare tracks and remixes. This would be bassist Robin Eaglestone's final recorded appearance.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dave Pybus</span> British extreme metal musician

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V Empire or Dark Faerytales in Phallustein is the first EP by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth, and the first release following their 1994 debut studio album The Principle of Evil Made Flesh. It was released on 22 April 1996, and was the band's final release for Cacophonous Records.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cradle of Filth discography</span>

Cradle of Filth was formed in Suffolk, England, in 1991. The band's original members consisted of vocalist Dani Filth, guitarist Paul Ryan, keyboardist Ben Ryan, bassist John Pritchard and drummer Darren Gardner. With this line-up, Cradle of Filth recorded a demo in 1992, titled Invoking the Unclean. Soon after, they recorded their second demo, Orgiastic Pleasures Foul with new guitarist Robin Eaglestone and new drummer Was Sarginson. Robin left the band shortly afterwards, but following the departure of John Pritchard, Eaglestone returned to take his place as bassist. Guitarist Paul Allender joined the band at the same time. Following these changes, another demo was recorded, titled Total Fucking Darkness. Sarginson left the band soon after, paving the way for the entry of drummer Nicholas Barker.

<i>Godspeed on the Devils Thunder</i> 2008 studio album by Cradle of Filth

Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder is the eighth studio album by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. It was released on 28 October 2008, through record label Roadrunner. It is the band's fourth concept album, after Cruelty and the Beast (1998), Midian (2000), and Damnation and a Day (2003), dealing with the life of the 15th-century French baron Gilles de Rais.

<i>Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa</i> 2010 studio album by Cradle of Filth

Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa is the ninth studio album by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. It was released on 1 November 2010 by record label Peaceville and is a concept album centred on the demon Lilith. It is Cradle of Filth's only album to feature keyboardist Ashley Ellyllon, and is also the band's final album with Dave Pybus as their bass player and James McIlroy as their second guitar player.

<i>Midnight in the Labyrinth</i> 2012 compilation album by Cradle of Filth

Midnight in the Labyrinth is an orchestral compilation album by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. The re-recorded songs selected are from the band's first four releases. The title comes from the lyrics of "Mistress from the Sucking Pit", a bonus track on some editions of Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa.

<i>Evermore Darkly</i> 2011 EP by Cradle of Filth

Evermore Darkly... is the fourth EP by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth, released in October 2011. A companion piece to the 2010 album Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa, it contains two new tracks in "Transmission from Hell" and "Thank Your Lucky Scars", plus demo versions of some Venus Aversa tracks. An orchestral version of "Summer Dying Fast" is also included as a taster for the subsequent Midnight in the Labyrinth collection. The CD was originally packaged with a DVD containing a documentary, a live show from 25 June 2011's Graspop festival, and the promo video for "Lilith Immaculate".

<i>Hammer of the Witches</i> 2015 studio album by Cradle of Filth

Hammer of the Witches is the eleventh studio album by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. It was released on 10 July 2015 and is their first release under record label Nuclear Blast. Hammer of the Witches features the band's new line-up following the departure of Paul Allender and James McIlroy, which includes new guitarists Marek 'Ashok' Šmerda and Richard Shaw and new keyboardist and female vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft.


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