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The Best Gothic Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2017

Cradle Of Filth's music has both endured and expanded over the better part of three decades, and Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness Of Decay is no less than yet another monstrous blend of ornamental terror and pummelling vitriol. Infused with Victorian gothic horror both lyrically and artistically, the record is a pitch-black manifestation of Dani's attraction to death and the glittering, lengthy process of self-annihilation.


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You don't see a lot of bands publishing their debut album 20 years after their first demo. Dogma is one of them; most of the members have cut their teeth playing death-doom during Dogma's hiatus, and they've brought some doom into their gothic incarnation as well. A Portuguese metal band with male and female vocals will draw comparisons to Moonspell and Ava Inferi, and those comparisons are justified: just like these bands, Dogma plays mature, lush, steady music that occasionally explodes with sustained passion. Hopefully they won't crawl back into the Goth Cave for the next two decades.

The elegant strings and keys that accompany Dominia's lachrymose melodies give Stabat Mater a ballroom doom flavor, the kind of ruffled antiquarian formality that the gothic genre so prizes. With all the melody and orchestration, Stabat Mater would be almost fun if it weren't so... well, gothic metal. When the morose clean passages reach the peak of depression saturation, melodic death takes over to break the spine of the tempo and the listener alike. Dark themes, dark tones, and dark colors abound - it's a veritable carnival of sitting alone in the corner and crying.

Lacrimosa sounds both sinister and sickly, an unusual mixture of aggressive and vulnerable moods. Tilo Wolff's unique, wounded vocals give Lacrimosa a very human, personal touch that balances out the vaunted classical elements, but Lacrimosa becomes truly wicked when the death metal bulldozes in. Turns out that the chiming of bells and swirling of orchestral effects complements grinding death metal really well - and growling in German sounds very threatening. Go figure.
Moonspell have returned with a concept album sung entirely in the Portuguese language and focusing on the massive earthquake that took place in Lisbon in 1755. The band has paid much attention to detail in this ambitious effort; the instrumentation, the song structure and sequence, and the production are near flawless. Melancholic and intense, explosive and atmospheric, 1755 is full of mesmerizing moments and a proud artistic expression of a devastating event.


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