Beautifully executed, sensitively packaged but unlikely to be essential listening for any Cradle Of Filth fan, Midnight In The Labyrinth is a step into self-indulgent territory for the Suffolk metallers.
Normally, Cradle’s stock in trade is an expert combination of black metal, thrash metal and trad metal with a very British flavour, juiced-up with gothic sound effects, keyboards and symphonic elements – most of which are deliberately absent here. Though the band are very clear about their intentions in the sleevenotes – specifically, to create string/ synth versions of songs from their first four albums – you may find yourself looking at your watch after the first half-hour (and there are two CDs of music here).
Sure, the stated aim of paying homage to horror soundtrack composers such as Danny Elfman has been achieved, but 19 songs is about 15 too many. One new track, Goetia (Invoking The Unclean), stretches lavishly out over 13 minutes of creepy atmospherics, but the rest fail to stand out. Maybe classical music fans’ opinions would differ, and without a doubt horror disciples will find something to enjoy here but, for the rest of us, life’s just too short.