We open up with “Exquisite Torments Await” and from a titular standpoint it’s wholly accurate, such is COF’s often grandiose yet macabre musical onslaught and it sets us up for the album really rather well; initially sounding more like the score from a horror movie with its chilling atmospherics, we soon descend into the depths of hell with a flurry of metal and some ominous Latin-esque verse, layered within like something out of THE OMEN, it’s typically foreboding as we lead directly into the albums lead single “Heartbreak And Séance”. It starts off rather melodically with some smooth guitar but it quickly escalates into COF’s trademark blend of fast-paced demonic thrash metal, Dani’s vocals piercing as ever with one of the most distinctive shrieks in all of metal, adding perfect character to their traditionally dark lyrics. The same can also be said of “Achingly Beautiful”…another trademark shriek from Dani, double kick-drums and even a subtle layering of church organ, add to that backing vocals by Lindsay Schoolcraft in her narrative delivery, we’re treated to a dose of old school Gothic COF.
The title track here; “The Seductiveness Of Decay” hammers home the main theme of the album as a whole…firmly planted in Victorian England, Dani states that the album has been inspired by the Victorian’s obsession with the macabre, the supernatural…all of their fascinations with ghosts and the ghoulish and it’s delivered within a prog-inspired Gothic metal onslaught, despite it’s obvious ferocity in places it goes though certain key changes, assisting in the story telling through the era, before we’re met with album highlight “Vengeful Spirit”. Featuring returning collaborator and former LEAVE’S EYES vocalist Liv Kristine, the dual-tone vocal approach softens the song ever so slightly (despite a simply shredding guitar solo) and it only amps up the Gothic feeling here, before eventually we finish up on a cover; “Alison Hell” by Canadian thrash veterans ANNIHILATOR. Naturally tweaked to accommodate COF’s own chilling, atmospheric styling’s, it’s appropriate by name and gives general fans of metal an extra little treat…and it’s better than their cover of “Temptation” so at least there’s that going for it already. Overall though, it’s a solid record and credit to COF for their consistency over the years…admittedly some tracks tend to blur with little distinction between them musically, and with an average track length of around 7 minutes it’s not a casual listen and to many it would appear to drag on, especially if you aren’t a fan of Dani’s high pitched vocals, but it’s a decent record with a strong theme, however I’m hardly seduced.