A lot of material for the album was written while the band were still under Cacophonous Records' contract. Speaking to Ryan Bird of Kerrang! In 2008, Dani Filth remembered:
This was a bit of a weird one. We actually recorded it as our second release, but we then had to take our label to court which meant that most of it was temporarily lost for legal reasons. The next thing I know the band had split into two-halves, and after releasing the V Empire EP my half was able to re-record and finally release the album. In a way it actually worked in our favour, because after nearly two years of legal battles and non-stop hassle I think the troubles of the times actually came through on the recording. We actually worked with Kit Woolven on that one, who most people knew from working with Thin Lizzy, so it had a very lush edge as well as this distinctive, dark vibe. To this day this is the album that a lot of our fans seem to be really drawn to. And it catapulted us into a whole new world.
According to Dani Filth, a music video was produced for the title track, featuring the instrumental "Carmilla's Masque" as a coda.
The album climaxes with a guest speech from Venom's Cronos on the final track, "Haunted Shores".