Cradle Of Filth with special guests Wednesday 13 & Raven Black
March 7th, 2019 at the House Of Blues Las Vegas, NV
The Black Goddess Rises
I have to thank MTV2’s Headbanger’s Ball for introducing me to Cradle Of Filth and extreme metal in general. Between the band’s interview with Jamey Jasta promoting their new album as well as their tour with Arch Enemy and watching the video for “Nymphetamine (Fix)”, I had to check out this band.
From there I bought pretty much everything of theirs I could find. At the time that meant six albums, two EPs, and two DVDs. I loved it all and for the following Easter when my mother gave me; her teenage son, money to spend on satanic black metal at Tower Records. So I spent that money on stone cold classics from Mayhem, Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, and it was there I finished my collection with an import copy of Cradle’s first album ‘The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh’ with a ‘Made In England’ decal on the front.
A Gothic Romance (Red Roses for the Devil’s Whore)
While I continued to buy each new Cradle release, there was something missing from their later output and I’ve since chalked it up to a lack of elegance and romanticism ala “Malice In The Looking Glass” as well as their Iron Maiden inspired grandiosity of such songs as “Dusk And Her Embrace”. That’s not to say I’ve written their work of the past decade plus off as shit or anything. I mean seriously I own it all by now - at least on CD.
If you’ll forgive me for this tangent I’m only a modest collector of vinyl and holy shit is much of Cradle’s early discography in high demand. For example the least expensive copy of ‘Dusk And Her Embrace’ I can find right now on Discogs is a picture disc (possibly bootleg?) with an asking price of $89.99 USD plus shipping from Canada. Even the 2010 Peaceville reissues are ridiculously priced topping out at $262.89. I’ll be sticking to the stuff I can find for around thirty bucks, thanks.
Live Bait for the Dead
But as for how the band is live you’ve come to the right man. This was my third time seeing Dani Filth and company. The first for the Viva La Bands tour with Gwar, CKY, and Veins of Jenna in 2007 at the Joint and the second on Valentine’s Day 2009 with Satyricon and Septic Flesh - my very last show in Las Vegas before moving to Louisiana.
I don’t remember much of their Viva La Bands set but their show in 2009 has stood out in my mind for years as a kick ass night where I was surprised and thrilled when they’d pull out classics like “The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh”. That night was also made memorable when I got to meet and have a tour poster signed by Satyr and Frost of Satyricon which is still one of my most prized bits of concert memorabilia.
But it’s been ten years and how did they hold up? Well spoiler alert: they fucking killed it man. The start of the show brought me straight back to my entry point for the band. Nymphetamine’s intro track "Satyriasis" led straight into the first two proper songs off the album "Gilded Cunt" and "Nemesis" and it’s like I’m a pimple faced teenager again.
Notably absent from the setlist is nearly any song from 2006-2012 with the sole exception being the killer track “Honey And Sulfur” from ‘Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder’ however there are four tracks from the last two albums three of which are from their most recent release, 'Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness of Decay.'
I have to say I like this group of hellraisers. It’s good to see that the current line-up seems to be having fun. Guitarist Rich Shaw and keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft in particular seem to having a blast. The audience could see Schoolcraft step away from the keys to lip sync with the choir parts of “Heartbreak and Seance” as she does in the music video. More than once she could even be caught with a smile on her face.
Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids
In order to talk about Cradle Of FIlth’s future we again look to the past. Just before I made the move back to Las Vegas I picked up ‘Dusk and Her Embrace… The Original Sin’ which was the original recording of their second full-length that didn’t see the light of day until twenty-one years later. I bring this up because a total remix of the full-length follow up 1998’s ‘Cruelty and the Beast’ has been in the works for some time now and just needs to be released.
From ‘Cryptoriana’ producer Scott Atkins' Instagram page:
"That’s the ‘Cruelty & The Beast’ remix all completed. Vinyl test pressings have arrived and all the mixes sent off. It’s been an endeavour. Lots of restoration work needed to be done, noise reduction, hum and hiss, crosstalk and bleed. No additional recording has taken place, myself and Dani wanted it faithful to the original just sonically better. The songs are really killer and finally have some real weight to them, which the original sorely lacked. Keep your eyes out for release details very soon. Hope you love it 👌"
Dani has stated numerous times that he wasn’t happy with how Cruelty sounded and eh it has its charms. Sure the drums sound like tin cans and the guitars are buried in the mix but the album as a whole still gives me the chills. I probably don’t need a remixed and remistressed version of the Elizabeth Bathory concept album but I admit I desperately want it. Cruelty features many classic Cradle tracks including possibly my favorite 'Cruelty Brought thee Orchids.' As a teaser they played 'Bathory Aria', a dirge from the album that features the voice of actress Ingrid Pitt reprising the role of the Blood Countess.
But the biggest cheer from the crowd came with the final song “Her Ghost In The Fog”, one of their most popular songs and with good reason. From the tremendous storytelling that is Dani Filth’s lyrics, the opening narration by Doug Bradley AKA Pinhead, the operatic voice of then long-time female singer Sarah Jezebel Deva, and the powerful symphonic black metal tying it all together.
It’s this song and that album ‘Midian’ that I recommend that new listeners start with. It’s either late in the band’s beginning period or the start of the band’s modern sound. To put it another way it was the ultimate soundtrack to Halloween then and it remains so today.
All Hope In Eclipse
As for the actual future of the band I’m hopeful. The new lineup has produced two great Cradle Of FIlth albums and are a return to form in many ways and despite the above headline I continue to be hopeful for what comes next. As for future concerts I won’t ever miss a Cradle Of Filth show I have a chance to see. Though I’d prefer to see them play with more black metal acts.
One reason that their 2009 U.S. tour is still so memorable is that black metal from Europe is a rare sighting in North America. Don’t get me wrong many bands come to the states - just rarely and only certain cities. In 2006 Emperor had their reunion tour and they were coming stateside. However only to New York, Chicago, and L.A. My parents might have been perfectly fine with me buying satanic music on Easter but road tripping to Los Angeles at age 15? No fucking way.
Ihsahn of Emperor has stated in interviews that it’s much less expensive and far less trouble to tour Japan than the United States. Bands like Emperor don’t get to come to the States and play in cities other than the largest U.S. markets. Also recently Satyr has stated that there may never be another U.S. tour for Satyricon.
However if they and others are touring in support of larger bands such as Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, and Behemoth they’ll be in front of more people than they likely have in North America since the 90’s. Or just say fuck it and I’ll have to drive to L.A. or fly to Europe.
Mother of Abomination
People in the black metal scene shit on Cradle of Filth for a plethora of reasons. However, much of it revolves around their success in a genre of music that is purposefully underground. At the end of the day I wouldn’t be wearing a Mayhem hoodie pretty much everywhere I go. I wouldn’t be searching the underground worldwide for bands such as the all female Asagraum from the Netherlands or the more well known darling of Polish black metal Mgla without a starting point. Even Norwegian bands such as Gorgoroth and Immortal would be unknown to me today if I hadn’t found Cradle Of Filth first.
- Gilded Cunt
- Nemesis Right
- Wing of the Garden Triptych
- Heartbreak and Seance
- Bathory Aria
- Wester Vespertine
- Dusk and Her Embrace
- You Will Know the Lion by His Claw
- The Promise of Fever
- Saffron’s Curse
- Nymphetamine (Fix)
- Honey and Sulfur
- Her Ghost in the Fog
All photos by Courtney Ware for ZrockR Magazine 2019. All Rights Reserved.