CRADLE OF FILTH
Photos by Damien Crocker (damien_crocker)
I would say I’m a tourist in the world of Extreme Metal. I enjoy my Metal and Hard Rock, but when things get a little too extreme, I often times find myself unable to really get into it. I have made a concerted effort in the last few years to break down that barrier. After seeing Polish Extreme Metal Juggernauts Behemoth twice in a year, as well as Cannibal Corpse and Dark Tranquility, and Swiss Blackened Death Metal band Bölzer earlier this year for Around The Sound, I would say I am well on my way. Then you throw in Cradle of Filth into the mix, which was an eye opener.
Cradle of Filth were formed in Suffolk, England in 1991 and boy, they’re controversial. I spent many years throughout my teens and early 20s considering them completely un-listenable, it was just too heavy for me. On this night my test was to gain an ear for it. I always try to enjoy something for what it is and try to gain an understanding. They were to play their 1998 album Cruelty and the Beast from start to finish with an encore to follow at Capitol, in Perth. How did I go?
Melbourne Progressive/Melodic/Black Metal Band Hybrid Nightmares opened the show and I have to firstly say with all respect to Hybrid Nightmares, this is yet another show where an interstate band has opened on the Perth date, and no local Perth acts have been represented. I don’t know what the thought process is behind this but I know of a couple of bands that would have really suited this slot. What is Perth’s loss is Hybrid Nightmares’ gain though; I don’t know if this was their first time in Perth but they took advantage of it. Their frontman Loki was a real great presence at the front of the stage. They were entertaining and they did their job and maximised their minutes. If they can get people to bang their head (which did happen) they did what they needed to do and I hope it made an impression on others as it did I.
The one thing about these corpse paint Black Metal bands is, I don’t want to know that you’re good dudes. Which I could tell, the vocalist was a good bloke and spoke well to the audience and came across very likeable. For me though I think It’s important if you are utilising this kind of imagery for your stage shows, I want to be slightly frightened of you. Like Behemoth – they intimidate me when I see them and it’s a part of the allure. That’s the only notes I have. Frighten me. Make me think you possibly drink blood, or you worship the devil, or you burn down churches. Even if you’re just a regular dude who is great to have a beer with, I think a surefire way to continue your rise in a genre filled with many that do the same thing is to separate yourself by going ‘all in’ on the imagery. Their music was powerful and left an impression. Their drummer Adam was playing to pinpoint precision. I always look to see the drummer do their thing, and this guy was top notch. The rest of the band had great energy and it was a solid opening to the show. Thanks boys.
After a short intermission it was time for Cradle to come out and do their thing. Oh man did they do their thing! Their head honcho Dani Filth is quite the character. He’s the perfect villain. I have to say I loved his cape and outfit and he’s got all this charisma to work with which makes his job so much easier. What it is that he does vocally absolutely confuses me but it was definitely eye opening and interesting to me. You have to understand, I hadn’t heard much of Cradles stuff before this show as I explained before, Extreme Metal is tough for me – but I was fixated on this performance and I was very impressed. The whole band did such a tremendous job. Keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft is a huge shining star in this band. Her vocals are some of the most impressive I’ve heard, it was like an angel singing beautifully in the background of all of this hellfire and brimstone. What a voice.
Martin ‘Marthus’ Škaroupka was tucked up the back in his little drum cave, I have never seen a drummer get their own little fortress like that before! Another standout performer, an absolute powerhouse from beginning to end. Guitarist Marek ‘Ashok’ Šmerda and bass player Daniel Firth were on point, but I have to give some of my bigger props to guitarist Richard Shaw. He was actually creeping people out by the way he was staring into the crowd. That’s what I mean. It was frightening, like he didn’t blink as if he were a long haired, painted-up Hannibal Lecter.
As Cradle ended their first set and their playing in full of ‘Cruelty and The Beast’ I was pretty happy with how the night had gone. I wish I knew more so I could report more on the album being played itself, but let’s just say it was intense and wild as hell.
They came back for a five song Encore, and this was my time to shine in the audience because I finally knew a song, which was ‘Nymphetamine Fix’. It was everything I could have hoped for. They finished off the show with the intensity they began the show with and it left the fans pretty stoked. It was great to see a moshpit be an actual moshpit for once. They’re very rare these days.
There may be some writers out there that could have written a more educated review than I have, but my point of view comes from another angle and I feel it’s important to see it through these eyes. Cradle were untouchable tonight. Overall I left this show with a better understanding and more appreciation to the art that is Extreme Metal. I’m almost there as a fan. I can feel it, I appreciate it. I see the beauty in it’s darkness.
-Once Upon Atrocity-
1. Thirteen Autumns and a Widow
2. Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids
3. Beneath the Howling Stars
-Venus in Fear-
4. Desire in Violent Overture
5. The Twisted Nails of Faith
6. Bathory Aria: Benighted Like Usher / A Murder of Ravens in Fugue / Eyes That Witnessed Madness
-Portrait of the Dead Countess-
7. Lustmord and Wargasm (The Lick of Carnivorous Winds)
8. Malice Through the Looking Glass
9. Heartbreak and Seance
10. Nymphetamine (Fix)
11. Saffron’s Curse
12. Her Ghost in the Fog