Formed in Suffolk in 1991, Cradle of Filth have explored and conquered the varied realms of metal. Last year, their 26th as a band, they hit home ground once again stopping off at Oxford’s O2 Academy in support of new album Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay.
From its album artwork to its lyrical themes, Cryptoriana heavily emanates the Victorian era’s obsession with gothic horror – an enchantment the band have long shared.
That passion is incredibly evident in tonight’s performance. The graphically beautiful illustrations that form the artwork for the new album are also a large part of tonight’s staging.
Theatrical as ever, the band stormed the stage donning licentious make up and histrionic regalia to perform tracks from nearly all twelve of the bands studio albums.
Cradle of Filth are actually one of the best contemporary dark wave bands in the world who have blazed a trail through a genre otherwise dominated by European acts. Tonight it’s obvious why they are so heavily referred to in any discussion of contemporary metal culture.
Whilst heavily scrutinised for moving from Black Metal to a more symphonically rooted Gothic Metal, Cradle of filth could never be accused of bending to commercial norms.
Frontman (and only remaining founding member of the band) Dani Filth, seamlessly switches between high-pitched screams and bassy roars – neither of which are easy to sustain for a lengthy career let alone one that has spanned two and a half decades.
Given their status in the extreme metal world a certain level of intensity is a given at a Cradle of Filth live show but guitarist Richard Shaw’s predisposition to connect with the audience with unfaltering eye contact and ghoulish mannerisms is enchanting and unnerving all at once.
That raw horror feel is heightened by the classical vocal offerings of live keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft who contributes a whole new dimension to the bands live performance and also happens to be stunningly beautiful.
But any metal band is only as good as their sticksman and Martin Škaroupka is about as good as they get. Performing from a tank like structure the multi-instrumentalist delivered an impressive spine to the band, largely responsible for the performances extraordinary tone.
So often the originals remain the best and Cradle of Filth are indeed second to none in their genre. The bands propensity for dramatic flair and classical aptitude has ensured that they remain at the very top of the game that they had such a large hand in creating.
CRADLE OF FILTH WILL EMBARK ON A WORLD TOUR THROUGH EUROPE, SOUTH AMERICA, NORTH AMERICA, ASIA AND AUSTRALIA FROM JANUARY. TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE.
SEE OUR GALLERY OF THE SHOW HERE.