Date: March 13th, 2016
Venue: The Academy, Dublin
Line-up: Cradle of Filth + Winterfylleth
It’s been more than a decade since controversial extreme metal band Cradle of Filth has graced our shores. Their latest album, their 11th overall, Hammer of the Witches was acclaimed by the bands fans and even among those who wouldn’t normally listen to the band. As a result of this, combined with their long absence from Irish shores, saw a crowd of 800 strong gather to see them.
Opening up tonight’s show were Manchester’s Winterfylleth. The group play an atmospheric form of black metal that relied on bold tremolo riffs, desolate clean sections with some chanting vocals to break up the noise. I can’t fault their performance as it was pretty much flawless in every sense; the vocals were strong and well sung meanwhile the music was expertly played. However, I felt more and more as the set went on that it became fairly stale and boring; there was no stage presence or energy to their performance, you may as well have just stuck on one of their records.
Cradle of Filth had the stage set up in as much of a theatrical manner as you’d expect from them; horned skeletons hanging from crosses either side of the stage and a large backdrop of a half-naked woman. One by one, each band member came to the stage, coming right up to the front to make their presence felt before taking their respective places. They opened up with ‘Heaven Torn Asunder’ from Dusk and her Embrace, despite the track being 20 years old it still retained a sense of freshness. The crowd were rather tame in the beginning, like they were hardly even paying attention, but after a couple of minutes they were struck by the music and their energy never gave up for the remaining 90 minutes of Cradle of Filth’s set.
‘Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids’ was the real starting point of the night, kicking the crowd into high gear and moshing like crazy for the faster moments of the track. The set was filled with a lot of classic Cradle tracks from their early (‘Malice through the Looking Glass’) and middle (‘Lord Abortion’ and ‘Born in a Burial Gown’) era’s. However there were of course some new tracks thrown in the mix from their latest Hammer of the Witches. ‘Blackest Magick in Practice’ and ‘Right Wing of the Garden Triptych’ garnered as much attention as the older tracks with the crowd giving a strong response.
Dani Filth’s high-pitched vocals can be hit and miss with most listeners but no one could deny how on point his performance was tonight. It’s easy to think that after more than 20 years of touring and recording that his vocals may have faltered but he sounded just as good as he’s ever been. Even by the time we reached the last few songs he was still screaming perfectly.
Many of the other band members are fairly new to the lineup but they already seemed to have gelled together as a group. Guitarist Richard Shaw often gazed out to the crowd with a blank deathly stare, paired together with his stage antics of hitting himself and making puppet style movements. Keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft had the tough task of having to sing the parts of many of Cradle’s previous vocalists but she met the challenge head on and shone as a result.
Dani jokingly told the crowd that they were going to perform a Celine Dion cover but instead jumped into closer ‘The Principle of Evil Made Flesh’. The crowd really began to lose run of themselves at this point with one crowd surfer crashing down hard onto one of the security guards and seemingly injuring them. At the end of the night thought the die-hard fans were left pleased with the variety in the set while their excellent performance won over many others.