Saturday, July 4, 2009

Dark Suites Feature Artist: Cradle of Filth

By Nickolas Cook

Formed in 1991, the UK’s Cradle of Filth has become the metal world’s poster children for pushing the boundaries of good taste--in both their imagery and lyrics. With music built upon the twin foundations of heavier-than-heavy black metal riffs, coupled with orchestral style harmonics, and a tongue-in-cheek sense of the darkly theatric, it could be argued they’re the modern version of the old world Grand Guignol Theater.Truth is, like the legendary theater, they mean to shock.But more importantly, they mean to make you think. About religion, God, the Devil, life, death and all the low emotions that go into making the human condition. If there is a celebratory sense to their work, it is in the inherent darkness of mankind. Not a Satanic evil triumphant, as so many of their detractors have accused them, but a wide eyed revelation that we are, as a species, filled with self loathing acidic venom, and the height of humanity is to overcome such dark emotions.Armed with a love of both classic and modern dark literature, they have referenced Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ on their album “Damnation and a Day” and Clive Barker’s neo-classic novella, ‘Cabal’ on “Midian”, and have even gone so far as to include horror film icons such as Doug Bradley, otherwise known as ‘Pinhead’ in Barker’s Hellraiser series , and Ingrid Pitt , famous for her Hammer Studio vampire roles, as guest vocalists on their albums.Dark cinematic visions are just as important to their image as their lyrics. Much of their videography is composed of horror movie-like short stories full of horrific and erotic images, displaying their love for the Gothic horror film and vampires. Lead singer Dani Filth has even gone so far as to be featured in two horror projects over the years and is rumored to be seeking funding for his own future short horror film.Over the decades their albums have become more and more sophisticated with each new release, creating a collection of work for people who have a passion for horror and the dark side of humanity. They are sadism and sedition rolled into one.With their newest release, ‘Godspeed On the Devil’s Thunder’, CoF once again use all of their arsenal to illuminate the darkness in mankind, bringing to the listener the life and crimes of one of the most famous serial killers in history, Gilles de Rais, who confessed to butchering between 80 and 200 local village children over his five year murder spree.Given Dani Filth’s penchant for high pitched scratchy voices lyrics- almost an animal hiss at times- Cradle of Filth may be a challenge to some ears. But if one can reach beyond a possible issue with singing style, one will open a door to a thinking man’s heavy metal horror band.Cradle of Filth Discography
Sample Videos:
Her Ghost in the Fog
Honey and Sulphur (from the new release: God Speed on the Devil’s Thunder)
--Nickolas Cook