CRADLE OF FILTH, London Palladium, 19 October 2019
Look up the word ‘spectacle’ in a dictionary and don’t be surprised if you encounter a picture of Cradle Of Filth at the London Palladium. Pulling out all the stops to celebrate the upcoming ‘re-mistressed’ anniversary release of their third album, 1998’s ‘Cruelty And The Beast’, the masters of mayhem took over one of the bastions of polite society and delivered a show of breath-taking audacity, in equal parts noise, Filth and fury, as Warfare once declared.
The object of the exercise was to showcase ‘Cruelty And The Beast’ in its entirety, and, with the lights dimming at 8:15, the next hour was solely focussed on a perfect rendition backed by a stunning light show and enough flamethrowers to recreate the Great Fire of London. No chat, no distractions, just metal at its most malevolent. Aided and abetted by arguably the band’s most solid line-up with guitarists Richard Shaw and Marek Smerda providing the thrills, bassist Daniel Firth and drummer Marthus Skaroupka adding the fills, and keyboard player, narrator and soprano Lindsay Schoolcraft delivering the chills, Dani Filth spat, screamed and hollered his lungs out for pretty much the next hour in front of an adoring audience. His only breaks came during the instrumental passages ‘Venus In Fear’ and ‘Portrait Of The Dead Countess’, when the empty stage was haunted by the embodiment of Countess Bathory, the subject of the band’s breakthrough album. The material ebbed and flowed, built to a peak and then crashed once more, until the final notes of ‘Lustmord And Wargasm (The Lick Of Carnivorous Winds)’ were drowned by the applause of the faithful.
But wait, there’s more... After a fifteen-minute interval a second set saw a change of make-up for Dani Filth and a change of backdrop (to feature the most recent album, 2017’s ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay’), and returning to the stage Cradle Of Filth delivered a collection of, well, maybe not so much greatest hits but certainly crowd-pleasers. All but one of the seven songs served also came from way back – the likes of ‘Saffron’s Curse’ and ‘Her Ghost In The Fog’ unearthed from 2000’s ‘Midian’ album and ‘Malice Through The Looking Glass’ even predating the main event. The sole offering from their latest album – ‘Heartbreak And Séance’ – was greeted warmly, and ‘From The Cradle To Enslave’ saw everyone off into the chilly London air. OK, so Dani and the boys didn’t dole out their take on ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’, but you can’t have everything.
© John Tucker October 2019