Cradle Of Filth + Special Guests Winterfylleth | Review
Limelight 1, Belfast • 14 March ’16
Review: Melanie Brehaut | Photography: Darren Mcveigh
Corpse-painted goth metalheads in Ireland rejoiced last year when it was announced that, for the first time in over a decade, extreme metallers Cradle of Filth were to return to these shores. A lot has happened in those ten years: a revolving door of departing band members, a few albums of so-so quality followed by a return to form in the shape of 2015’s Hammer of the Witches…we’ve all gotten a little longer in the tooth, including the inimitable Mr. Filth himself. What would tonight’s gig in Belfast bring?
First up it was black metal rising stars Winterfylleth who took to the stage in front of a room still in the process of filling up. Making a rather understated entrance to some rather classy classical music left the crowd a bit reticent – until the guitars kicked in. Now that’s more like it…the Mancunians play a fairly mid-paced, almost folky style of ambient black metal, full of grinding, sawing riffs, churning grooves and a hell of a scream from frontman Christopher Naughton. They are clearly a prodigiously talented lot, however their set begins to drag slightly as their medium paced songs start to feel a bit same-y; it would be interesting to see them switch it up occasionally.
Half an hour later, accompanied by a Hammer movie-esque intro, the band everyone in the now packed venue was here to see file onstage, with vocalist Dani Filth receiving a heroes welcome as he strides onstage last. Launching into ‘Heaven Torn Asunder’ Filth unleashes the first of many, many of his trademark unearthly screams, proving beyond all doubt that he has lost not one iota of his vocal power in the last decade. How the hell does he do that???
Musically, Cradle of Filth have always been more than just your average extreme metal band, as tonight also proves. There are strong doses of industrial, black and classic metal in there, as well as a cheeky side of punk. They blaze through their set relentlessly, with Filth only occasionally pausing his banshee shriek to politely enquire of the crowd’s wellbeing, demand pits and applause and chaos, and introduce the odd song by tapering off into that dog-bothering screech.
As this is a tour to support Hammer of the Witches, the setlist relies reasonably heavy on those tracks. Thus the crowd are treated to the likes of the theatrical ‘Deflowering the Maidenhead, Displeasuring the Goddess’, ‘Blackest Magick In Practice’, and a brutal ‘Right Wing of the Garden Triptych’ amongst classics such as ‘Born In a Burial Gown’, ‘Cthulu Dawn’ and a deliriously received ‘Nymphetamine’.
It’s not all smooth sailing tonight: Filth disappears off to the side of the stage several times to berate the sound man about his microphone volume, and their ‘midway artful stage exit’ drags on for almost ten minutes as, Filth later reveals, the band get stuck in the venue’s lift! From the crowd’s viewpoint, the whole night was pretty damn spectacular: both sonically and visually CoF are both a striking and innovative band, with well crafted songs, suitably malevolent lyrics and their secret weapon in the form of keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft’s powerful and lavishly gorgeous vocals.
Their extended encore includes a particularly unhinged ‘Her Ghost In the Fog’ and finishes with the rather hornswogglingly titled ‘Gilded Cunt’ (ahem). Their unscheduled longer break means that they have to cut a song out of their set in order to meet the venue’s curfew (“you can blame management for that” snarks Filth), but no matter: the applause as they leave the stage is deafening, as their fans signal their adoration and appreciation for the Suffolk metallers. Cradle of Filth, you were missed – here’s hoping they’ll be back before another decade passes.
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