Cradle of Filth is a British Extreme Metal band with influences from gothic metal, and other extreme metal subgenres. The band was formed in 1991 in Suffolk, United Kingdom.
Classification of Cradle of Filth’s musical style has caused a great controversy. It evolved from the Death Metal of its first demos towards a cleaner amalgam that encompasses extreme metal, symphonic black metal and other styles of heavy metal.
The band’s lyrical themes and images have been widely influenced by Gothic literature, poetry, and mythology. The band has successfully fought their niche by courting the popular news media (often at the expense of their fans), and this has led to increased coverage by magazines such as Kerrang! and TV channels like MTV, plus frequent stage appearances at major world rock festivals like Ozzfest, Download, and even the Sziget Festival.
The band has sometimes been seen as satanic, although their references to Satanism are few and far between, and the use of related imagery is not part of the group’s intention to express a belief, but rather to create shock value. According to Metal Hammer magazine, they are the most successful British metal band since Iron Maiden.
In the first years of its existence, which were characterized by a constant change of line-up, Cradle of Filth recorded a total of four demos. The originally planned debut album Goetia remained unreleased because the studio deleted the recordings due to unpaid bills. In 1993 the band signed a record deal with Cacophonous Records and released their debut album in 1994, The Principle of Evil Made Flesh. In 1996 the working relationship with Cacophonous became more strained, which eventually culminated in Cradle of Filth leaving the label. According to the contract, the band had to deliver another album, and so they recorded – rather half-heartedly but successfully – Vempire or Dark Faerytales in Phallusstein. Cradle of Filth never denied that this record was a kind of stopgap. In 1995 they switched to Music for Nations.
Despite frequent line-up changes, the band was able to expand its fan base considerably. After the release of the 1997 album Dusk… and her Embrace, a veritable wave of merchandise set in motion, which was conducive to the band’s popularity, but also earned them nasty accusations from the black metal scene. The band was accused of promoting commercialization and of being sell-outs in the scene. These allegations intensified with the release of the albums Cruelty and the Beast (1998) and with Midian (2000), which musically became increasingly mainstream compatible.
Bitter Suites to Succubi (2001) and the greatest hits album Lovecraft and Witch Hearts (2002) would be Cradle of Filth’s last releases on Music For Nations. In 2002, the band also made a guest appearance in the low budget splatter film Cradle of Fear, in which frontman Dani Filth played a supporting role. From then on, the band operated their own record label Abracadaver Records, but an offer from Sony promised a promising career leap. Thus, apart from Satyricon, they were the only extreme metal band to switch to a major label.
In 2003 the album Damnation and a Day was released by Sony Music UK. However, the collaboration with Sony did not last long: Nymphetamine, the 2004 album, was released on Roadrunner Records. In 2005 Roadrunner Records also released a new DVD entitled Peace through Superior Firepower, which includes a live recording from the final concert of the Nymphetamine Tour in Paris. In 2007 Thornography was released, also on Roadrunner Records. The album differs from the older works in style and vocals, for example Sarah Jezebel Deva’s female vocals hardly come into their own on this album.
In November 2006, drummer Adrian Erlandsson announced his departure in order to devote more time to his other musical projects such as Needleye and Nemhain. As a replacement on the current tour, the Czech Martin Škaroupka aka Marthus was behind the drums.
On October 24th, 2008 the album Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder was released, which is a concept album, in which Gilles de Rais was an overarching theme.
The band’s next studio album, Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa – also a concept album – was released on October 29, 2010 on Peaceville Records under the company’s own Abracadaver imprint. It’s the fastest and possibly toughest in the band’s history so far. Based on the story of Adam’s first wife Lilith, who is described as the counterpart to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, primeval evil and goddess of lust. In previous interviews with frontman Dani Filth it was said that Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder would be the last concept album for the time being, but the band decided against it. According to Dani, the decisive factor was the good concept idea and the fact that the character Lilith as such had already been in the shadow of the band for quite a while. But it should remain the last concept album for the time being.
Evermore Darkly was released as a mini-album (EP) on October 24, 2011 on Peaceville Records. The CD / DVD bundle includes, in addition to many band-typical artworks, a previously unreleased title, three demo recordings from the album Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa, a remix version of the single Forgive me Father by Rob C (Anthrax) and an extended version by Lilith Immaculate. A classic version of Summer Dying Fast, which was released on the debut album, creates a classic orchestral project album by the band to be released in the future. In addition to the promotional video for Lilith Immaculate and a 45-minute tour documentary, the DVD offers the complete live recording of the show at the Graspop Metal Meeting Festival on June 25, 2011 in Dessel, Belgium.
On April 21, 2012, the album Midnight in the Labyrinth was released, with orchestral works on pieces from the band’s first four albums.
The tenth studio album called The Manticore and Other Horrors was released in Europe on October 29, 2012. In the USA, the release took place the following day. In contrast to the two previous albums, this is not a concept album, but the theme of “monsters and demons” is a common thread running through all tracks.
The collaboration with long-time member Paul Allender ended in summer 2014. A new studio album called Hammer of the Witches was announced for June 2015 and released via Nuclear Blast.
An essential trademark of the band is the singing of Dani Filth, whose bizarre and often extremely high vocal parts are highly recognizable. His lyrics can often only be understood with a philosophical and literary background. In addition, they are written in relatively demanding English.
Cradle of Filth uses a certain form of visualization through clothing and make-up (but also through album covers and merchandise artwork), which has parallels to Black Metal, but differs in appearance in many ways. Nevertheless, the resulting image of the band creates an atmosphere of mysticism, madness and darkness, which can also be found in many black metal bands. However, unlike most black metal bands, Cradle of Filth present themselves more occult and vampyrical and less satanic. Many of the band’s songs contain references to well-known stories in the field of mysticism. (For example the song “Cthulhu Dawn” which refers to the Cthulhu myth of the author H. P. Lovecraft). According to Dani Filth, Cradle of Filth makes “fairy tales for adults“.