Cradle of Filth

Cradle of Filth

Dani Filth and Paul Allender at 2009's Hellfest.
Background information
Origin Suffolk, England
Genres Extreme metal
Years active 1991–present
Labels Cacophonous, Music for Nations, Fierce, Mayhem, Metal Blade, Abracadaver, Sony, Roadrunner, Peaceville, Nuclear Blast
Associated acts Abgott, Abigail Williams, Anathema, Angtoria, The Blood Divine, Brujeria, Dimmu Borgir, Imperial Vengeance, My Dying Bride, Old Man's Child, Orbs, Primary Slave
(see below)
Sarah Jezebel Deva joined the band in 1996.

Cradle of Filth are an English extreme metal band, formed in Suffolk in 1991. The band's musical style evolved from black metal to a cleaner and more "produced" amalgam of gothic metal, symphonic black metal, and other extreme metal styles, while their lyrical themes and imagery are heavily influenced by gothic literature, poetry, mythology and horror films.

The band has broken free from its original niche by courting mainstream publicity (often to the chagrin of its early fanbase), and this increased accessibility has brought coverage by the likes of Kerrang! and MTV, frequent main stage appearances at major festivals such as Ozzfest, Download, and even the mainstream Sziget Festival, and in turn a more "commercial" image. They have sometimes been perceived as Satanic by casual observers, although their outright lyrical references to satanism are few and far between, and use of satanic imagery has arguably always had more to do with literary allusion and the shock value than any seriously held beliefs.



Early years (1991-1996)

Dani Filth, 2008.

Cradle of Filth's first three years saw three demos (Invoking the Unclean, Orgiastic Pleasures Foul and Total Fucking Darkness) recorded amidst the sort of rapid line-up fluctuations that have continued ever since, the band having more than twenty musicians in its history. An album entitled Goetia was recorded prior to the third demo and set for release on Tombstone Records, but all tracks were wiped when Tombstone went out of business and could not afford to buy the recordings from the studio.[1] The band eventually signed to Cacophonous Records and their debut album, The Principle of Evil Made Flesh, was also Cacophonous's first release in 1994. A step-up in terms of production from the rehearsal quality of most of their demos, the album was still nevertheless a sparse and embryonic version of what was to come, with lead singer Dani Filth's vocals in particular bearing little similarity to the style he was later to develop. The album was well-received however, and as recently as June 2006 found its way into Metal Hammer's list of the top ten black metal albums of the last twenty years.

Cradle's relationship with Cacophonous soon soured; the band accusing the label of contractual and financial mismanagement. Acrimonious legal proceedings took up most of 1995,[2] and the band finally signed to Music for Nations in 1996 after only one more contractually obligated Cacophonous recording: the EP V Empire (Or Dark Faerytales in Phallustein) which, it has since been conceded, was hastily written as a Cacophonous escape-plan.[2] Despite the circumstances of its release however, its handful of tracks are staples of the band's live sets to this day, and "Queen of Winter, Throned" was listed among twenty-five "essential extreme metal anthems" in a 2006 issue of Kerrang! magazine.[3] The EP also marked Sarah Jezebel Deva's debut with the band, replacing Andrea Meyer, Cradle's first female vocalist and self-styled "satanic advisor".[4] Deva appeared on every subsequent Cradle release and tour until Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa, but was never considered a full band member, since she also performed with The Kovenant, Therion and Mortiis, and fronted her own Angtoria project along with Cradle's current bass player, Dave Pybus.

Music for Nations era (1996-2001)

Dusk... and Her Embrace followed the same year: a critically acclaimed breakthrough album that greatly expanded the band's fan-base throughout Europe and the rest of the world.[5] A concept album of sorts based generally on vampirism and specifically (though loosely) on the writing of Sheridan Le Fanu, Cradle's inaugural album for Music for Nations set the tone for what was to follow. The album's production values matched the band's ambition for the first time, whilst Dani's vocal gymnastics were at their most extreme.

The increasingly theatrical stage shows of the 1997 European tour helped keep Cradle in the public eye, as did a burgeoning line of controversial merchandise; not least the notorious t-shirt depicting a masturbating nun on the front and the slogan "Jesus is a cunt" in large letters on the back. The t-shirt is banned in New Zealand,[6] a handful of fans have faced court appearances and fines for wearing the shirt in public, and some band members themselves attracted a certain amount of hostile attention when they wore similar "I Love Satan" shirts to the Vatican.[7] Alex Mosson, the Lord Provost of Glasgow from 1999–2003, called the shirts (and by implication the band) "sick and offensive". The band obviously approved, using the quote on the back cover of the 2005 DVD Peace Through Superior Firepower.

The infamous "Vestal Masturbation" t-shirt design.

In 1998, Dani began his long-running "Dani's Inferno" column for Metal Hammer, and the band appeared in the BBC documentary series Living With the Enemy (on tour with a fan and his disapproving mother and sister)[8] and released its third full-length album Cruelty and the Beast. A fully realised concept album based on the legend of the "Blood Countess" Elizabeth Bathory, the album boasted the casting coup of Ingrid Pitt providing guest narration as the Countess: a role she first played in Hammer's 1971 film Countess Dracula. The album led to Cradle's U.S debut,[9] and Dani claimed it in 2003 as the Cradle album of which he was most proud, although he conceded dissatisfaction with its sound quality.[10]

Paul Allender left the band late in 1994, but rejoined in 2000 for Midian.

The following year the band continued primarily to tour, but did release its first music video, PanDaemonAeon, and an accompanying EP, From the Cradle to Enslave, featuring the music from the production. Replete with graphic nudity and gore, the video was directed by Alex Chandon, who would go on to produce further Cradle promo clips and DVD documentaries, as well as the full-length feature film Cradle of Fear. The band released their fourth full-length studio album on Hallowe'en, 2000. Midian was based around the Clive Barker novel Cabal and its subsequent film adaptation Nightbreed.[11] Like Cruelty and the Beast, Midian featured a guest narrator, this time Doug Bradley, who starred in Nightbreed but remains best known for playing Pinhead in the Hellraiser films. Bradley's line "Oh, no tears please" from the song "Her Ghost in the Fog" is a quote of Pinhead's from the first Hellraiser ("No tears, please. It's a waste of good suffering...")[12] and Bradley would reappear on later albums Nymphetamine, Thornography, and Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder. The video for "Her Ghost in the Fog" received heavy rotation on MTV2 and other metal channels, and the track also found its way onto the soundtrack of the werewolf movie Ginger Snaps (it would also feature, much later, in the video game Brütal Legend).

Sony interlude (2001-2004)

The longest-ever interim period between full-length Cradle albums was nevertheless a busy time for the band. Bitter Suites to Succubi was released on the band's own "Abracadaver" label, and was a mixture of four new songs, re-recordings of three songs from The Principle of Evil Made Flesh, two instrumental tracks, and a cover of The Sisters of Mercy's "No Time to Cry". Stylistically similar to Midian, the album is unique among Cradle albums in featuring exactly the same band members as its predecessor, but is generally regarded as an EP and often overlooked in the band's canon.[13] Further stop-gap releases followed in the form of the "best of" package Lovecraft and Witch Hearts and a live album, Live Bait for the Dead. Finally, the band (principally Dani) also found time to appear in Cradle of Fear while they negotiated their first major-label signing with Sony Music. Damnation and a Day arrived in 2003; Sony's heavyweight funding underwriting Cradle's undiminished ambition[14] by finally bringing a real orchestra into the studio (the 80-strong Budapest Film Orchestra and Choir replacing the increasingly sophisticated synthesizers of previous albums) and thus marking the band's belated gestation - for one album only - into full-blown symphonic metal. Damnation featured the band's most complex compositions to date, outran its predecessors by a good twenty minutes, and produced two more popular videos: the Švankmajer-influenced Mannequin, and Babalon A.D. (So Glad for the Madness), based on Pasolini's infamous Salò. Roughly half the album trod the conceptual territory of John Milton's Paradise Lost — showing the events of the Fall of Man through the eyes of Lucifer[9] - while the remainder comprised stand-alone tracks such as the Nile tribute "Doberman Pharaoh"[15] and the aforementioned "Babalon AD"; a reference to Aleister Crowley. "Babalon AD" was the first DVD-only single to reach the U.K. top 40, according to the Guinness Book of Records of British Hit Singles and Albums. Feeling that Sony's enthusiasm quickly palled however, Cradle jumped ship to Roadrunner Records after barely a year.[16]

Move to Roadrunner (2004–2010)

2004's Nymphetamine was the band's first full album since The Principle of Evil Made Flesh to not be based around any sort of overarching concept (although references to the works of H. P. Lovecraft are made more than once). Cradle's bassist Dave Pybus described it as an "eclectic mix between the group's Damnation and Cruelty albums with a renewed vigour for melody, songmanship [sic] and plain fucking weirdness."[17] Nymphetamine debuted at #89 on the Billboard Top 200 chart selling just under 14,000 copies,[18] and the band's growing acceptance by the mainstream was confirmed when the album's title track was nominated for a Grammy award.[19]

Thornography, was released in October 2006. According to Dani Filth, the title "represents mankind's obsession with sin and self... an addiction to self-punishment or something equally poisonous... a mania."[20] On the subject of the album's musical direction, Filth told Revolver magazine, "I'm not saying it's 'experimental', but we're definitely testing the limits of what we can do... A lot of the songs are really rhythmical - thrashy, almost — but they're all also really catchy."[21] A flurry of pre-release controversy saw Samuel Araya's original cover artwork scrapped and replaced in May 2006, although numerous CD booklets had already been printed with the original image.[16] Thornography received a similar reception to Nymphetamine, garnering generally positive reviews, but raising a few eyebrows with the inclusion of a cover of Heaven 17's "Temptation"[22] (featuring guest vocals from Dirty Harry), which was released as a digital single and accompanying video shortly before the album. Thornography entered the Billboard chart at #66, having sold nearly 13,000 copies.[23]

Long-term drummer Adrian Erlandsson departed the band in November 2006, with the intention of devoting his energies to his two side projects Needleye and Nemhain. The official press release from Roadrunner saw Erlandsson state "I have enjoyed my time with Cradle but it is now time to move on. I feel I am going out on a high as Thornography is definitely our best album to date".[20] He was replaced by Martin Škaroupka.

Drummer Martin Škaroupka replaced Adrian Erlandsson for Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder

Work on the eighth studio album, released in October 2008 as Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder, began early that year following a GWAR-supported tour which took in Russia, the Ukraine, the UK, Romania, Slovakia and North America.[24] Godspeed was a concept album based around the legend of Gilles de Rais, a 15th-century French nobleman who fought alongside Joan of Arc and accumulated great wealth before becoming a satanist, sexual deviant and murderer.[25] Kerrang! preferred the album to the "relatively weak" Thornography, calling it "grandiose and epic",[26] while Metal Hammer said it had "genuine narrative depth and emotional resonance",[27] and Terrorizer called it "cohesive, consistent and convincing".[28] It sold 11,000 copies in its week of release, entering the Billboard 200 at #48.[29]

Peaceville Records (2010-present)

Cradle of Filth performing live at Metaltown Festival in June 2011

Cradle's relationship with Roadrunner came to an end in April 2010, with the announcement that the band's next album would be released by the British independent label Peaceville Records, using Cradle's own Abracadaver imprint.[30] Dani Filth cited "the artistic restrictions and mindless inhibitions imposed by a major label" as the band's reason for going independent.[31] Early press releases named the new album All Hallows Eve,[32] but by August 2010 the title was confirmed as Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa.[31][33] Released on November 1, 2010, it is a concept album in the same vein as its predecessor, Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder; this time centering on the demon Lilith, the first wife of the Biblical Adam,[30] and also making reference to Greek, Egyptian and Sumerian mythology, the Knights Templar and the Carmelite Nuns. The label referred to it as "a dark tapestry of horror, madness and twisted sex",[34] while Filth called its sound "creepily melodic, like Mercyful Fate or a dark Iron Maiden".[35] Metal Hammer's Dom Lawson felt it was "another sumptuous and spectacular eruption of gothic melodrama, perverted sonic schlock and balls-out extreme metal bombast", and likened it to an "instalment in an ongoing series of novels."[36]

An EP entitled Evermore Darkly, featuring "new tracks and rarities", was released on October 18th in North America on NuclearBlast and 24 October on Peaceville Records 2011. The package will include a DVD with a tour documentary, live DVD recorded at 2011's Graspop festival, and the video for "Lilith Immaculate".[37] The band has also announced an upcoming orchestral album titled Midnight in the Labyrinth, which, according to Dani Filth, will "reinvent" tracks from the band's first four albums as "full soundtrack quality stuff... with choirs, strings and some narration". The album was approaching completion in November 2010 and is set to be released in 2011.[38] The orchestral Midnight version of "Summer Dying Fast" is included on Evermore Darkly as a teaser for the full album.[37]


Cradle of Filth's particular subgenre has provoked a great deal of discussion,[39] and their status as a black metal band or otherwise has been in debate since near the time that the group rose to fame[40] Filth, in a 1998 interview for BBC Radio 5 for example, said "I use the term heavy metal, rather than black metal, because I think that's a bit of a fad now. Call it what you like: death metal, black metal, any kind of metal...",[41] while Gavin Baddeley's 2006 Terrorizer interview states that "few folk, the band included, call Cradle black metal these days."[42]

The band's style has been described as symphonic black metal,[43] gothic black metal,[44] and dark metal.[45] However, the band's evolving sound has allowed them to continue resisting definitive categorisation. They are audibly influenced by Iron Maiden, have collaborated on projects like Christian Death's Born Again Anti-Christian album (on the track "Peek-A-Boo"), and have even dabbled outside of metal music with dance remixes ("Twisting Further Nails", "Pervert's Church" etc), although these have fallen by the wayside in recent years. In a 2006 interview with Terrorizer magazine, current guitarist Paul Allender said "We were never a black metal band. The only thing that catered to that was the make-up. Even when The Principle of Evil Made Flesh came out — you look at Emperor and Burzum and all that stuff — we didn't sound anything like that. The way that I see it is that we were, and still are now, an extreme metal band."[20]

Appearing on the BBC music quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks on April 9, 2001, Filth jokingly claimed Cradle's sound as "heavy funk", and in an October 2006 interview stated "we'd rather be known as solely 'Cradle of Filth', I think, than be hampered by stupid genre barriers."[46]

Band members

  • Dani Filth – lead vocals (1991–present)
  • Paul Allender – lead guitar (1992–1995, 1999–present)
  • James McIlroy – rhythm guitar (2003–2005, 2009–present)
  • Dave Pybus – bass guitar (2001–present)
  • Martin Marthus Škaroupka – drums (2006–present)
  • Caroline Campbell - keyboards, backing vocals (2011-present)


Studio albums


  1. ^ Cradle of Filth, Lovecraft & Witch Hearts liner notes, written by Damien Gregori, 2002
  2. ^ a b "Cradle of Filth Biography". Music Detector Websites. 31 March 2007. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007.,;jsessionid=308D2B399B35E3B17E1388BCF8DF0CE5. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  3. ^ Kerrang magazine, October 7th, 2006
  4. ^ Gavin Baddeley - Lucifer Rising (Nemesis Publishing, 1994, p.211)
  5. ^ Ankey, Jason. "Cradle of Filth > Biography". All Media Guide. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  6. ^ "Censor's Ban on "Cradle of Filth" T-shirt" (Press release). Society For Promotion Of Community Standards Inc.. 1 July 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2009. 
  7. ^ Wilson, David Lee (2000). "Magazine interview with guitarist Paul Allender of Cradle of Filth". KAOS2000. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  8. ^ "Living With The Enemy". (unknown publisher). (unknown date). Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  9. ^ a b "Getting Filthy With Dani Filth". 11 June 2002. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  10. ^ Metal Hammer magazine, March 2003
  11. ^ Fortnam, Ian (1 June 2000). "Satan Laughing". Archived from the original on 28 October 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  12. ^ "Hellraiser Script at IMSDb". (unknown publisher). (unknown date). Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  13. ^ "Top Sellers: Cradle of Filth". Migraine Distribution. (unknown date). Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  14. ^ Fisher, Jason (30 October 2006). "Cradle of Filth Interview with Paul Allender". The Gauntlet. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  15. ^ Metal Hammer magazine, March 2003
  16. ^ a b Smirinoti, Marilena (unknown date). "Interview with Paul Allender". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  17. ^ "Testament, Cradle of Filth, Cannibal Corpse". Roadrunner Records. 22 December 2005. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  18. ^ "Soundscan report: Marilyn Manson, Cradle of Filth, H.I.M., Iommi/Hughes". 2004-10-06. Retrieved 2004-10-06. 
  19. ^ "2005 Grammy Award Nominations and Winners". Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  20. ^ a b c "Roadrunner Records Australia - Cradle of Filth". Roadrunner Records. unknown date. Archived from the original on 6 June 2004. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  21. ^ "Cradle of Filth banned in the US". Future Publishing Limited. 22 May 2006. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  22. ^ eg. Kerrang! issue 1130, October 21, 2006; Terrorizer issue 150, November 2006; Metal Hammer issue 159, November 2006
  23. ^ "Aerosmith, cradle of Filth First-Week Sales Revealed". 2006-10-25. Retrieved 2006-10-25. 
  24. ^ "2008 Album Announced". Kerrang!. Kerrang!. 2008. Retrieved 21 July 2008. 
  25. ^ "Cradle Of Filth by A Place For Metal". 
  26. ^ Paul Travers, Kerrang! issue 1223, October 25, 2008
  27. ^ Dom Lawson, Metal Hammer, November 2008
  28. ^ Chris Chantler, Terrorizer issue 177, December 2008
  29. ^ "Cradle of Filth's 'Godspeed' cracks U.S. top 50". 2008-11-05. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  30. ^ a b "Blabbermouth.Net - Cradle Of Filth Signs With Peaceville Records". Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  31. ^ a b "Cradle of Filth: New Album Title Revealed". 
  32. ^ Gregory Burkart. "Cradle Of Filth Issues 'All Hallows Eve' Update". 
  33. ^ "Cradle Of Filth Name New Album". 
  34. ^ "Cradle Of Filth Issues 'All Hallows Eve' Update". FEARnet. 2010-04-29. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  35. ^ "Dani Filth: Cradle of Filth". 6 August 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  36. ^ Dom Lawson, Metal Hammer magazine, December 2010, p.78
  37. ^ a b "Peaceville Records". Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  38. ^ Interview with Dani Filth. Fangoria.
  39. ^ "Hating Cradle has always been chapter one of 'Bluff Your Way in Black Metal Elitism'." Chris Chantler, Terrorizer, Issue 177, December 2008, page 70.
  40. ^ Martinelli, Roberto (unknown date). "Interview with Cradle of Filth". (unknown publisher). Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  41. ^ "Dani Filth". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on 2007-05-04. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  42. ^ Terrorizer magazine, November 2006
  43. ^ Bowar, Chad. "Cradle of Filth". Retrieved 2 May 2009. 
  44. ^ Torreano, Bradley. "Dusk and Her Embrace review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 May 2009. 
  45. ^ "Roadrunner artist: Cradle of Filth". Roadrunner. Retrieved 14 November 2007. 
  46. ^ "Questions and Answers". (archived on Archived from the original on 16 October 2006. Retrieved 16 October 2006. 

External links

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