Live Review: Cradle Of Filth at St Mary’s Art Center (Live Stream)!

Not only is this live show the first for Suffolk Extreme Metallers Cradle Of Filth since 2019 but it also marks live debut of a new keyboard player after Lindsey Schoolcraft made her exit from the group some 15 months ago. That happens to be Annabelle Iratni who is a classically trained mezzo-soprano vocalist with both a Bachelor’s degree in Music and a Master of the Arts Degree in Music and what’s more, since 2017 she’s been working on her own blackened horror metal project Veile while joining Devilment in 2018. The irony of that being that Dani Filth has announced the next Cradle Of Filth album, their first in four long years as titled “Existence Is Futile”, to be appearing later in 2021. The last time we saw Cradle of Filth live was at a packed Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms in June 2017, a warm up show before the band headed out for a European Festival run that saw the six piece crammed onto the stage for a career spanning set that lives long in the memory. That took place before the band released their twelfth studio album “Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay” and this set at St Mary’s Art Center in Colchester is something else entirely.

A split level stage, huge light show and visual representation on a big screen behind the band make for something epic in the offering. Guitarists Richard Shaw and Marek ‘Ashok’ Šmerda stalk the stage, switching places with each other and bassist Daniel Firth, stepping up and down stage blocks so as to highlight their individual solo parts, “Blackest Magick in Practice” being a surprise early offering and very much on point. The lighting rigs are then partially engulfed in flames for “Lilith Immaculate” as Dani Filth and Anabelle Iratni duet, offering a beauty and the beast contradiction as her femme fatale matches his warlock. She impresses with her narrations and operatic moments that as ever serve to add polish to the bleak darkness and morose melancholic beauty of Cradle Of Filth’s augmented Black Metal and if there was ever a better opportunity to introduce her to the bands fanbase, then we’d be surprised. Another thing that impresses is Dani Filth’s vocals which despite 3 decades of throat shredding are fill as good as they have ever been, his trademark shrill moments as piercing as ever. Rampaging through old school cut “The Principle of Evil Made Flesh” sees both guitarists complete seamless face melting solos in front of a backdrop of ancient Witchcraft that also flashes into the foreground at various points making the band appear like ghostly shadows between the two sets of images for fleeting moments.

The sound quality of the stream is second to none, everything is crisp and clear, well microphoned and mixed from no doubt weeks of rehearsals in preparation for it. The camera work is equally good, with regular panning motions across the stage and close ups on individual members, particularly when the are offering up special moments. The band are animated without having an audience to feed off of and although there are only fleeting breaks in the music and rare audience acknowledgements, Filth’s mention of applause being welcome is a real moment of dark humour and irony. It’s hot in hell and he sweats of his corpse paint during the set, particularly noticeable around the eyes during “Malice through the looking glass“, as everyone breaks into a collective headbanging session mid cut. The most impressive thing about tonight is that the band haven’t aged a second, still having all the energy of younger musicians in the pursuit of Metal perfection and we feel sorry for the poor bastard who has to sweep up the fake snow that rains down during a stunning rendition of “Her Ghost In The Fog“. All in all, a fantastic and often theatric career spanning set that sees Cradle Of Filth in their prime; they’ve had 30 glorious years, so here’s to 30 more! [9/10]

Set list

1. Intro
2. At The Gates of Midian
3. Cthulhu Dawn
4. Blackest Magick In Practice
5. Lilith Immaculate
6. The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh
7. Honey and Sulphur
8. Nymphetamine
9. Heartbreak & Séance
10. Mannequin
11. Malice through the looking glass
12. Creatures that Kissed in Cold Mirrors
13. Her Ghost In The Fog
14. Saffron’s Curse
15. The Twisted Nails Of Faith
16. Born In A Burial Gown
17. From The Cradle To Enslave

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