GARAGE – 21/10
It must be murder writing a Cradle of Filth setlist. There is a vocal section of their fanbase that only want to hear their early, black metal-influenced work, while there are those who joined the Filth’s journey during 2004’s successful Nymphetamine album. Released on a major label, it fully realised the melodic tendencies shining through on the earlier Midian, but alienated those who wanted grittier production.
Apart from this year’s Hammer of the Witches, no album is represented after Nymphetamine. This means fan favourite ‘Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids’ sits alongside ‘Heaven Torn Asunder’ without any 2000s experimental meandering interfering. It also means a lot of blastbeats and characteristic howling from frontman Dani Filth. On record, his banshee delivery is saved for climactic moments, but he deploys it more liberally here in a live setting, dampening just how impressive the noise is.
Hammer of the Witches has the best hit-rate of a Cradle album since Nymphetamine, with ‘Deflowering the Maidenhead, Displeasuring the Goddess’ in particular encapsulating everything the band can do when firing on all cylinders, switching effortlessly from extreme blastbeats to more conventional metal soloing.
‘Nymphetamine (Fix)’, their biggest hit, is an oasis in the middle of a firestorm, with keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft’s vocals filling in for Liv Kristine. Schoolcraft is energetic and charismatic on stage all night long, and her vocals should be utilised more often – contrasting with Dani’s howl, they make an almost literal beauty and the beast.
Ending on a triumphant ‘Her Ghost in the Fog’, Cradle of Filth close up their first Glasgow gig in eight years. They find more success on the mainland, where they tour more frequently. While not a revolutionary performance, it is a lot of fun, and by now they have surely earned their thorned crown as one of the best extreme bands Britain has ever produced.
[Scott Wilson – @HeartofFire]