“In the time it takes a man to masturbate in the grave...” began one song introduction.
No, I don’t know what that means either, but singer Dani Filth wasn’t letting anything break his style. The hardcore assemblage of Cradle of Filth devotees were being treated to some sick introductions, biting asides, and fierce music. Cradle of Filth were live in Taipei.
Fully Gothed-out in intricate face-paint and attire, the English metal veterans didn’t hold back. They should have enjoyed a full house, but unfortunately Taipei’s fans of heavy music had to split their vote, with As I Lay Dying playing a gig across town at the Wall this same night. Life is full of choices and some of them are hard. It was easy for me, though: I’m going with a band that has incredible song titles like Nymphétamine Fix and Gilded Cunt.
I got out of work late and hurried to Y17, missing openers Gunpowder, but walking through the doors just as Cradle of Filth smashed out their first chords. I have mixed feelings about Y17. Walking through a lobby full of kiddie toys to get to the show kind of takes the edge off a metal gig. As for how it serves the actual performance, some of the stage lights were painfully blinding when rotated toward the crowd and the sound was a bit muddy. On the other hand, it was a refreshing change to enjoy a band on a big, tiered stage. I moved around the venue over the course of the night and can report that every vantage point allowed for a good view of the action. Heck, you can even see the drummer here, with Martin Skaroupka perched high atop the drum riser. Only keyboardist Caroline Campbell was relatively tucked away, as they often are. Nothing was really hidden with Dani Filth’s performance, however, as he spit one-liners and rallied the troops. His forte, however, is punctuating his growls with a signature high note - how many times has he hit that in his life? Well, after 20+ years he can still do it. Practice makes perfect.
New bassist Daniel Firth was a bit of an apparition to me - appearing then disappearing from my view - but mostly just chugging away under a mass of hair. Basically, doing classic metal bass player stuff, whereas guitarist James McIlroy was the photogenic crowd pleaser, whipping his hair back and forth, thrashing unrelentingly and grinning widely. It was in huge contrast to fellow axman Paul Allender, who took the art of stern glaring to new levels. I felt like I had failed him somehow, his look was so intense. Maybe I should have been decapitated and bleeding out of my ears? That might have pleased him. I felt so intimidated that I avoided his part of the stage. But he did crack a smile by the end of the night, and I’d like to think it was my devil horns that did it. I give good horn.
Now, I must confess to arriving as a Cradle of Filth novice; I was more curious than committed. I’ve long been aware of their reputation & high regard among friends, and I was most familiar with their amazing cover of a Twisted Sister song. What has held me back, though, was that I’m simply not the biggest fan of symphonic black metal. It’s a keyboard thing, and I’m definitely a riff guy. But thanks to our own Chthonic 閃靈, I’ve come around a bit over the years. And thanks to this show I’ve realized Cradle of Filth is bigger than a sub-genre. By mid-set my ears had acclimated to their sound and I could appreciate the breadth of their oeuvre. It rocks.
Dani warned us from the get-go that they’d be delivering 90 minutes of Filth before launching “our latest musical excretion.” And nothing against the newer material, but it was the older work that scored the most points, both with me and rest of the audience. By the time they unleashed Honey And Sulphur and The Forest Whispers My Name, they had me. The encore of Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids, Her Ghost In The Fog, and From The Cradle To Enslave sealed the deal.
It was a hard-fought night, and to the victors belong the spoils. Henceforth, I’m a solid Cradle of Filth fan. For those already in the fold, they had to be pleased. For those who missed it, lets hope there’s a next time. You deserve it and they deserve it.