Malevolent kings of British metal. Masters of the darkest arts and crafts. Cradle Of Filth have been firmly ensconced at the forefront of the extreme music scene for the last two decades. Ever since they emerged from the lengthening Suffolk shadows in 1991, Dani Filth and his fiendish cohorts have blazed a grotesque trail across the globe, spreading their fetid gospel of obscene theatricality, pitch-black horror and exquisite musical madness, earning themselves a formidable reputation as one of the most important metal bands ever.
After unleashing three nefarious demo recordings, Cradle Of Filth began their campaign of dastardly destruction in earnest with the release of 1994’s ferocious debut album The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh, laying down a blackprint for everything that would follow, as Mr. Filth’s unhinged vocal versatility and gloriously twisted literary skills collided with a grandiose barrage of scything riffs, macabre atmospherics and bone-wrenching brutality. Upping the abominable ante for 1996’s Vempire EP and its full-length follow-up, Dusk…And Her Embrace, Cradle Of Filth rapidly established themselves as standard bearers for the UK’s dark metallic underground, consolidating that status with increasingly extravagant and dramatic live shows that put the meagre efforts of their contemporaries to shame. By the time 1998’s grand concept piece Cruelty And The Beast was unveiled, Cradle had already started to prod the mainstream’s vulnerable ribcage with their scathing wit and self-deprecation, making a notorious appearance on BBC2 documentary Living With The Enemy that enabled them to scare the merry hell out of startled viewers across the length and breadth of Britain. After Dani set his stalwart songwriting partnership with guitarist Paul Allender (who had returned for a second tenure with the band), 1999’s From The Cradle To Enslave even managed to scale the battlements of the mainstream pop charts, hastening the band’s growing stature as hated household names and music press anti-heroes.
As the new millennium dawned, Cradle Of Filth tapped a new vein of rich creativity with their fourth studio album Midian; a dizzying eruption of cinematic grimoire and razor-sharp sonic viscera that paved the way for a steady stream of similarly monstrous releases, including their own horror movie (2000's underground success Cradle Of Fear). With an ever-growing penchant for augmenting their gruesome sound with ornate orchestration and all manner of disparate aural mischief, the band bestrode the decade with supreme confidence. Damnation And A Day, the Grammy-nominated Nymphetamine and Thornography all cast their sickly shadow on an otherwise impoverished music world, and countless world tours and festival triumphs duly followed on the whims of major label status.
Clicking into a higher and more hideous gear, Cradle displayed their contempt for taking the easy route with 2008’s Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder, another labyrinthine concept work that told the vile saga of legendary knight and serial killer Gilles de Rais via some of the band’s most aggressive and intense material to date. Sustaining that sickening momentum with 2010’s similarly brutish and melodramatic Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa, our beloved filthmongers have showed no signs of slowing the pace of their creative flow, and have entered the second decade of this new century in the rudest and most rampant of health.
And now, it is time for the well-oiled gates of Midian to swing violently open once more as Cradle Of Filth prepare to release their tenth studio album, the all-powerful and undeniably terrifying The Manticore And Other Horrors. Recorded in eight to ten weeks at Springvale and Grindstone studios (where revered engineer Scott Atkins weaves his monstrous gloss), the new album comprises a collection of chilling tales of “personal demons, Chimeras, literary fiends and world-enslaving entities…” while showcasing the ongoing redefining and remorseless mutation of the classic Cradle sound, with an ever-more vicious underbelly of punk-fuelled black metal carnage driving the likes of monumental title track Manticore, the obnoxiously infectious For Your Vulgar Delectation and towering slabs of spew-drenched steel like The Abhorrent and Siding With The Titans breathlessly and brutally forward. With tentative plans for a release on Hallowe’en 2012, this is the ultimate Cradle Of Filth experience to date, complete with horrific live show come November and December, the band headline-touring in Europe.