The first proper chance I had to see Cradle of Filth in close to 20 years, and coming on the back of the recently released “Hammer of the Witches” album, following on from other acclaimed releases, it seemed like the perfect time to see the band again.
I only caught the end of the She Must Burn set but the Londoner’s seemed to be putting on a fine show. A difficult task being openers on this bill but the band put everything into their performance and it looked like more and more people were paying attention throughout their set. Their sound was a little different from the rest of the bill, and they may have fared even better with different bands, but they definitely held their own and looked like a decent proposition worthy of more attention.
Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris were up next and set a very high bar for Cradle to follow afterwards. The two vocalists bring totally different styles and sounds to the mix. Tim Charles (whose clean vocals were even more impressive considering he spent a large part of the set playing violin as well) and Xenoyr create an amazing layered sound which a lot of bands struggle to recreate live but tonight was flawlessly delivered. Another impressive thing was how they managed to maintain the utterly vicious sound whilst adding some almost serene and calm moments. Both styles sat perfectly with each other without watering the other one down. Each of the three epic tracks seemed to showcase their talent even further, and this band I knew little about before tonight put on one of the best support slots I have seen in a long time. Definitely a band to catch next time they come over.
Finally, Cradle of Filth appeared for their first Manchester show in almost a decade and the rapturous welcome afforded to a horned, staff-carrying Dani when he appeared showed how much they had been missed. With a few new songs added to the set Cradle proved their high standing within the extreme metal scene, and that they are producing some of their best work for some time. Dani was on top form vocally, with some of his high-pitched screams powerful enough to threaten the structure of the stained glass windows in the church over the road from the Student Union. An 8-song main set might not seem much but given the average length of a Cradle of Filth song that’s a full hour of horror-themed darkness. The new tracks fit in the set well but hearing ‘Queen Of Winter, Throned’ in its full 10-minute glory made it for me. The encore also brought some great moments, with ‘Her Ghost in the Fog’ and ‘Nymphetamine’ both sounding great and getting huge responses.
The only downside for me was the absence of anything from the band’s classic debut album “The Principle of Evil Made Flesh”. A high point in black metal for me and many others and it would have been great to hear just one track from it. That is just personal taste though, and it didn’t take anything away from an otherwise excellent show. Given the subject matter and concepts the band have dealt with it would be cool to see them do a more theatrical show as there is no doubt they could put on something spectacular. That aside, they are sill a ferocious live act and that shows no sign of letting up.