07 November 2017

CRADLE OF FILTH and Savage Messiah: O2 Institute 2, Birmingham – 4 November 2017

The wait to get into the 02 Institute tonight is taking a little longer than usual. Security have their hands full confiscating bottles of Ribena off the youngsters here to see pop duo Oh Wonder in the upstairs room. By the time I get into the venue, tonight’s only support has already hit the stage.

Savage Messiah

Despite some guitar trouble and an issue surrounding forgotten shoes (how does that happen?!), Savage Messiah (7.5) are undeniably good at what they do. Guitars and vocals wail as the stage is filled with whipping hair and leather. The London thrashers have a new album out through Century Media, ‘Hands of Fate’. They treat us to some great catchy tracks from that album, including the title track and ‘Eat Your Heart Out’ as well as some older material such as ‘Hellblazer’ from 2014’s ‘The Fateful Dark’.

Perhaps they aren’t everyone’s first choice of support for the filth, particularly Cradle’s darkness-loving cohort, but the crowd get into it. It’s a Saturday night after all! Although they aren’t necessarily a band I’d always reach for, they deliver straight up solid thrash, never failing to bring a lot of energy to their live performances and have always left me satisfied.

The motley bunch that make up Cradle of Filth (9) emerge from the gloom and the opening blasts of ‘Gilded Cunt’ fill the air. The track has got to be one of my favourites from the band’s contentious 2004 album ‘Nymphetamine’. There is something gleefully naughty about hearing Dani shrieking the lyrics. Had they continued with a run of the mill set list for the rest of the evening I still would have left a pretty happy customer, however, what follows is a set seemingly handpicked to please me.

Cradle of Filth

1998’s ‘Cruelty and the Beast’ is well represented with both ‘Beneath The Howling Stars’ and the 11 minutes of pure bliss that is ‘Bathory Aria’ featuring. We also get title track ‘Dusk and her Embrace’ from 1996 and ‘Her Ghost in the Fog’ from ‘Midian’ (2000). From more recent era Cradle we get ‘Blackest Magic in Practice’ from ‘Hammer of the Witches’ (2015) and the beautiful ‘Death of Love’ from ‘Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder’ (2008). Of course we get some top tracks from their brand new album ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay’ including; ‘Heartbreak and Séance’ and ‘You Will Know the Lion by his Claw’.

Cradle of Filth

The venue is packed out tonight and the crowd seems in good spirits. Making plenty of noise in between songs, mosh pits open up during the new material but tracks like ‘Bathory Aria’ have them completely enraptured. Mister Filth is a commanding, if physically diminutive, presence on stage. He seems a little distracted by problems hearing through his earpiece to begin with but these don’t spoil the show. His extreme vocal range, from deep demonic barks to the vampyric shrieks, is as imposing as ever. Other members of Cradle also do a fine job tonight. Special mention has to go to guitarist Richard Shaw, who, when he isn’t demonstrating some serious headbanging skills, manages to be highly engaging and more than a little creepy. Vocalist/keyboardist Lindsey Schoolcraft is also just perfect tonight. Her vocals are powerful, haunting and beautiful – like a Disney princess and villain wrapped up in one.

It might not be cool (or kvlt) to love Cradle of Filth but I’ve never been one to hide my fandom under a bushel! Their darkly romantic extravagance speaks deeply to my gothic soul. Tonight has been a special one.

Check out our full gallery of photos here.

Cradle of Filth