Cradle of Filth and “The Creatures of the Black Abyss” tour
Best Buy Theater – New York, NY
March 3rd, 2011
Review and pictures by Kyle Moore, the Metal Magnus
For reasons unknown, the show started half an hour earlier than scheduled, causing me unfortunately to miss opening act Turisas. I’d seen them open for Dragonforce a couple years ago and really enjoyed their “battle metal” shtick (their smokin’ hot accordion player didn’t hurt either.) I walked in right as the last notes of their final song rang out. This left me with some time to wonder about the other two acts on the bill, neither of whom I’d ever heard of before who wen on AFTER the more recognizable Turisas.
Armed with what might be the worst band name in metal history, Daniel Lioneye is composed mostly of members from the renown Finnish act HIM. I am unfamiliar with HIM, though their music is apparently nothing like the unremarkable blackish metal of Daniel Lioneye. If anything, they were a little too similar in sound to Cradle of Filth, but without either the chops or the ridiculous gothy vampire shtick. I won’t dismiss these guys outright, as I really enjoyed the passionate performance of guitarist Mikko Lindström, but their nothing-new-here songs really did nothing for me. Bassist Migé didn’t help things by dressing like a trucker you might see outside a roadside strip joint (complete with an easy-access crotch hole nonetheless!) At the end of their set, their singer shrieked “scream for us if you wanna see Daniel Lioneye come back!” – I was one of the many audience members who stayed silent.
Tonight’s second unknown act proved to be much more interesting than the first. They opened with a brutally raw, blastbeat-infused piece that could have been aborted from Norway in 1992, but shortly transitioned into a much more modern, progressive sound. These guys apparently started as a straight-up black metal outfit and evolved as band members frequently arrived and departed. I was thoroughly impressed by the diversity and intensity these guys could muster, as well as the venomous vocal performances of both frontman Blake Judd and touring bassist Will Lindsay, who took about a third of the shrieks. I also liked how they had no gimmick or costuming to speak of – they let their music do the screaming for them. I would definitely see these guys again if and when they return to New York.
Cradle of Filth
Right as the predictably long intro for Cradle of Filth began, I had my fingers crossed hard – “please oh please kick ass again like you did in Florida a couple years ago…” Though their stage props couldn’t have been cheesier or cheaper-looking*, Cradle did in fact bring their A-game to the Best Buy Theater that night.
*This recession must be hitting everybody pretty hard, since Dani’s outfit looked like it was made by a class of kindergarteners armed with colored paper and safety scissors.
Dime-a-dozen set, the band was in fine furious form, performing a wide swath of songs from the entirety of their lengthy career. As musicians, these guys are top-notch. Drummer Martin Škaroupka deserves particular credit for effortlessly hammering his way through the speedy blastbeats and double-bass required by Cradle’s songs without breaking much of a sweat. Keyboardist and backing vocalist Ashley Ellylon has improved significantly as a replacement for Sarah Jezebel Deva, who used to solely handle the female vocal touches for Cradle. Ms Ellylon doesn’t quite have the power or versatility of Ms Deva, but considering that she also plays keyboards I won’t give her too much grief.
Mr Filth himself seemed full of piss and vinegar, haunting the theater’s broad stage with gusto and impish fury. His freakish, inimitable screams sounded as peculiarly vomitous as always, though his hand always spasms comically whenever he rips off a really loud one. One thing about Dani that I cannot fathom is why he is so popular with female metalheads. Despite his musical talents, his appearance isn’t especially becoming. Perhaps Cradle has attracted some of the Twilight crowd with their vampire shtick. Some of the female audience members in attendance looked like they could be employed in Wall Street offices, wearing upscale office attire instead of the expected leather bustiers and miniskirts.
Overall, I’d say that Cradle of Filth has redeemed themselves for their one bad show. Their encore was beyond ecstatic, with personal favorites “Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids” and “From Cradle to Enslave” being explosively performed. While I still think they’re a long way from the glory days of the MIDIAN era, they can still blast out a whole lotta evil.