Released: 2002, Snapper Music
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Cradle of Filth is a visual band. If you’ve never seen them live, you’re missing out. Anyone familiar with their image and theatrics can imagine what a spectacle a Cradle of Filth live performance is. LIVE BAIT FOR THE DEAD attempts to transport the listener to the show without the visual medium. Does it work? To some degree…
LIVE BAIT FOR THE DEAD is a double-disc set. The first disc comprises the band’s live set from an April 14th, 2001 show in Nottingham, England on the MIDIAN tour (**NOTE: This show can also be seen on the band’s HEAVY, LEFT-HANDED AND CANDID DVD), while the second CD is filler that might appeal to the Cradle completeist. For anyone else, it is a waste of time. I would have rather seen this released as a single-disc, or with another live show on the second disc rather than techno remixes, but that’s just me.
For the live show, the band runs through an excellent set of old and new songs, covering every album. All the songs you’d expect to hear are here and are done very well. The guitars and vocals are surprisingly evident in the mix and for a live recording, the sound is spread out very well. Cradle of Filth is a band whose music can border on overkill since there is so much happening, but fortunately that is not the case on this album. Dani Filth’s voice, though criticized by many, is something else to hear live. Any doubters can rest assured that he IS able to duplicate those high-pitched screams on stage and still go back to the guttural growls in a split-second. Dani’s stage banter is as witty as ever. Case in point, after a joke falls flat while introducing “Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids”, Dani finally introduces the song as “Cruelty Brought Thee Decent Jokes”!
As I said, the second disc is a mixed bag. “From the Cradle to Enslave (Under Martian Rule mix)” is not bad if you can get over the annoying techno. “Deleted Scenes of a Snuff Princess” suffers a worse fate, as it is five and a half (seemingly endless) minutes of a woman moaning over a shitty club beat. The Twisted Sister and Sisters of Mercy covers are cool. Cradle of Filth does a great job of reinventing them, which, in my opinion, should be the reason for covering another band’s song in the first place. My favorite track from the second disc is the original demo of “Scorched Earth Erotica”. This song shows a more stripped down Cradle of Filth. Listening to this and then the final version from 2001’s BITTER SUITES TO SUCCUBI reflects the not-so-subtle differences of a demo to the final product.
There is a bonus video clip of the Sisters of Mercy cover, “No Time To Cry”, as well as a downloadable screensaver and toolbar for your computer.
If you can’t get out to see a Cradle of Filth show, LIVE BAIT FOR THE DEAD will have to do. It is an accurate and faithful representation of a live performance from one of metal’s most inventive bands. Unfortunately the second disc brings the package down a few marks. The songs found here are things you’d find on a box set or b-sides/rarities compilation. They have no business on a live record. If I were to grade the discs separately, I’d give disc one a 4/5 and the second disc a (generous) 2/5.