Cradle of Filth
+ Ne Obliviscaris + She Must Burn
@ KOKO, London
23rd October 2015
Review by Jacob Ovington
Photography + Videos by Jo Blackened
Cradle of Filth are almost a rite of passage for any British metalhead, almost all of us listened to them while growing up. Tonight they returned to London performing tracks from their latest album, ‘Hammer Of The Witches’ for the first time, with the beautifully decorated KOKO providing the perfect setting for their sound.
The night was opened by She Must Burn, a band that in my opinion came across as trying too hard to have a certain image, but it didn’t really appeal to me.
Imagine if Cradle of Filth were a metalcore band, that’s what they sound like. They even describe themselves as ‘blackened metalcore’ too, maybe that’s what they’re trying to be?
They did win a competition to support Cradle of Filth, after-all.
The second act of the night was Ne Obliviscaris, an Australian extreme prog-metal band.
It’s not that often that we get a band from Australia over here, but when we do they’re normally worth bringing.
The scale and length of progressive music can be its downfall when performed live, the audience seemed to grow a bit restless as the set went on, though this was also probably down to their growing anticipation for tonight’s main act, Cradle Of Filth.
Ne Obliviscaris Set list
Devour Me, Colossus (Part I): Blackholes
And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope
The lights dim and the eerie symphony of ‘Humana Inspired To Nightmare’ begins to play. There is a roar and applause as the moment everybody has been waiting for dawns on the crucifix-framed stage. Cradle of Filth have entered!
As the band rip through ‘Heaven Torn Asunder’, it becomes clear that the newer members are more than capable of the task at hand. Up next was another old number, ‘Cruelty Brought Three Orchids’.
Cradle’s latest album ‘Hammer Of The Witches’ was very well received, with many saying that it’s their best release since ‘Midian’, though I’m sure people have been saying the same thing about every album since then.
It wasn’t until four tracks in that we got to hear a live offering from the album. This came in the form of ‘Blackest Magick In Practice’. This track seemed fresher and more rehearsed as it’s something that they’ve worked on and recorded together, it seemed like they were all more at home playing this one. It went down extremely well with the audience, although it was easy to tell there were quite a few who hadn’t listened to the new stuff yet.
Up next is ‘Lord Abortion’, followed by ‘Right Wing Of The Garden Triptych’ which even by Cradle’s standards is one mouthful of a pretentious title. This is one of the more memorable tracks from the latest album, with a chorus that leaps out of the song.
‘Malice Through The Looking Glass’ is next on the set, another old classic that went down very well with the audience. Mixing things up a bit they throw in another new track ‘Deflowering The Maidenhead, Displeasuring The Goddess’.
Cradle of Filth have always been a band of contrasts with their vulgar romanticism and brutal symphonies.
With the tacky, seemingly amateur “dancers” on stage, I’m left wondering if they’re there purposefully to contrast an otherwise quality performance. It just wasn’t working. It wasn’t down to the women themselves, but the whole thing just seemed unchoreographed, gimmicky and without purpose. A real detriment to the show.
If anyone came along expecting to be disappointed because of a lack of older material, then so far they’d been proven wrong. Also on the set were ‘Queen of Winter, Throned’ and to balance things out and please those looking forward to new stuff, ‘Walpurgis Eve’ and ‘Yours Immortally’ came after. By this point things have gone really quickly, and I’m amazed they’ve fitted so much in.
The new keyboardist and vocalist, Lindsay Schoolcraft was so far back on the left hand side of the stage that I almost couldn’t see her. Her voice isn’t the most outstanding, but it does fit well with the band’s atmosphere and sound. She covered the territory of the band’s older material well, though it was quite jarring to hear a different voice while the original vocalist, Liv Kristine was shown on the screen during ‘Nymphetamine’.
Out of the entire night, it seemed as though this went down the best, which is unsurprising as it is the band’s “greatest hit” in terms of its catchiness and popular appeal.
Following on from this, it certainly looks as though the band were saving the best for last. Up next was ‘The Twisted Nails Of Faith’, another oldie that many fans were delighted to hear make a live appearance. With its eerie sounds and rich atmosphere, it certainly makes a good live performance.
The operatic shrieking in the background was much more prominent than on the original version giving it that extra kick of theatricality. In fact, the whole performance seemed more three dimensional, so they’ve obviously got something right with the line-up.
And finally, the final finale… the classic ‘Her Ghost In The Fog’ which made a great end to the night, though unfortunately marred by the worst impression of being lost and confused I have ever seen. Maybe if she was a little more ghostly and it was a little more foggy, she wouldn’t be visible at all. Maybe that was the plan, who knows?
Overall it was a great show, with the refreshed line-up on good form musically and Dani sounding better than he has in a while. The band played a good mixture of new and old that blended together well, appealing to a wide audience in one cohesive set.
Cradle Of Filth set list
Heaven Torn Asunder
Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids
Blackest Magick in Practice
Right Wing of the Garden Triptych
Malice Through the Looking Glass
Deflowering the Maidenhead, Displeasuring the Goddess
Queen of Winter, Throned
The Twisted Nails of Faith
Her Ghost in the Fog
For more videos of the night please click here
For more photos click here