Cradle of Filth @ The London Palladium, 19th October

Spread the metal:

Cradle of Filth “Into The Palademonium”

@ The London Palladium

Saturday the 19th of October 2019

Review by Johnny Wolf

Photography by Michelle Murphy

Over 20 years ago I was introduced to Cradle of Filth by a friend who handed me a CD with some interesting art-work for a teenager my age back then; that album was The Principle of Evil Made Flesh. It spiked my interest after the first run, it was very different to anything I’ve ever listened to as I wasn’t into black metal back then. Still, it was fascinating and I couldn’t help but listen to it all the time over and over again and then nerd on that album so badly that I memorised the lyrics word by word.

A few years went by, my obsession with Cradle of Filth came to grow bigger with the newer material such as Dusk and Her Embrace and till the masterpiece Cruelty and the Beast was released.

Many might argue that Cradle have better albums but that wasn’t the case with me, that album was my go-to album: the story in the lyrics, the music, the art-work, it was all together iconic like nothing else of that time.

For someone who used to live in a traditional, conservative society, which didn’t understand or accept black metal, I used the lyrics of that album as I used many other lyrics from other Cradle albums to argue how good black metal is with people who doesn’t understand it.

I would be carrying the CDs and a printed copy of the lyrics around in my back pack and showing it to every friend I know, even giving them copies in the hope they would see the artistic aspect to the lyrics which might lead them to listen to the music and enjoy it the way I do.

I know you’re here to read a review about the concert rather than spend your time reading my personal teenage experience with the band; forgive me for doing so, the fact is I have been involved in many arguments with black metal fans about this subject and it annoys me so much, every time someone wants to argue how Cradle aren’t black metal I have to take them through the steps and spend time and effort explaining why and how Cradle are masters in the genre.

I’m sure since you’re reading this, you probably already are a fan of such a great band but I hope this answers many narrow-minded black metallers’ argument.

Cradle of Filth don’t really care under what genre you list them, I don’t think they care if you called them black, goth, symphonic or anything else, they don’t belong to a genre, their style and sound hasn’t been done before their time and I believe they set the outlines and rules to most English black metal bands which came after (even when some of them deny it). Personally I believe that they are one of the founders and most influential band on the English scene, no disrespect to other and different bands of course.

Little did that teenager boy know back 21 years ago that he would ever grow up to see this same band perform that masterpiece on stage perfectly like it was 1998 again. Considering he lived in a far-away country with no access to the live scene what-so-ever, it was definitely an emotional moment when that day actually become reality on the 19th of October 2019 with Cradle celebrating the 21st birthday of that album.

The London Palladium is a nice decent London venue which isn’t generally used for extreme music arts but I think it was a fitting venue for such an iconic performance, very organised, relaxed and high end sound. I think Cradle of Filth didn’t want to risk it and was aiming to make this performance an iconic one, hence the fancy venue.

I must mention there was a bit confusion for some people, including myself, about splitting the stalls into rear and front. Considering they were the same price I didn’t see the point but most importantly many bought standing stalls tickets thinking it’s the usual gig and standing means standing, then were surprised on the day that they are in a different location from their partners, or separated from their friends. I was actually separated from my friends because of that as well, I would hope next time this could be made clearer during the ticket purchase process to avoid any confusion.

The set had a warm-up by a DJ Amazonica. Usually I’d go easy and try to be diplomatic about things I dislike in gigs: I’m not going to be rude, I’ve seen her DJ before, she even opened for Manson a few years ago. I think she’s great as a DJ, although my opinion about DJs wouldn’t mean anything as I know nothing about it, but is having a DJ open for a band like Cradle of Filth the right choice? Let’s say that’s for you to decide: if you enjoyed it, Great! If you skipped it and came in right before Cradle like I did, that’s also great.

The time has finally come: slowly Once Upon Atrocity begins, shivers going down my spine, greatness is about to be bestowed upon the venue in a minute and darkness shall devour all.

The band gets on a very theatrical looking stage with steps in the middle and two elevated stands for Lindsay and Marthus and his drum-kit. Dani jumps on stage wearing a cape and his usual leather/spikes look while Thirteen Autumns and a Widow kicks in, and the crowd literally losses their minds screaming, my goosebumps lasted for probably few minutes through the track. I’ve always enjoyed Cradle in an indoors venue and always thought they fit better in darkness rather than an open air venue in the daylight.

The vocals were exceptional by Dani and Lindsay. I genuinely don’t understand how can Dani maintain this vocal range, such is the talent! Within seconds he would jump between deep throat singing to whistle tone levels, I think he’s one of the most unique voices in the world.

Massive respect to Lindsay for her backing performance, she’s very capable of hitting every note and it’s fascinating how she perfectly knows the original notes without deviation or changing,. Many would want to add their own imprint and make very subtle changes but she does it the way it exactly should be, very precise and on the note, much respect.

Rich on guitar was doing such a performance on stage, jumping around, hitting himself, pointing weirdly at the crowd, it was fun how into it he seemed and the crowd enjoyed it and reacted accordingly. Ashok did a monstrous job with his amazing guitar skills, matching and perfecting all the solos and beatifying them whilst he looked like Pinhead from Hellraiser. Of course Daniel did an amazing job on bass as well and never stopped jumping around and getting the crowd to participate with him.

During Venues in Fear they brought in a model (The Countess) while Dani was complementing the screams in the background brilliantly. There were lots of pyrotechnics during the show and the flames were so high it felt like it all burnt with our sins. A few mosh-pits broke out and there were some crowd surfers during most tracks. It felt like it was crammed which made it hard for a larger mosh-pit, not to mention I didn’t think a mosh-pit was appropriate for the venue or the occasion but I understand my fellow metallers getting all hyped about the music: a mosh-pit is mostly a sign of a good show.

The Countess makes another appearance on stage with flowers this time, which she hands over to few lucky crowd members while she walks around in fear and pain till after few minutes she reclaims her beauty and youth back (probably after bathing in the blood of 37 virgins) and leaves to her destiny.

Even Jesus was attending the performance and between tracks he’d walk around looking displeased with the ‘Jesus is a Cunt’ t-shirts almost half the crowd were wearing. He wasn’t the happiest when an Uncle Fester Addams look-alike (the announcer) kept asking the crowd, “Jesus is a?” and they kept answering loudly “Cunt!”. Nonetheless, Jesus has risen above the the crowds’ heads. I know for a fact that Jesus wasn’t part of the performance there but I have huge respect for the guy and the funny moments he added to the show… He has truly risen!

The first set finished with the ending of Cruelty and the Beast. The second set started with Dani coming on stage with a new cape, a cane with a ram’s head on top of it – cannot be any cooler Dani, loving it!

Carrying on with the same fantastic performance they did all numbers I’d wish for: Intro: A Bruise Upon the Silent Moon, The Promise of Fever, Malice Through the Looking Glass, Heartbreak and Seance, Nymphetamine (Fix), Saffron’s Curse, Her Ghost in the Fog, From the Cradle to Enslave, Blooding the Hounds of Hell.

During the second set the Sisters of Sin came out as catholic nuns, and left as satanic sisters who used their crosses to pleasure themselves and take away their virginity. It also snowed madly indoors during Her Ghost in the Fog and confetti showered the crowd to announce the end of the performance.

With the crowd cheering madly, Rich licked his picks and stuck them to his forehead and threw some to the crowd, the band grabbed a quick historic photo with the crowd and the night has ended with us all almost in tears. Cradle had promised a special performance and they have definitely delivered and did not disappoint!