WORDS: James Weaver, PHOTOS: Katie Needham
CRADLE OF FILTH have been a household name in British metal for over two decades now. After a nine year absence from Manchester, the band return to the stage of Manchester Academy 2 in support of their eleventh studio record, this year’s Hammer of the Witches. But is the momentum still with CRADLE OF FILTH after all these years?
Australia’s NE OBLIVISCARIS have been making waves in the metal scene over the past year. On the back of a successful crowd-funding campaign and appearances at various European festivals in the summer, the band had rather large expectations prior to taking the stage. With the band’s studio sound laced in a very complicated and atmospheric sound, there were questions raised if the band could replicate their studio sound. Yet these doubts were quickly extinguished as the band roared into opening track, Devour Me, Colossus (Part 1): Blackholes. NE OBLIVISCARIS were like a well-oiled machine, with each member of the band performing to exquisite standard. Tim Charles‘ clean vocals were an absolute wonder to witness with his high notes being spot on, and his execution of the violin added a chilling atmospheric and melodic element to the band’s live experience. Xenoyr‘s growls and Daniel Presland‘s chaotic drumming added a powerful punch to the band’s overall sound , all whilst Benjamen Baret‘s sweeping solos were performed to absolute perfection. It led to be one of the most dynamic live performances of recent memory.
With only a three song set, one would presume this would be a short performance but with each of the three tracks (Devour Me, Colossus (Part 1): Blackholes, Pyrrhic, And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope) carrying the trademark song length of progressive metal, it enabled the band to incorporate varying musical elements that ultimately allowed the band to flourish on stage. It was a performance of real unique character and it will only bolster NE OBLIVISCARIS‘ rapid growth in the modern metal scene.
After a nine year absence, CRADLE OF FILTH‘s return to Manchester was eagerly awaited and with a huge wealth of source material, CRADLE OF FILTH‘s performance was incredibly nostalgic. Bolstering a captivating stage get-up the band created a fantastic atmosphere from the haunting opening of Heaven Torn Asunder to the climatic closure of Her Ghost in The Fog. Surprising, new material was scarce and the band payed homage to their long-standing fans by delivering a setlist from the band’s earlier records. Despite playing older tracks, CRADLE OF FILTH did not show their age and their performance was incredibly satisfying. Lindsay Schoolcraft‘s chilling vocals and subtle use of the keyboards added the necessary atmosphere for the band’s musical charge whilst Martin Skaroupka‘s drumming and Richard Shaw‘s guitar work accurately portrayed the necessary style of black metal. Frontman Dani Filth dominated the stage and held the audience in the palm of his hand through solid deliveries of his trademark vocal style. Highs were screeched and lows were growled, Dani Filth replicated the studio sound of the band with ease and effectively demonstrated why the band are still as relevant now as they were back in the 1990s.
CRADLE OF FILTH‘s performance wasn’t just a nostalgia trip. It was a performance of appreciation to the band’s dominance of UK metal and after all these years, CRADLE OF FILTH are still a major player. It showcased the band’s ability to maintain quality and professionalism and it led to a performance that was thoroughly enjoyed throughout.