Twelve studio albums and twenty-six years in, Cradle of Filth show us why they are still considered one of the most influential, and controversial, black metal bands ever. In the old converted church venue, surrounded by monolithic stained glass windows, Leeds was treated to a very atmospheric and theatrical Sunday service.
First up though, were British metallers Savage Messiah (8). They played an electrifying set, comprised mainly of their stunning new material, with a few old faithfuls dotted throughout. Despite the crowd being, by frontman Dave Silver's own admission, not their usual crowd, the reaction to their set indicated they had won more than a few new fans that night.
Making their presence heard, a huge cheer erupted from the bands existing fans when they announced 'Hellblazer', a track from their previous release The Fateful Dark.
Savage Messiah play a brand of metal that transcends people's genre affiliations, allowing universal enjoyment and admiration from listeners of varied musical backgrounds.
Once the band had finished and left the stage, the anticipation for the headliners was noticeably growing. With each passing song on the FOH playlist, the atmosphere was becoming increasingly electric.
The tension in the room immediately started to simmer as soon as the lights went off and the intro tape 'Ave Santani' started. Each band member was greeted with a rowdy ovation until finally, frontman Dani Filth emerged and they exploded into their Nymphetamine era classic, 'Guilded C*nt' to kick their set off with a bang.
The intensity of Dani's bloodcurdling, high pitch screams reverberating off every surface of the church is something that needs to be experienced in person in order to fully grasp what his voice is capable of.
Dani's parts were perfectly offset by the sporadic injection of wonderfully operatic vocals from keys player Lindsay Schoolcraft. On the tracks like 'The Death of Love' and 'Nymphetamine' the contrast between the harsh, demonic screams and Lindsay's tender vocals give an overwhelming sense of good vs evil: even more so witnessing it within such a stunning live setting.
Though the band were absolutely on fire, the atmosphere in the room felt strange in a way best described as flat. When the band left the stage for the encore, rather than chanting and cheering, the audience opted to chat or just stand idle gawping at the empty stage. After what must have been 10 minutes, and despite a few efforts from the die-hards in the room to get a chant going, the band eventually gave up and returned for the encore.
Fan favourites 'Nymphetamine' and 'Her Ghost in the Fog' came during the encore which proved to be a strong finish to their incredible, theatrical performance.
Many bands have come and gone over the past twenty-six years, yet still weathering the storm are Cradle of Filth (7), who have managed to remain a staple of the British metal scene and will go down in history of one of the greatest metal bands to ever come out of the U.K. Their stellar live show is proof that no amount of time or lineup changes can slow them down and that they will continue to be at the pinnacle of British metal.
Words: Elliott Musgrave
Images: Gavin K