Live Review: Cradle of Filth - Cruelty and the Beast and 'Into the Pallademonium' | London P

5th May 1998 saw the release of Cruelty and the Beast, the third album by Cradle of Filth. Perhaps a step up in ambitions for the band; a concept album about Elizabeth Bathory. 20 years on, it remains an important album for Cradle of Filth – part of their "early career". It is perhaps for these reasons that in November 2019 we're to see a remastered re-release entitled: the Remistressed edition. Fully supported with a tour performing all songs.

The importance of this album can be summed up with songs like 'Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids', 'Beneath the Howling Stars' and 'Bathory Aria'. Their romantic and dark overtones supporting the melodies of ambitious pieces of Extreme Metal. Cradle of Filth possess a unique position within Metal history. Parts Symphonic Black Metal fused with Gothic Metal, for something that feels atmospherically dark, romantically inclined, but with a sense of raw brutality underlying each song. The update serves to up production values, removing most of the undisciplined energy for a feeling more in line with the modern Cradle of Filth sound. Bringing it in line for contemporary audiences, whilst giving new life and air to all songs.

Accompanying the remastered re-release, Cradle of Filth supported this by playing the album live in its entirety. A tour without support acts and closer to the two acts of a play, performing the album then supplementing this with more classics. That, Cradle of Filth, are able to support such a tour with themselves only goes to show that they still hold such a strong presence in the Metal community. Cradle of Filth exploded into notoriety for their Extreme Gothic Metal; surrounding their music with beasts of mythology and keeping a darkly romantic edge. Their live performances gained a similar notoriety but in its theatricality. Dancers, fire, props and the kinds of performances that you might find in a Circus of Horrors performance, were a huge part of their craft. But, they have taken a step down from this as of late. Here, at the London's Palladium, Cradle of Filth took to the huge stage with a larger than life sense of musicianship. Clearly, the band are having fun with their music. As for props, dancers and more. We have atmospheric fires, stripper nuns, altars and snow. It's not as big as they have been, but it is incredibly atmospheric and on point. Seeing 'Her Ghost in the Fog' with confetti snow manages a chillingly simple edge!

It is actually not unheard of, to hear the thrills of nostalgia bring back classic albums to the stage in anniversary tours. Emperor and Children of Bodom brought back their first albums in anniversary tours not too long ago. Some of these albums are groundbreaking, whilst others are the sounds of a bygone era. Cruelty and the Beast makes for a blast from the past, but isn't the biggest name to come from Cradle of Filth - or the first. Already there are cheers for albums like Midian to get this treatment. (Perhaps in time.) Hearing Cruelty and the Beast, live, gave many a chance to hear classic songs performed with new colours. It's a darker and more symphonic side to an earlier Cradle of Filth, but it is crowd pleasing for so many of the long time enthusiasts of Cradle of Filth. Cradle of Filth always being a name for controversy; if not for the 'Jesus is a Cu**' T-shirts, it'd be for the Metal elitists seeing their older Cradle of Filth go for a more mainstream sound. Perhaps this is a way for Cradle of Filth to keep that authenticity and win back this audience. It struck its chords, it found its place and Cradle of Filth performed it with such enthusiastic precision – one may quickly forget, in the light of everything else that they are, that they are actually good musicians too.

Headlining this event, Cradle of Filth offer send up of popular material with a focus to older songs. Only two tracks come from more recent albums, whilst the rest are from Nymphetamine or before, including: 'From the Cradle to Enslave', 'Her Ghost in the Fog', 'Malice Through the Looking Glass' and 'Saffron's Curse'. These are well chosen tracks, as an accompaniment to the more primal album Cruelty and the Beast. Though more recognisable, they are able to blend into the rest of the set with relative ease. As if the end of a regular setlist, or even, as a headliner within their own performance. This complimenting tone of the two performances works to give the event a sense many bands despite being one. It does manage to tease and send up to a bygone era of songs that still holds its passionate place within a crowd. As such, Cradle of Filth manage to bring death lovingly back into these songs. Knowing where they are with fan favourites and pushing them out energetically to audiences.

Tours like this will always have a sense of novelty. It is a look back with bloody rose-tinted eyes. Powerful is this raw presence as it takes the stage again. Daringly the old songs come to fill the hall. They don't have the enduring fires of actual fan favourites, but make a worthy fight to fit amongst the best of them. There is a reason that such albums are getting a send up. They may not make immediate sense, but their presence is raw, primal and powerful. [8]

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Setlist: See Here

London Palladium