Cradle of Filth
By: David E. Gehlke
Hard to believe it's been a decade since Cradle of Filth's Cruelty and the Beast album. Widely considered to be the band's watershed moment, Cruelty thrust CoF into a whole new demographic, shitty drum sound and all. A lurid concept album about the Countess Elizabeth Bathori, Cruelty and the Beast still holds up today, proving that the band's once incomprehensible combination of Goth metal aesthetics mixed with black metal overtones wasn't such a bad idea after all.
Not that Dani Filth cares or anything. The verbose and boisterous frontman has guided Cradle through a maze of obstacles that would have derailed lesser bands. We all know the story of CoF's revolving door lineup and inability to stick with one record company (their current union with Roadrunner is now at a remarkable three albums), but it is the band's unwillingness to pay attention to detractors and keep the blinders on that has enabled Cradle to enjoy staying power well into their 17th year of existence.
October, 2008 will bring forth Godspeed On the Devil's Thunder, a concept album detailing the life and crimes of noted Frenchman Gilles de Rais. Capturing the spirit and vibe of both Cruelty and its predecessor, Dusk and Her Embrace, Godspeed... is CoF's most lively and deranged album of the decade, notwithstanding 2003's totally underrated Damnation And A Day. As crazed, but carefully constructed numbers like “Shat Out Of Hell,” “Tragic Kingdom” and the epic “Crawl To Darken Counsel With Life” prove, it’s that Cradle is has the proverbial pedal to the metal, with no time (or need) for any interludes or slow, lumbering jams. And while we’re at it, take special note of new drummer Martin Saroupka – he totally annihilates the work of previous drummer Adrian Erlandsson.
A jet-lagged, but oh-so jovial Filth phoned Blistering to chat about the new album, along with his definition of the word "luck," and CoF's impending tour plans. No surprise here - Filth was certainly not at a loss for words.
Blistering.com: First impressions of Godspeed On the Devil’s Thunder is that it’s possibly the most brutal and unrelenting Cradle album to date.
Dani Filth: Absolutely. The thing I’ve been trying to explain is that it’s the most extreme, but it’s possibly the most melodic. Even though I’m screaming throughout the whole thing, musically, it’s got this symphonic, grandiose [feeling], but brutal as fuck.
Blistering.com: The “Death of Love” and “13th Caesar,” are reminiscent of the some of the melodic elements from Dusk and Her Embrace or Cruelty. Was that a conscious move?
Filth: When we started to write this record and the reason why we got this whole Gilles de Rais concept, was that it grew from the fact that the music we’ve been writing…we had a core of five or six tracks and I was kinda panicking, “What am I going to do about this album and the concepts?” The album started to remind me of in particular, Cruelty and the Beast and I started to revisit a lot of my old notebooks and stuff. The name Gilles de Rais pops up during all of this because I was researching the Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathori, his name was synonymous with her as being a similar, medieval, serial killer. And it grew out of that. That was in mind, but it wasn’t intentional, but it may be privy to the stars being right, we just came off of tour and we were pumped up.
Although our new drummer has been with us for two and a half years, this was his first album playing on it. I don’t know why… it is a departure from Thornography. Thornography was a rockier record. We’re always up to change and do something different from album to album and I guess this is one for our detractors who think we’re the Backstreet Boys of black metal.
Blistering.com: You really turned Martin loose on the album.
Filth: Oh, fuck me! You’re no more impressed than I am. He’s a literal octopus. “Shat Out of Hell” it’s the setting of the scene, the “Once Upon a Time.” The “Death of Love” is the beginning of why it started to happen. He was grand Marshall of France; he was comrade in arms to Joan of Arc. She was literally one step away from being God. She fought back the English; she had the voice of the Gods speaking to her. He was very much in love with her, not in a sensual setting because she was very boyish, but in the idea of her…she rallied a whole trained army. She rallied them as a peasant girl. That’s what that song tries to convey.
“The 13th Caesar” is after a death. He’s retired from the war and he’s using his fabulous wealth. He believed himself to the “13th Caesar.” He wanted to be like that. He blew most of wealth. That’s why he got in alchemy.
Blistering.com: “Crawl to Darken Council With Life.” That’s another adventurous number.
Filth: When Roadrunner asked which track we wanted to put up, that’s mine and Paul’s favorite track on the album. If there’s one song to describe Cradle of Filth, it would be that track. Unfortunately, it’s eight or nine minutes long, it uses up all the space on compilation CD’s.
Blistering.com: It’s interesting for me at least, because it’s tucked away towards the end of the album and as you know, that’s when things tend to run out of steam.
Filth: The album was actually two songs longer. One was an instrumental, which is really fucked up. If you imagine a riot in a haunted house, it’s like that. And another was a part of the main story but was able to be dragged out because it was about a dream he had where he saw Joan of Arc and completely repented. Both of those were taken out to make it not too long. They’ll turn up somewhere.
Blistering.com: You’re due for another compilation album anyway, right?
Filth: [laughs] Roadrunner are planning a special edition at the same time of the regular release. So, nobody can say you’re cheating the fans. There’s one other song which is a cover of Celtic Frost’s “Into the Crypt of Rays.”