Cradle of Filth (1991-present): a Gothic Metal band from Suffolk, UK.
ronted by former journalist Dani Davey who was so inspired by the advancing Scandinavian black metal movement he set out to form his gothic/punk hybrid grave robbing sound and called it Cradle Of Filth. After hiring the services of Damien Gregori (keyboards), Stuart Anstis (guitar), Gian Pyres (guitar), Robin Eaglestone (bass) and Nicolas Barker (drums), the Principle Of Evil Made Flesh was unleashed in early 1994. Although brutal death metal was the stock-in-trade it featured the beginning of their gothic sound. The follow-up Vampire - Or Dark Fairytales In Phallustein (1996) saw Anstis changing his name to Jared Demeter. The album, however, barely had time to get out when they signed to 'Music For Nations' to release Dusk... And Her Embrace (1996). The band themselves seemed to get more attention than the music at this point for the "masturbating nun" T-shirt and controversial promo shoots. A BBC TV documentary of a mother following them around in a camper made them uncomfortable but Satanism and sex won out on the follow-up Cruelty And The Beast (1998), featuring Les 'Lector' Smith replacing Gregori; the album that finally broke them out of the Scandinavian market and into mainland Europe, especially the UK who rewarded them with a 48 chart spot. From The Cradle To Enslave (1999) was the soundtrack to their home video released that same year about the same time that Stuart Smith replaced Pyres. Not to mention the temporary placement of Was Sargenson (Adrian Erlandsson would replace him permanently after). Cradle Of Filth seemed to have a fetish for the black metal scene with this mini-album by featuring tracks with titles like Of Dark Blood And Fucking, along with a rendition of The Misfits' Death Comes Ripping.
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After Smith left to form his own act Aphelion, the group continued on with the remaining members. Midian (2000) was released with yet more symphonic gothic mayhem and blaspheming with a follow-up Bitter Suites To Succumbi (2001) matching it's predecessor at 63 on the UK charts. Their "best of..." compilation Lovecraft & Witch Hearts (2002) was followed-up with the live effort Live Bait For The Dead (2002), now featuring Antsis replaced with Paul Allender, before a new studio disc came about titled Damnation and a Day (2003). The album brought a real orchestra into the studio (the 80-member Budapest Film Orchestra and Choir -- replacing the increasingly sophisticated synthesizers of previous albums) and thus marking the band as a full-blown symphonic metal act - for one album only. Damnation... featured the band's most complex compositions to date, was twenty minutes longer and produced two popular videos. Their surprising signing to 'Sony' music for the release was short lived for in 2004 Nymphetamine was released on 'Roadrunner' and was the first not be based around any sort of overarching concept.
Thornography was released in October 2006. The album received pre-release controversy when Samuel Araya's original cover artwork scrapped and replaced in May, although numerous CD booklets had already been printed with the original image. This album received a similar reception to the previous, by getting positive reviews, but raising eyebrows with the inclusion of a cover of Heaven 17's Temptation (featuring guest vocals from Dirty Harry), which was released as a digital single and accompanying video shortly before the album. Thornography entered the Billboard chart at 66, selling nearly 13,000 copies.
Drummer Adrian Erlandsson left in November 2006 to pursue his two side projects, Needleye and Nemhain. He was replaced by Martin karoupka.
Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder (2008), a concept album based around the legend of Gilles de Rais, a 15th-century French nobleman who fought alongside Joan of Arc and accumulated great wealth before becoming a Satanist, sexual deviant and murderer, was released, following a tour with GWAR which took place in Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Romania, Slovakia and North America. It sold 11,000 copies in its week of release, entering the Billboard 200 at 48.
The band's relationship with 'Roadrunner' came to an end in April 2010, with the announcement that the band's next album would be released by the British independent label 'Peaceville Records', using the band's own 'Abracadaver' imprint. The follow-up album was realized as Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa (2010), another concept album centering on the demon Lilith, the first wife of the biblical Adam, and also making reference to Greek, Egyptian and Sumerian mythology, the Knights Templar and the Carmelite Nuns.
The EP, Evermore Darkly (2011) featured "new tracks and rarities".
In April 2012, the compilation album Midnight in the Labyrinth was released, featuring orchestral re-recordings of songs from the band's first three albums and the V Empire EP.
In July 2012, the band re-issued its back catalog from 1994 to 2002, via 'The End Records'.
The Manticore and Other Horrors (2012) arrived re-introducing female vocals and punk-like riffs. This year would also see Daniel Firth take over on bass.
In March 2014, the band announced the first ever commercial release of their 1993 demo Total Fucking Darkness. The album arrived on CD and limited edition vinyl the following May, on the independent 'Mordgrimm' label. It features all the tracks from the original cassette, plus previously unreleased rehearsal recordings and the sole surviving track from their abandoned Goetia album.
In April 2014, Paul Allender stated he had once again left Cradle of Filth, in favor of his new band White Empress. Meanwhile, James McIlroy also left the band due to imminent surgery for a spinal injury. Both guitarists were replaced for upcoming tours by guitarist Marek "Ashok" merda of the Czech groups Root and Inner Fear, and guitarist Richard Shaw of English acts Emperor Chung and NG26. Both would soon become full members.
In 2014 the band signed to 'Nuclear Blast' and Hammer of the Witches (inspired by the 1486 treatise on the prosecution of witches by Heinrich Kramer) was released.
Dusk...and Her Embrace - The Original Sin, the original recording of Dusk...and Her Embrace recorded in 1995 and never heard before, would be released on 'Cacaphonous Records' as a demo in 2016.
Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness of Decay (2017) would follow. The album was a marked departure from their past by incorporating influences from the heavy metal genre's past, reminding one of the solo guitar styles of Iron Maiden and the crunch Judas Priest to name just two.
Footnote: Was (ex-Blood Divine) and Rob Eaglestone released their own Source Of Origin album in 1997 under the collective name of December Moon.
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