On the second night of their Creatures from the Black Abyss Tour 2012, Cradle of Filth, together with an array of bands, have landed in the small Frisian town of Leeuwarden, promoting their latest release, “The Manticore and Other Horrors”.

Within the metal community Cradle of Filth has become a bit of an inside joke for anybody over the age of reason 16. While the band started as a promising act in the British black and death metal scene, they quickly adopted a more symphonic and goth approach that not only didn’t really seem to be as good or genuine, but that also seemed targeted to angsty teenagers with daddy issues a different type of audience.

Having said that, the band does, from time to time, surprise us. Their newest release was surprisingly good (particularly in comparison with their previous material) so I was eager to see them perform; even though I had seen some horrendous recordings of their live material. Plus, the show was going to be opened by Rotting Christ and God Seed, so there was nothing to lose!

The opening band for the night was the Italian black metal act Dark End, a band that seems determined to never be found during a Google search, since their logo shows their name as just one word, “Darkend”, which will be autocorrected as a search for “Darkened” (go try it, I’ll wait).

Darkend‘s show seemed a bit influenced by Watain, since there appeared to be a “ritual” going on (although I doubt they do it with the batshit insanity seriousness that Watain puts into it), coupled with the use of a few props, such as incense, candles, weird-ass gloves and what seemed to be a sheet covered in blood. Musically the band showed a lot of doom elements, coupled with some symphonic touches here and there that gave them a more melodic sound than that of some of the early black metal bands. While in terms of sound they were OK, the show lacked energy, since at some points it looked as if the band was simply going through the motions, not really caring about being there. 1) There is something that I simply have to get out of my chest. I know that I will be called vain for this, but I couldn’t, in all honesty, take the band seriously. Why? Their singer had cornrows. That’s right, the guy wearing the crown of thorns and singing about the devil was sporting the hairstyle of choice for millions of 13 year old black girls (and Axl Rose).

For me the highlight of the evening was Rotting Christ; hell, they were the only band I really wanted to see. They, in my very biased opinion, did not disappoint.

Despite showing up with a completely new line-up (the Tolis brothers being the only familiar faces) nothing in their performance would have given that away, since they worked together impeccably. Not taking into consideration a couple of sound problems that affected the opening (the bass amp was not properly hooked and the guitars were, apparently, a bit too low) Rotting Christ delivered everything I expected from them, playing songs like The Sign of Prime Creation (my personal favorite), Athani Este and Noctis Era, all of which  was done with lots energy and with a great response from the audience.

God Seed, the band made up of Gaahl and King ov Hell after the Gorgoroth name dispute, was up next. Since my only point of reference was Gorgoroth’s infamous “Black Mass in Krakow”, I didn’t really know what to expect. While I knew that it was unlikely that they’d crucify anybody this time, I did expect a brutal and heavy set. For this reason, I was surprised to be treated to a rather doom show, in which the songs seemed marked by a slower tempo than that of some of Gorgoroth‘s material, with Gaahl walking around the stage like a zombie, making eerie eye contact with the audience, looking almost as if his mind was elsewhere (and I don’t mean this as a criticism, since it really exacerbated the overall eerie feeling).

After a rather long pause required to set up the stage (about 30 minutes!) Cradle of Filth finally came appeared, bringing the house down. For a band that, to a certain extent, has fallen from grace (they were playing in a venue for 300 people and the show wasn’t sold out) their fans sure made up for the loss of popularity, screaming, pushing and headbanging throughout their set.  2) Speaking of fans, there were two kids who were wearing Cradle of Filth’s “Jesus is a Cunt” t-shirt (“Fuck you mom! you don’t get it!”)… isn’t it odd that they both happened to be massive cunts, who spent the whole show drunk and pushing those around them.

I was skeptical as to Dani Filth’s abilities for this show. As I said before, I had seen some horrible footage from a few live shows, so I was prepared to just suffer through their set. Based on what I had seen, it was as if he had been progressively losing his voice and becoming unable to reach the high notes that made him famous to begin with, replacing them with some very, very, very bad growling sounds that were more reminiscent of a dying pig than anything else. I am happy to say, however, that I was impressed. Although Dani is not, nor will he ever be, the same singer he used to be, he was able to put up a good show for his audience, the members of which were very thankful for the opportunity.

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References   [ + ]

1. There is something that I simply have to get out of my chest. I know that I will be called vain for this, but I couldn’t, in all honesty, take the band seriously. Why? Their singer had cornrows. That’s right, the guy wearing the crown of thorns and singing about the devil was sporting the hairstyle of choice for millions of 13 year old black girls (and Axl Rose).
2. Speaking of fans, there were two kids who were wearing Cradle of Filth’s “Jesus is a Cunt” t-shirt (“Fuck you mom! you don’t get it!”)… isn’t it odd that they both happened to be massive cunts, who spent the whole show drunk and pushing those around them.
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Considered by his mother as the brightest and prettiest boy, J's interest in metal started in his early teens, listening to bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica (coupled with an embarrassing period in which Marilyn Manson "totally represents me, man") eventually moving into the realm of power, black, and death metal. He holds a PhD in law, trains martial arts, practices law, and enjoys coming up with excuses as to why he has to miss work after going to a concert. He also dabbles as a concert photographer, you can see his sub-par work on his instagram.