Words by Rangi White.
A strange cultural experience, is probably the only way I can describe last night. The Valley Drive In exhibited an ironic scene to me as a venue bestowed with BIGSOUND advertisement everywhere filled with contemporary music-hating Metalheads of all shape and size, all swarming in numbers for the malevolent Cradle of Filth. Touring their sickeningly brilliant album ‘Cruelty and the Beast’ in full, it would be an understatement to say I was rather excited.
It was a sparse crowd at 8 PM when the doors opened and I strolled into the venue to await Melbourne supports Hybrid Nightmares however slowly the tumultuous sea of leather, denim and metal studs began to coagulate into some formidable entity of palpable anticipation. The Melbourne metallers proved to be a perfect mood setter for CoF, with good stage banter, good stage presence, and insanely good riffs. Vocalist, Loki I noticed has an interesting vocal nuance in his growls, being that they are almost reminiscent of Mongolian throat singing! (If ‘ya don’t know what that is, set yourself 10 minutes aside whenever you can and investigate) To me it added a folk-metal element to an already ballin’ melodic black metal performance. Quote of the day goes to Loki; “We’ve been on tour with Cradle of Filth for a week or so…but it doesn’t matter about the time. Time is inherently useless and is only used to measure the space between this beer…and the next.” Fuckennnn’ Kudos.
There are not very many bands I know that can perform an album of insane musical complexity to the degree of quality where it is nigh on perfect, but Cradle of Filth, apparently, are one such band. Amalgamating the archaic atmosphere of daunting orchestral elements alongside the pure brutality of black metal and macabre poetry instilled a true feeling of theatrical awe within me during their performance. And theatre it is, with such attention to detail in costume, and stage presence, I finally saw why this band has seen so much success over the years with my own eyes. Dani Filth’s voice is pure murder, like a sonic buzz-saw with too high a frequency to be heard by human ears…though we still can and it is haunting to behold. Each member gives off the feel of a performer who knows the worth of their performance and doesn’t shy away from being entitled to the audience reaction they elicit…a quality in a band that is always special to watch.
By 10:30 the Valley Drive In was acting as some sort of wind tunnel, channelling the most intensely cold wind into the walled carpark creating a black metal cyclone (the only thing as hellishly chilling as the show I was witnessing) and it was then I admitted to myself I was regretful of only wearing a singlet. However, upon reflection the cold enhanced the overall experience, such a visceral physical sensation I tenured alongside the aural and visual one only made it more memorable. After playing the entirety of their 1998 release ‘Cruelty and the Beast’ they finished with a second set of crowd favourites and by the time the performances ceased I was completely numb, from the wind or from the withering, brain melting, mephistophelian brilliance of Cradle of Filth, I wasn’t sure.
You’ll never get a more diverse crowd than that of an internationally famous metal band, regardless of the fact they’ve all donned themselves in the same threatening garb the variety of ages, ethnicity, and obvious lifestyles is comparatively intriguing…just a perfect example of what a unifying social adhesive metal music truly is, it’s a symptom of the miracle that passionate bands with influence and popularity really are.
The tour continues tonight in Sydney, then onto Canberra and Auckland.
Sunday 8 September – Metro Theatre, Sydney 18+
Tuesday 10 September – The Basement, Canberra 18+
Thursday 12 September – The Studio, Auckland 18+
Tickets From: Destroy All Lines