Cradle of Filth
Best Buy Theater
Thursday, March 3rd
Better than: Sitting through Twilight
Cradle of Filth take a lot of crap from “true” metalheads, a fact that frontman Dani Filth seemed well aware of as he introduced the band as “the pieces of shit from England.” As if playing the super-slick Best Buy Theater in Times Square wasn’t enough, sharing the bill with fellow black-metal whipping posts Nachtmystium should have been enough to set people in Darkthrone jean-jackets picketing the venue.
Maybe it’s the Cenobites-esque stage outfits, the overbearing Gothic pomp, or the sexy-Satan lyrics (see crowd favorites “Nymphetamine” or “Her Ghost in the Fog”), but Cradle have been the poster band for “false,” teen-goth-pandering poseurs for the better part of the 21st century. But despite the barbs, they can claim a sound and identity of their own (unlike most bands), and if it’s a choice between them and the limp-wristed “post-black metal” of the future (curse you, Agalloch!), I’ll opt for the leather chaps and fishnets every time.
Fortunately, there were no haters present at Thursday night’s show, just a brigade of fans in matching makeup and revealing bondage gear. The crowd remained rabid throughout the hour-plus set, which reached as far back as the band’s ’94 debut, The Principle of Evil Made Flesh. Dani Filth, the band’s short-statured mastermind and lone constant, was the undeniable centerpiece, hopping up and down like a mad imp, all the while screeching for the circle pit to spin faster.
Listening to Cradle’s set, it seems the hatred is indeed more thematic than sonically based. At its base, their sound is still mid-to-late-’90s symphonic black metal: No one had much of a problem with that approach back then, and there’s even less reason to now, what with so many more deserving targets poking their heads out (Emmure comes to mind). Honestly, it’s baffling to watch people who paint themselves up like blood-covered panda bears and dance around in the woods get riled up at some sexed-up, leather-bound vampires. What’s the world coming to?
Overheard: “I like my metal like I like my men … black.”
Critical Bias: I’m into leather.
Most Metal T-Shirt: Fishnets and duct tape.