Dani Filth, frontman of Cradle Of Filth, made himself a promise after writing the latest in a series of concept albums with the group’s 2008 CD, Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder.
“I did swear blind on the last record that that would be the last concept record for some while,” Filth says.
But that promise didn’t last even one album. The new Cradle Of Filth CD, Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa, is once again a concept album, with a story based around Lilith, the first wife of Adam (before Eve), who according to mythology embraced a demonesque life filled with lust and sin.
Filth says he wasn’t planning to write another concept album, but that changed when he started writing the lyrics.
“I was struggling with the whole idea about what to do the whole album about,” Filth says. “And then one night I sat down with the nucleus of the album, the sort of starting block of about three or four songs, and played them back to back. I drank some wine and really got into the whole feel of it. Maybe it was the autumn air, I don’t know, but there was something about it that was quite magical.
“It just suggested this idea of Lilith,” he says. “Lilith has been a character that has sort of stood in the shadows behind the band for some while. I mean, we’ve always been interested in the powerful female archetype. And Lilith is probably the ultimate. … Because of that, I thought we could place her in history.”
As much as Filth realized he was once again traveling down the concept album road, he did not entirely forsake one of the key reasons he initially wanted to make the next Cradle of Filth CD be a collection of songs.
He felt that on other theme albums, individual songs often didn’t get appreciated outside of the context of the full CD. With Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa, he feels each song stands on its own merits.
“If people want to just download it and listen to it in completely the wrong order or mixed up, they can enjoy each song for what it actually is, a heavy metal song,” Filth says. “[Then] there’s another side of the coin where people can immerse themselves further. The story runs concurrently from A to B, and it’s very cinematic.”
Musically, Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa retains the signature elements that Cradle Of Filth has developed over the course of nine CDs since the band from Suffolk, England, came on the scene with the 1994 album The Principle of Evil Made Flesh.
As usual, the CD fuses gnarly extreme metal and symphonic elements. Filth screams (and occasionally sings) his way through a thick wall of guitars, pile-driving drums and bits of orchestration that give the songs melodic dimension and some gothic overtones.
But Filth feels the new CD stands out within the catalog because of a collection of subtle refinements that the band achieved in the making of the CD.
“There are a lot of little things that all add up to a bigger picture, whether it’s different vocal techniques — and there a lot of them on the album — different passages, more fluent keyboards, more symphonic, more rhythmic, more guitar solos,” he says. The new CD also marks the start of a new era on a business level, as Cradle Of Filth has left Roadrunner Records for the English label Peaceville Records, with a distribution deal for United States through Nuclear Blast Records. Filth felt Roadrunner wasn’t the right fit for the group anymore.
“I’m not going to speak shit about Roadrunner at all. We enjoyed our alliance together,” Filth says. “But toward the back end of our time there, and especially around the Godspeed album, I personally think that [CD] wasn’t handled very well. … They wanted something commercial. I mean, Cradle Of Filth, some people call us very commercial, but we’re not a resident in the top of the charts in America, the ‘Billboard’ charts, and probably never will be because we’re too extreme.
“Now at Peaceville, we feel like a bigger fish in a smaller, more creative pond,” he says. “They’ve got a lot of really good ideas because they want to push the band because they know it’s going to work, which is good.”
The band has started the touring cycle for Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa, and is now bringing its tour to the United States. Fans can expect a visually stimulating show that covers the group’s entire career.
“We’ve actually crafted several set lists in order to satisfy everybody,” Filth says. “In some states, you know, particularly around Orange County [California] and Las Vegas, it’s not uncommon to see the same person at two shows, and especially in Europe. So the whole purpose of having multiple set lists is so we don’t play the same thing from night to night too close together.”
On the Bill
Cradle of Filth plays the Gothic Theatre on Friday, Feb. 18. Doors at 6 p.m. Must be 16 to enter. Nachtmystium, Turisas, Daniel Lioneye (members of HIM) open.
Tickets are $29.95. 3263 S.
Broadway, Denver, 303-788-0984.