Cradle of Filth

Live at The Mayan Theatre

Los Angeles, CA

February 17th, 2016

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Cradle of Filth return to Los Angeles supporting their latest offering of musical darkness, "Hammer Of The Witches". In classical Filth form, the album involves intricate story telling, Gothic undertones, symphonic highlights and at its core, extreme metal at its best.

At the Cradle center is Dani Filth, the voice and mastermind behind one of music's darkest dramatic personifications. This is my fifth time seeing them live and each time I see new faces in the ranks.

For this current album and tour Dani has with him his dual guitar onslaught performed by Richard Shaw and Marek 'Ashok' Šmerda. Martin 'Marthus' Skaroupka has been playing drums with the band for a while and Lindsay Schoolcraft handles keyboards and all female vocals. Rounding out the heavy end, Daniel Firth plays bass guitar.

Their costuming is always in character, and part of their overall visual appeal. Dani took the stage dressed like a vampire count or demonic prince. Behind the band, the illuminated screen brought the Baphomet-esque scene from their latest album cover to larger than life reality.

As the trails of the intro, "Humana Inspired to Nightmare" came to its close, they broke into the first song of the set, "Heaven Torn Asunder" from their 1996 release, "Dusk... and Her Embrace". Starting with a classic hit from their early material went over extremely well with the audience.

Keeping the first songs in old-school Filth stylings, they played "Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids" from 1998's "Cruelty and the Beast" and everyone was cheering.

Bringing it up to the recent release, they played "Blackest Magick In Practice", which was really cool to see live for the first time. They followed this up with "Lord Abortion" from the 2000 release, "Midian".

The first single released off of "Hammer Of The Witches" was "Right Wing of the Garden Triptych" which was very gripping to see live and the audience concurred.

Dani wore a heavy leather cape with spikes at the shoulders and a leather under-suit that looked like it was made of reptilian hides. Lindsay stood in the back playing an interesting warped keyboard that was bent into a half cylinder-like arch.

The drummer was encased in a glass booth, apparently as much for his own protection as everyone else's, while the three guys playing their stringed instruments roamed freely about the large stage.

Returning to the "Dusk... And Her Embrace" album, they gave us "Malice Through The Looking-Glass", another crowd favorite from two decades ago. Keeping that old-to-new flow going, they followed up with another new song, "Deflowering the Maidenhead, Displeasuring the Goddess".

They closed out the main set with songs off of two of my favorite releases of theirs, "Honey and Sulphur" off the excellent "Godspeed On The Devil's Thunder", followed by "Gilded Cunt" from "Nymphetamine".

After a short break from the stage, and much chanting and shouting from the audience, the band returned to the front, Dani having shed his previous entrapments, came out in devilish horned head piece. They started the encore with a song from the new album, "Yours Immortally".

He dedicated the next song to all the ladies in the audience. "Nymphetamine" is arguably their most popular song having been nominated for a Grammy. Lindsay performed the female vocals on the song flawlessly, with the original version sporting the fantastic voice of Liv Kristine, that is saying something.

They played "For Your Vulgar Delectation" next, which was the only song from their previous album, "The Manticore and Other Horrors" that they performed on this tour.

"Her Ghost in the Fog" was up next, another great song from the "Midian" album. They finished up the night with two classic tracks that they often include in their set lists. First we got the awesome "From The Cradle to Enslave" followed by "The Principle of Evil Made Flesh".

It was a great show, they sounded amazing. I loved the set list but would not have minded a track or two from "Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa" and "Thornography" but it was great that there were a good number of new songs and then of course all of the classic tracks that fans want to see when they go to see a band that has been around since 1992.

This was an interesting night overall as they played the historic Mayan Theater in Downtown Los Angeles. The theatre dates back to 1927 and has all the internal decor of a dark Mayan temple which added extra mystical ambience to the Cradle of Filth mythos. Not to mention it was a dark and stormy night which is not typical for Los Angeles so it made for a very cool overall setting for one of my favorite bands.

Cradle of Filth are still going strong, putting out album after album of gloriously sinister material. I highly recommend seeing them live as they are even better in person, bringing a theatrically dark twist to the stage that makes it all that more fun to experience.

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