However it came to pass, whether it was their first choice, the result of leaving it all to fate, throwing a dart at a map, or a rare alignment of some esoteric, astrological forces; The Academy in Dublin had the prestigious honour of hosting Cradle of Filth on All Hallows Eve, the night of the demon, as Dani Filth aptly puts it. Only fitting if you think about it, seeing as how the eerie Emerald Isle is the actual birthplace of Halloween. With the venue brim full of face painted ghouls of the giddy, and deeply appreciative, Irish variety, and with the forces of night aligned on their side, Cradle of Filth left little to be desired, delivering an intensely powerful performance, polished and perfectly pitched even this early into the kick off of their Cryptoriana World Tour. Howling, screaming, raging and channeling wild, primal forces, it was indeed a case of ‘listen to the children of the night, what music they make.’
Support artist, Savage Messiah, hand picked by Dani Filth himself, sank their fangs into a worthy opener. Winning the Irish audience over with a strong and soulful set, Savage Messiah did themselves proud. But this was a night for kings rather than princes, and the kings were hungry for blood, and their audience hungry for kings.
Emerging from the darkness onto the blood-red lit stage, amidst the sounds of “Ave Satani” crawling along the walls, one by one the band members greeted their loyal subjects, forming a wall with their backs to the audience, awaiting their master and commander. Presently, the demon king took front and centre, and Cradle of Filth had arrived. No easing in, they kicked off with their much beloved “Gilded Cunt,” launching into one of the happiest massacres you could ever hope to set your bloodshot eyes upon.
Pace never wavered or faltered as Cradle of Filth tore through some of the finest from their extensive back catalogue, playing everything from ‘Damnation and a Day,’ to ‘Cruelty and the Beast’, to ‘Nymphetamine’, to name but a handful. All in all a delightful variety was generously dished out, including the rarity that is “Bathory Aria,” allowing the audience to indulge in the playfulness that comes with Dani Filth dedicating “The Death of Love” to his eleven year wedding anniversary (no real surprise given the day), and citing that “you would get less for murder.” Interspersed throughout, newer material, from the band’s latest “musical excretion”, ‘Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness of Decay,’ saw tracks like “Heartbreak and Séance,” as well as “You Will Know the Lion by His Claw,” fit seamlessly into their set, looking extremely comfortable alongside their recognizable classics.
As the night drew to a close with “The Promise of Fever,” and “Her Ghost in the Fog,” it was the hauntingly beautiful singalong in “Nymphetamine Mix” carried by keyboard player and vocalist, Lindsay Schoolcraft that set everything up for the finale, an exquisite rendition of “Born in a Burial Gown.” An early curfew for a late night club meant the bells might not have tolled for the midnight hour when the band had finished, but the demons had had more than their fill by then. For now at least.
One of the undisputed masters of symphonic, gothic, operatic, black metal for decades, Cradle of Filth, left a bittersweet taste in the mouths of all in attendance on the night. For what was unquestionably a Halloween to remember, will now be a Halloween hard to top. Unless they rise from the grave to do it all again next year. A sentiment they no doubt felt from the Irish audience whose allegiance borders on devotion. And no wonder. Cradle of Filth delivered a stunning performance, expressing that they could have happily played all night. Something their loyal Irish fans most certainly would have stayed for.