CRADLE OF FILTH - Stalking The Shadows

November 13, 2012, 2 years ago

By Aaron Small

feature cradle of filth

The Manticore And Other Horrors is a milestone for Cradle Of Filth as it marks the band’s tenth studio album; although guitarist Paul Allender didn’t play on all of them, he’s an integral part of this remarkable accomplishment. “The only two I haven’t been on, or physically played on, was Dusk and Cruelty. It’s quite a few under the belt, which is brilliant. To be honest, a band like us, you never expect big things like having such a long-spanning career because obviously the nature of the band, and what the music’s like with the vocals… but obviously we managed to get on some format which has gone down really well over the years.” Cradle Of Filth has been incredibly productive over the last 36 months. In 2010 – Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa, in 2011 – Evermore Darkly… and in 2012 a pair of releases, Midnight In The Labyrinth, as well as The Manticore And Other Horrors. Is there a fire burning under the band’s ass? “Basically,” laughs Paul. “The Labyrinth CD has been done under the span of the last five years. Originally that was going to come out with videos added to it as well; what we tried – the original idea – was to have old, public domain, black and white horror movie footage with our music added to it. So almost like a silent movie, but with a film score in the background; but we had so much trouble. We could use it, but only in certain territories… it was a nightmare! So we ended up just doing an audio disc; it was put together to try and springboard us into film soundtracks. That was one of the main reasons behind it. We wanted film directors to hear what it sounded like without the guitars and vocals; just orchestral. We had it as a fan release as well, but we only pushed 15,000 of them.”
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Issued just prior to Halloween, The Manticore And Other Horrors has received “really good fan reaction. But there’s one thing I’ve never understood about this band,” admits Paul. “There’s a lot of people who absolutely hate it, and they still tell you, which I think is a complete waste of energy. They don’t like it but they’re still sitting on the forum (at theorderofthedragon.com). But this is the best reception we’ve had! Dani (Filth, vocalist) and myself did a European press tour, and every single person, every single journalist that heard it didn’t say a bad thing about it. Over the last few albums, a lot of journalists said, ‘I like it, but I prefer this one.’ On this album, everyone’s saying ‘this is the best thing you’ve released in the last 12 years,’ which is amazing cause it got a bit normal. I felt like the music was going in a normal direction; nothing exciting about it. So I wanted to inject a different edge to it. Kids are saying, ‘this is crap. This isn’t like the old stuff.’ But at the end of the day, if you’re constantly going to put out the old stuff, people will get so bored of it. You can never win.” Recorded in a period of eight weeks, Paul looks back at bringing The Manticore to life. “Well, we did it differently this time. I wanted a bit more of an organic feel to it, so we recorded pretty much the whole thing live. It gives you a bit more of a human feel. I wanted to get away from the whole Pro-Tools cut and paste thing. To be honest, on the extreme side of it, what I really would have liked to have done was to record it on tape; but obviously very few studios have tape machines now, and it’s so much more expensive than digital. You just can’t capture the groove by cut and paste; it has to be played in. There’s a lot of people who are likening this to the first album (The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh) but with more modern production. There were some overdubs obviously, because I play all the guitars on it. But I was only in there for two weeks. It was fun and enjoyable, really cool and the vibe’s definitely there.”
Including a choir on the album certainly adds a little more atmosphere. “Yeah, totally… to be honest, I wasn’t around when the choir stuff was done. Once the guitars and drums were done, I kind of disappeared and went back home. But as far as I’m aware, it’s the same choir and choir master we had on the last album (Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa). We mixed programmed voices with real voices, so it really works. I didn’t want anything sounding too much like the other stuff we’ve done, because you can hear it sounds like Cradle anyhow. I wanted a bit more of a twist to it; this is the reason we added synths into it this time, to give the band another edge. There’s nothing worse than a band releasing albums and every single one sounds exactly the same, it’s absolutely pointless.” Some people are surprised at how Cradle Of Filth functions, given that the three core members live in three different countries. Dani’s in England, drummer Martin Skaroupka’s in The Czech Republic, and Paul is in The United States. The gang dynamic of all for one and one for all is certainly missing, yet the finished product is phenomenal. “We’ve never had that, ever,” states Paul. “The band’s never been like that. Even back in the day, everybody was in their separate places. I left in 1996, and when I came back in the band in 2000, the way things were written and rehearsed was a complete mishmash. Everyone was running around like headless chickens, there was no direction whatsoever. Everything I learnt from being out of the band on the production side of things and writing, using computers or whatever… when I came back in, the amount of time that was wasted, everyone’s just looking at the floor not knowing what to come up with. I said, fuck this, and I went back home. In a couple of days I came back with eight songs completely written and on CD; this is the way we’ve got to go. Otherwise we’re just going to waste time sitting in rehearsal. Now, the production level in the band has gone completely up. I do pretty much all the arranging and writing with Martin. So I’ll come up with riffs, ideas, and everything else, then I’ll just email it to Martin, he’ll put drums down, and we’ll send it back and forth until the track is done. Then once it’s finished, Dani will listen to it and come up with lyrics. Then we’ll go into the studio where we rehearse and put vocal demos down. That’s the most productive way of doing it. We’ve tried getting together as a band, and it really, really doesn’t work. I’d rather not go through the pain, the process; it’s business-minded business sense. At the end of the day, we’re a band and we’ve been together long enough, but it has turned into a business now.”
Cradle has undergone a lineup change with bassist Dave Pybus exiting the group, and being replaced by Daniel Firth. “Ah, Dave just pretty much had enough. There were several things that went on, but I’m not going to say. There was some politics and stuff in the band that he really didn’t agree with, but to each their own. Now, he’s in exactly the same position playing for another band, but he’s happy, so fucking good on him. He’s an amazing friend and good luck to him. If you’re not happy in something, why stay in it?” Was it difficult to find Daniel? Did you know him previously? “Scott Atkins, the guy who produced the last album, he recorded a band before we were in there and Daniel was the bass player. Then when Dave left, I was going to play the bass myself, which was all well and good but I don’t agree with guitar players playing bass because they look at it from a completely different angle. So it had to be someone who’s been trained to play the bass like a bass, guitar players can’t do it. So Scott said he knew this guy who was brilliant. We got him in and he completely killed it, start to finish.” The Manticore isn’t a concept album per se, as some of COF’s previous works have been. But it has a central theme of monsters, demons and horror creatures. Paul reveals that prior to Dani introducing The Manticore – a composite beast with a human’s face, a lion’s body, and the stinger of a scorpion – into Cradle, he “knew of it, but I’m not a big mythological buff. In the band, we try not to tread on each other’s toes. Everybody’s good at certain things, and too many cooks spoil the broth. The way we work things now, it’s not designated jobs, but everybody knows their strengths within the band. I think that’s the reason why it works so well. But I remember when he first mentioned The Manticore; I thought it was a bit weird. When the songs came out, each track’s got its own story… it’s nice not to do a concept album. It doesn’t really affect the music as such, cause that’s written first. But it’s more of a pain in the ass on the lyric front. We’ve done so many concept albums now it’s ridiculous.”
‘Frost On Her Pillow’ was the first song from The Manticore to receive the video treatment, which can be seen below. “That was loads of fun,” recalls Paul. “It’s kind of based on a Red Riding Hood type scenario. We’ve got this huge voodoo shaman guy dressed up in all the regalia. The room that we played in looked like something from Hellraiser, it was super cool! It was done in London (England) at an abandoned warehouse. It’s really story based; we’re playing in it but there’s not much of us in it, which is good. It came out really, really well.” Will there be an uncensored and censored version, two different edits? “No, there’s nothing like that. We didn’t do anything overly extreme. But we have got another video we’re shooting, for the track ‘For Your Vulgar Delectation’, and we’re not playing in it at all. We’re kind of acting in it and it’s filled with lots of nasty stuff. With the band just doing stuff in the video, it’ll be different for us which is good, cause there’s nothing worse than having the same mundane stuff over and over again, it just gets boring.” On the live front, The Creatures From The Black Abyss European tour, in support of The Manticore And Other Horrors, begins November 7th and runs until December 19th. Cradle is travelling with four opening bands: GOD SEED, ROTTING CHRIST, DARKEND and BLYND; that’s a lot of music in one night. “Tell me about it! Keeps our set shorter though, just kidding. It’ll be good though, it’s a good package. We’ve played with a couple of the bands on previous tours, so we kind of all know each other. It’ll be like a mini-festival type thing, five bands including us; it’s going to be hectic. It’ll be fun though, cause the main purpose of touring is to play the music to everybody else; I hope people are into it. When I was writing this new album, I had the live factor in mind, just picturing how this would get people going. Especially ‘For Your Vulgar Delectation’, if people don’t jump up and down to that when we’re playing it live, they’re obviously dead.”

Featured Audio

HAMMERFALL - "Hector's Hymn"

HAMMERFALL - "Hector's Hymn"

Featured Video

HALCYON WAY - "Home" Lyric Video

HALCYON WAY - "Home" Lyric Video

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