Those who are old enough to have owned an Iron Maiden poster that featured the Eddie character prior to his “Piece of Mind” lobotomy will no doubt remember the haunting cries and guttural growls of the Danish devil King Diamond. He was over the top for his time, taking black metal to an entirely different level with his grandiose production and vision. He didn’t issue the world’s first concept album, but he certainly beat everyone else to the punch when it came to injecting pure horror into the format.
While King Diamond continues to do his thing, much of the metal world has tired of his dead grandma stories. For all intents and purposes, the shtick is now laughable. His past, however, is very much alive today in Cradle of Filth, the latest outfit to dress up its act with a chilling image to match the music.
Like King Diamond before it, Cradle conjures an unholy mix of metal, macabre and gothic mystic. Its latest release — Damnation and a Day — holds true to this formula, delivering a devilish concept that focuses on (surprise, surprise) the antichrist himself. Complete with blistering guitars, rapid-fire time changes, orchestral movements, choral cries and Vincent Price-esque narrative, Damnation is musically sound, if not unintentionally comical. But whereas King relied on mixing falsetto with deep groans, Cradle vocalist Dani Filth combines his low-end grunts with a forced wheeze.
By no means a newcomer to the scene, Cradle has already issued several albums and EPs. But Damnation is the group’s first major-label recording, and the world is waiting to see what Sony Music’s masterminds can do with such an eccentric act. For starters, Cradle is part of the Ozzfest 2003 tour, where the band can flaunt its fright alongside the Godfather of Shock (as in, shocking he’s still alive) and his musical progeny Marilyn Manson.
But as the main players on the second stage, Cradle’s members were looking to do more to maximize their tour. So the good folks at Sony were kind enough to allow the band to play local shows on their off days. Between sets in Seattle and Albuquerque, Cradle will stop in Denver on Monday, May 14, to play for the heathens in attendance at the Ogden Theater. Expect an interesting set that will be nothing short of elaborate.