Cradle Of Filth are quite possibly the only realist band we have in these dark and dreary times. The British metal masters, never ones to shy away from telling the gritty truth how it is with the use of bleak horror and dark metal, recently announced a colossal Australian tour next year in support of their latest release Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness Of Decay. In what promises to be a sensational display of cutthroat musicianship and metal, frontman Dani Filth takes us through an intricate web of idea and fantasy as he impressively discusses the intense detail and inspiration behind their twelfth studio album, with a surprisingly commanding creativity and understanding of its thematic influences.
So Dani, new album! Because you guys just couldn’t stop yourselves and your imagination just runs away with you constantly, it’s sensational! For me I would say it’s oddly lusty, you know? Even in the title ‘Seductive’, you know? It feels one part, to me, an escapist fantasy, but another part a brutally honest social commentary. Would you agree?
Yes. [Laughs] That’s a one word answer!
I’m going to need a bit more than a one word answer. [Mutual laughter]
Yeah I know, um, I tried to write the lyrics so that a lot of them are metaphorical - you can read them on lots of levels. It’s okay having social commentary but I think with a band like Cradle of Filth we always juxtapose that with imagery, with classical imagery. I can’t see a band like Cradle of Filth… well, I know that a band like Cradle Of Filth wouldn’t embrace modernity as such in their lyrics, cause it just isn’t our thing if it makes any sense?
I’d like to hone into the word that you just used, “juxtaposition”. Now, given that you’ve just sort of agreed with me that this is two halves coming together as one, are the elements in this album meant to be discerned as individual entities or is it written to be moulded together?
A bit of both I guess. You could depict the [album] cover as the triumph of vice over virtue. Obviously you’ve got the juxtaposition of The Seductiveness Of Decay but when they come together it implies man’s addiction to self-destruction. I know a little bit about that because I recently had my birthday and I went down that path somewhat, hence why I’m on a four-month hiatus from alcohol [laughs].
Glutton for punishment?
Yeah, on both accounts! So yeah, there’s a lot of give and take. You’ve got ‘Heartbreak And Séance’, ‘Wester Vespertine’, ‘The Seductiveness Of Decay’, ‘Achingly Beautiful’. It’s a sort of marriage of… well, if you compared it to the track ‘Vengeful Spirit’, which is a song about a woman betrayed, commits suicide, returns to purgatory as a sort of vengeful ghoul who torments the person who’s wronged her in life, which in the context of the song is me. The woman who sings on that song, Christine, between us there’s a duality - it’s marriage of Beauty and the Beast and I think that that sort fairy tale atmosphere pertains to much of how even the artwork is based in the Victorian era but it’s got this classical mythology as an umbrella above it. Everything has its sort of classism, a cover which depicts a Venus de Milo.
'Heartbreak And Seance'
Indeed, there’s a lot going on artistically and musically, visually, sonically with the elements of goth and horror, and then these hymns of metal suited to cathedrals of the antichrist. Elaborate a little more for me on these themes that we see here and why you felt that your narrative was best supported by it?
The album's called Cryptoriana which is an amalgam. That juxtaposition between two words, crypt and Victoriana, it implies Victorian eras infatuation with the grave, with death, with the personification of death, [with] Spiritualism, with gothic melodrama, theatre and morbidity. The Victorians had a very morbid outlook I guess. You get the impression from books and what have you that there might be a very high level of respectability and morality but scrape beneath the surface as you would with any vast empire, it’s obviously going to be built on the banks of squalor, on industrialism, poor houses, wars and territories overseas, so the connection to death was quite prevalent even though it was the on-step of science and middle classes going to spiritualism, tarot reading, palmistry, séances.
All this was considered even by the luminaries of the day like Darwin, and someone like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, that spiritualism, even if you take it as a whole blanket, was actually a science in itself. So if you look at that outlook and put that against the whole of Victorian society, you can see their attraction to it. And it's prevalent and influenced by the stories of the day. E F Benson, I mentioned Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Machen, and Robert Louis Stevenson to name but a few. But when Queen Victoria died, sorry, when her husband died, Prince Albert, she took to wearing mourning clothing constantly. So she'd be garbed in black. The women of the time would follow suite. They saw it as a fashion statement. So people are wearing black. People are into memento mori which are the photographs of dead loved ones shot wearing their clothing. The resurrection men, the people who would dig up bodies for scientific research. People would have elaborate heavy gravestones, coffins, and would try to be buried in places where they wouldn't be found. Penny dreadfuls were still prevalent at the time, those little comic books people would read every week. It's a fascinating subject and that's what the album's based on. It's either based on stories that were influenced by all those people I mentioned earlier, or it's set in the Victorian era.
Now you're obviously a very learned man about that period of history and you obviously have a very invested, loving relationship with everything to come from that. The historical/social/political side of things, the imagery, and all the lovely little parts of it, especially the art and the clothing, what is it about that style that you feel suits Cradle Of Filth so well, and indeed, can be married with heavy metal?
I think all those things associated with it, that vibe, the morbidity and the grandeur and theatre of it, I think that's perfect for a Cradle Of Filth album. A lot of our material is set in the past. It's very classical, steeped in mythology, the occult. There are social commentaries in our songs. Just off the top of my head, ‘Nemesis’, off the  album Nymphetamine, was written about the 9/11 situation, but it was from the perspective of a jihadist who had his family murdered and the reasons for his retaliation. But it was written in the context of an ancient war as opposed to a more modern concept.
Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness Of Decay is out now!
Wednesday 9 May - Academy Club, Canberra – 18+
Thursday 10 May - The Triffid, Brisbane – 18+
Friday 11 May - 170 Russell, Melbourne – 18+
Saturday 12 May - Metro Theatre, Sydney – 18+
Monday 14 May - Capitol, Perth – 18+