Cradle of Filth explain new album Cryptoriana
Extreme Takeover: Cradle of Filth have turned to Victorian literature and death customs on their latest album, making for a distinctly British and gothic reflection on mortality
Dani Filth is in a mischievous mood. the arch self-deprecation and decadent, piss-taking merriment that have propelled Cradle of Filth for 25 years is in full effect as Hammer settles down in a pub garden with the brains behind this unique British institution, who quietly confesses to being a little worse for wear after his 44th birthday weekend bender. “You’ll have to excuse me, my family flew in from… wherever they live, Singapore or something,” the singer deadpans. “I literally didn’t think I’d be able to get up this morning,” he adds, replicating the anguished sound he made when he opened his eyes on another heavy metal day.
But as ever, the show must go on: especially when there’s a brand new cradle of Filth album to get our teeth into… the band’s 12th record, Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay revolves around the Victorian obsession with death. It’s a classic motif, reconnecting the band with the 19th century english gothic aesthetic and rich Hammer Horror milieu that distinguished them from the blasphemous black metal herd circa 1994. But with recent albums focusing on ancient world mythologies and 15th-century witch burnings, the reassertion of this era wasn’t a calculated move, instead springing fully formed out of Dani’s obsessive passions.
“I was just struggling around for another idea, to be honest!” he begins, with relaxed candour. “When I got presented with the music, I thought it dictated a certain vibe – we always have a vibe around our albums. I was reading a lot of Victorian Gothic horror – E.F. Benson, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rider Haggard – and thinking, ‘I have no idea what the next cradle album’s gonna be about’. and then: ‘…oh, hang about!’” Dani’s immersion in these sinister adventures led him to contemplate why the Victorians were so obsessed with mortality and, in turn, why he’s so obsessed with that sharply double-edged period of British life, when the aristocratic elite presided over a global empire while leaving the poor on their doorstep to fester in squalid slums. It was an age of rampant spiritualism, penny dreadfuls, memento mori, post-mortem family photography and vast landscaped public cemeteries; an age titillated by morbid tales of Jack the ripper, Burke and Hare, Dracula and Sweeney Todd, while the Queen herself remained in mourning for 40 years.