Cradle of Filth Biography

This outlandish band quickly became the most popular UK representatives of the Satanic black metal revival of the early 90s with the release of their formidable 1994 debut, The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh. Formed in 1991 by Daniel Davey aka Dani Filth (25 July 1973, Hertford, England; vocals), John Richard (bass), Paul Ryan (guitar) and Darren (drums), the band went through the several line-up changes before the release of their debut, with Robin Eaglestone aka Robin Graves (bass), Paul Allender (b. 17 November 1970, Colchester, Essex, England; guitar), Benjamin Ryan (keyboards) and Nicholas Barker (drums) added to the line-up in place of Richard and Darren. Visually, Cradle Of Filth were evidently influenced by the Scandinavian bands who led the movement, such as Mayhem and Emperor. This influence included adopting the black and white make-up known as ‘corpse-paint’ and funereal garb, while incorporating displays of fire-breathing and drenching themselves in blood on stage. While the Scandinavian black metal bands have become increasingly interested in the occult, right-wing philosophies of Viking mythology, Cradle Of Filth have a more gothic, quasi-poetic musical outlook. This is evidenced in their darkly poignant lyrics, use of a cello player and the haunting singing of Andrea Mayer (a German Satanist who has since married a member of Emperor). The core of Cradle Of Filth’s sound, however, remains a blizzard of apocalyptic guitars and vocals.

Following the release of their debut the band entered a tumultuous phase, with the loss of several members and problems with management and their record label. They eventually regrouped in 1996 for Vempire: Dark Faerytales In Phallustein, by which time the line-up incorporated founding members Filth and Robin Graves, as well as Irish keyboard player Damien Gregori and guitarists Stuart Anstis and Jared Demeter. The new mini-album was released on Cacophonous as a compromise solution to allow them to escape their contract and release a third studio set, Dusk... And Her Embrace, on the Music For Nations label. The album featured new guitarist Gian Pyres (b. 20 October 1973, London, England), who was brought in to replace Demeter. Once again it explored at some length their fascination with vampire mythology and Victorian and Medieval romanticism. Gregori was subsequently replaced by Les ‘Lecter’ Smith.

Cradle Of Filth gained further notoriety (and popularity) by insulting socialite Tara Palmer Tomkinson at the 1998 Kerrang! music awards. The same year’s Cruelty And The Beast featured a guest appearance from actress Ingrid Pitt on ‘Bathory Aria’. Was Sargison and then Adrian Erlandsson (b. 27 October 1970, Malmö, Sweden; ex-At The Gates, Haunted) replaced Barker on the From The Cradle To Enslave EP, while Martin Powell (ex-My Dying Bride) replaced Smith and Allender rejoined on the full-length Midian. The stop-gap mini-album Bitter Suites To Succubi was the band’s last on an independent label, having signed to Sony Records. Further line-up changes saw Dave Pybus joining the band and Pyres, Powell and Robin Graves leaving. The slimmed-down quartet made their major label debut with 2003’s Damnation And A Day.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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