▣Palladium | Worcester, MA ▣Sunday, April 8th 2018
Wow. All I have to say is wow. Sometimes, you go to a show without really knowing exactly what you’re in for. That was last (Sunday) night. I mean, I knew the show was going to rip but I was still blown away. I’ve been a fan of Cradle of Filth (COF from here out) since 2000 when I bought the Midian CD from the Columbia House catalogue; showing my age, I know. Since then, I’ve picked every subsequent album and was able to catch them live once before. I’ll detail that more in a bit after we chat about the two supporting acts.
Uncured was an unknown name to me before this show but I’ve already downloaded all of their music on iTunes and connected with them for my own personal music endeavors. Rex and Zak Cox lead the band, both on vocals and guitar. These kids rip. Jon Kita from local Boston band Diecast plays bass and Liam Manley was on the kit. Not sure what to expect from them, I found my way into the photo pit to watch. Immediately kicked in the nuts, I was pleasantly surprised. Technical death metal is an understatement. The brothers pass vocals and solos back and forth like no one’s business and the speed of the song is expertly cut in half for breakdown-esque passages and just as easily cranked back up. Fun to watch and fun to listen to, they are making a name for themselves. One EP behind them, they’ve already toured with names like DevilDriver, Children of Bodom, Soulfly, and now COF. Don’t sleep on these guys, no one else is.
Jinjer. If this name doesn’t ring a bell to you, please rectify this at your earliest convenience. Relatively new (formed in 2009) and relatively unknown in America (From Ukraine), Jinjer brings an unfamiliar chemistry to the metal scene. Sure, other female vocalists who growl better than half the male population exist but Tatiana is different. She brings a certain animosity to the stage but does it looking like a pin up model most of the time. She’s a force that you really just need to see to understand. Jinjer is not to be underestimated though or categorized as just another (pun intended) metal band with a pretty face. The instruments are also forces to be reckoned with. Jumping from Metalcore to Djent and ending on Prog in the same song shows their level of expertise and the control of their instruments is evident in the crisp sound. A first for me, drummer Vlad had all of his cymbals level with the kit. Once I saw him navigate though, it made sense. Eugene also has his bass strapped high giving him full control of the higher notes and strings in the tune of Ryan Martinie (Mudvayne). This band is going out of its way to redefine the local and world scene with their blend of genres and its working. Catch them while you can, they don’t come state side often enough.
COF has always gotten mixed reviews from people in my life. Some people can’t do the vocals, which I can see, but what they don’t understand is that they’re really missing out on the grand storytelling and the layered orchestration behind each song. Dani is a lyrical master and tells macabre stories of lust and horror. The albums are experiences and there really is nothing else like it. The music is controlled chaos. The riffs are fast and the beats are technical but with Dani’s fanciful world play and the orchestrations, a different type of creature is born.
Starting around 1991, many label and lineup changes have occurred since inception; Dani being the only constant. The current lineup is Dani Filth on vocals, Richard Shaw and Marek ‘Ashok’ Smerda on guitar, Daniel Firth on bass, Martin ‘Marthus’ Skaroupka on drums, and the most game changing addition in my opinion, Lindsay Schoolcraft on keys and female vocals.
The female presence has always been evident on the albums but was always butchered live by the previous female vocal, Sarah Jezebel Deva. Her live replication was very operatic and very different then the recordings, to its detriment. Lindsay, on the other hand, has an amazing singing voice with a most impressive range. Lindsay brings perfect replication of the album tracks to the live performance and a level of grace and poise one would not expect to find with this type of music. I caught up with Lindsay for a quick chat about her early days in the band. Her reputation proceeded her and carried across the Atlantic to Britain. The band actually reached out to her! That’s how badass she is. Much like Tatiana, you really need to see her perform to understand what she adds to the performance but from personal experience, the current show is a night and day difference from when I saw COF in the early 2000’s, for the better. Now, to be fair to the rest of the current lineup, they’re also badass and all completely new since my last live experience.
Richard’s stare is haunting and you question whether he’s human or a demonic marionette at times. He plays perfectly amidst a flurry of windmills and spins.
Ashok is a terrifying human. His biceps are bigger than my head and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out his blood splattered guitar was fresh each show (he’s the nicest guy, just has the metal shock value perfected.) His style of playing also perfectly complimented Richard’s. The two were in sync the whole show.
Daniel has filled low end since 2012. Great bass tone that perfectly cut through the mix and he nailed all the little bass nuances. Trust me, I’m a bass player and was listening for them.
Marthus is an absolute animal on the drums. Watching him expertly play the beats made me winded and he didn’t miss a single hit for the entire 90 minute set. His kit was set up behind an isolation booth which is something I’d never seen before at a metal show. In my experience, those were for killing a drumset’s punchiness. It hit me right away during the kit’s sound check though, they do it to perfectly control the acoustics of the kit, even live. The kick was some of the best sounding live kick I’ve ever heard.
Dani was energetic and on point which was impressive considering they canceled a show a few days prior due to him having flu like symptoms. Growls and screams on point, he led the tempest and kept the crowd engaged all night. It’s great to see him still pressing on nearly 30 years later.
All in all, best show I’ve been to this year and very high on my all-time list. Uncured completely ripped up the stage out of nowhere. Find those guys online and keep up to date. Good things are coming. Jinjer is making a name for themselves in America and for good reason. Tatiana’s energy is contagious and the instruments are on a level you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Cradle of Filth has had a warm place in my heart for many years and the fire is nothing if not renewed after this show. Hour and a half of pure symphonic insanity.
The tour has a few more west coast dates before taking off to the orient. Last chance to catch this show in the U.S. is in San Fran on 4/22. If you get a chance, don’t pass it up. As always, follow these bands on social media to keep up to date, download all the tunes on your favorite platform of music acquirement, and follow us at Rock Star Culture for more of me rambling about what I like and my pretty pictures.
Review & Photos: Anthony Coy
Check out the band’s websites for more info!
Cradle of Filth