Fortunately, an hour later, lone opener Raven Black lightened the atmosphere with their theatrical gothic circus act. Donning corpse paint, pigtails tied with large ribbons, and a frilly black dress, with songs such as "Dollhouse" and, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Scars” – Raven caricatures a once sweet innocent little girl who’s discovered her dark side, and wishes to be enveloped, embraced by it. With stage names like Muppet, The Doctor, and Stiches, donning paint, masks, and black vests with large silver buttons; Raven’s band mate's caricature demons whom have possessed and corrupted her. Each song was accompanied by Raven playing with a childish prop including a hula hoop, giant teddy bear, baseball bat and hand mirror. With typical nu-metal chugga-chugga riffs, and vocals ranging from a nasal child-like whine, to tantrum-like weak screams, Raven Black would appeal to most angst-ridden goth schoolgirls; the older audience mostly found their performance amusing.
Finally, the act everyone was waiting for: Cradle Of Filth. As the lights went out, a flurry cries rang out “Cradle! Cradle! Cradle!”. "Ave Satani", the intense Carmina Burana-like opening instrumental older fans would recognize from 11 Burial Masses, blared through the venue speakers, electrifying anticipation. Energy ignited with the whirlwind of aggressive drums for opening track “Gilded Cunt”. After 28 years, numerous lineup changes and 13 full-length albums, it is nearly impossible for Cradle Of Filth to create a set list that could please their entire audience; nevertheless a generous span of the discography was covered, ranging from 1996 classic “Dusk and Her Embrace”, to their latest hit “Heartbreak and Séance”, including essentials “Her Ghost In The Fog’ and “Nymphetamine - Fix”. Still, 3 songs from 2004's Nymphetamine was excessive and it was disappointing to hear nothing from the The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh or VEmpire…. A highlight of the night was “Bathory Aria”, which I had never heard live before – 11 minutes of epic poetry, the theatric tragic tale of wicked 17th century Hungarian blood countess Elizabeth Bathory immortalized by 1998’s Cruelty and the Beast. The energy was incredible. After completing my photographic duties, I spent most of night getting wiped in the mosh pit, crowd-surfing multiple times. Cradle Of Filth’s performance had once more left me and countless other concert goers bruised, sore and very happy, despite a disappointing setback earlier that evening.
Photo credit: Navneet Johal / (C) 2019 www.metalmasterkingdom.com