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Cradle of Filth | Heavy Left Handed Candid | review | metal | dvd | Lollipop
Cradle of Filth
Heavy Left-Handed & Candid (MVD)
by Scott Hefflon
Jesus fuckin' Christ! I've never seen Cradle of Filth live, but I sure do love each and every masterpiece of recorded filth they release. Put it this way, the only bands I've ever been scared to go see were Exodus (turned out Baloff had just quit/been fired) and Slayer (then Reign in Blood came out and didn't weird me out as much as Hell Awaits), but I was 16 at the time. Cradle of Filth still sends a shiver up my spine, and I've seen most metal bands worth seeing, not to mention horror movies most people have never heard of. Like the scene in Evil Dead where they play the tape and unwittingly call forth demons, Cradle of Filth often make me look up and around, hoping I'm not, ya know, opening the gates of hell and about to get my face chewed off by some slavering hellbeast.
This three hour video contains 11 live tracks or burial masses, as they call them and videos for "Born in a Burial Gown" and "Scorched Earth Erotica." Funny thing about the live material is that, aside from being able to pull it all off (Dani does all the voices, though perhaps not as richly, and he can't layer his voice live) everything from the Yngwie dueled classical leads to the fearsome keys to the operatic female counterpoint, and they can look bored doing it! they're so goddamn loud and chaotic (yet tight as yer little sister's ass ain't gonna be for long) that the second they stop howling, there's NO SOUND. The mics are set to receive the insane screeches and mic-swallowing demon roars Dani belches forth, but when he cracks jokes between songs (I think they're jokes, he's English, and he's metal so they could be stereo instructions for all I know), there's an eerie flatness to it, like it's just you and Dani in the dark.
There's a bit of performance art: Everyone, of course, is in black and studded attire with garish make-up, staring around all insane and dramatic, or looking strung-out/zombified. And I don't get the stilt people, but it's different than the midgets Ozzy and Alice Cooper and The Man Show seem to favor. During the intro and extros, there's often a bit of freakshow video superimposed onto the dark stage. Castles and vampires and hands clawing out of the ground and shit like that. But then the flurry continues and, no matter how cool you are, you jump a little. Perhaps not to the extent of my cat when I grind coffee beans and his little paws get that cartoonish "running start," but you get the point. And the show ends (pre-encore) with a kinda long sequence where some scantily-clad people grab Dani and slit his throat, leaving him crumpled on the ground as the band thunders on and on while hot Asian chicks in Elvira eye make-up stare smolderingly, and some bald gimp in a loincloth cackles... (When bald, mostly naked guys with or without the zippered mask and leash around their necks are holding bloody blades and giggling mischievously, that's often when you seriously oughtta consider the party outta hand.)
And by show's end, Dani's voice still held up, still roaring and howling and shrieking in that distinctly Dani way (only vocalist to compare this guy to – for sheer vocal prowess and dexterity – is Mike Patton). Amazing...
And the videos? What can be said? The first is a carnival show in the woods filled with fire-breathing and women in cages and whips and lightening dancing from fingertips (as they fingerpaint arcane symbols in the air and practice kung fu) and blood and fangs and people morph into lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) and chicks dance with big snakes and there's an underwater flirt/hiss/claw-yer-eyes-out scene and, uh, yeah... The second video is more contemporary, almost like a movie of possession and stalker/killer fight for sanity. Chaotic, quick-cut images of medieval torture devises and bloody lunatics and teens running through the streets, scared and looking over their shoulder (it's all Marilyn Manson fun'n'games until someone calls forth a truly evil spirit that doesn't give a shit how many times your lip is pierced), and, geeeeez, there's some really disturbing imagery in here (the kinda stuff far beyond W.A.S.P. and Alice Cooper, and really, Nine Inch Nails may be classy and arty/cerebral, but this stuff is brighter than most Goth/SM metal, and it's freaky as shit to boot. Blood-splattered faces and licked lips and voluptuous women slipping between red satin sheets and heads "banging" like in Jacob's Ladder and True Crazies bouncing off walls and all the twisted shit you ever hoped to see in a metal video by a band that'll tear your head off, given half a chance... The most engaging, professional-looking, and disturbed video I've ever seen. I think I'll watch it again...
There's a clip at www.cradleoffilth.com if you wanna get a feel before purchasing the $20 ticket to hell. Fuck off, I get the window seat...