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Music / Cradle of Filth

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The 2016 incarnation of the band (left to right: Ashok, Daniel Firth, Lindsay Schoolcraft, Dani Filth, Marthus, Rich Shaw).
"It sounds horrible, but it's really quite beautiful!"
Richmond Avenal, The IT Crowd, on "Coffin Fodder"

Cradle of Filth is a metal band from Suffolk, England. They got their start in 1991, releasing three demos and a rehearsal tape, and completing one album, Goetia, on Tombstone Records, which had its tapes wiped when the label went out of business. Eventually, they signed to Cacaphonous and released their debut album, The Principle of Evil Made Flesh, in 1994. They have signed to several other labels since then, most recently with Napalm Records (signing in 2022). All of this has happened among rapid and frequent line-up changes, with lead singer Dani Filth being the only consistent member.

The band is probably best known for black metal fans decrying them as sellouts - the main reasons being abandoning black metal in order to move on to other metal genres, changing to a more commercial image, signing to mainstream labels (they even signed to Sony for one album), and courting mainstream publicity (hardcore black metal fans tend to frown on all of these). They still have a big fanbase, though, and, according to Metal Hammer, they're the most successful British metal band since Iron Maiden.

Current members:

  • Dani Filth - lead vocals (1991-present)
  • Martin "Marthus" Škaroupka - drums (2006-present), keyboards (2012)
  • Daniel Firth - bass (2012-present)
  • Marek "Ashok" Šmerda - guitars (2014-present)
  • Donny Burbage - guitars (2022-present)
  • Zoe Marie Federoff - keyboards, female vocals (2022-present)

Former Members:

  • Paul Ryan - guitars (1991–1994)
  • Stuart Anstis - guitars (1995–1999)
  • Gian Pyres - guitars (1996–1999, 2000–2002)
  • Charles Hedger - guitars (2005–2009)
  • Robin Graves - bass (1992–1994, 1995–2002)
  • Dave Pybus - bass (2002–2012)
  • Benjamin Ryan - keyboards (1991–1994)
  • Damien Gregori - keyboards (1994–1997)
  • Les Smith - keyboards (1997–1999)
  • Mark Newby-Robson - keyboards and orchestrations (1999 live, 2006–2011 studio)
  • Martin Powell - keyboards, violin and guitars (2000–2005)
  • Rosie Smith - live keyboards and backing vocals: (2005–2009)
  • Ashley Ellyllon - keyboards and live backing vocals (2009–2011)
  • Nicholas Barker - drums (1993–1999)
  • Adrian Erlandsson - drums (1999–2006)
  • Andrea Meyer - female vocals (1993–1994)
  • Danielle Cneajna Cottington - female vocals (1994–1998)
  • Sarah Jezebel Deva - female vocals (1994–2008, 2011)
  • Paul Allender - guitars (1992-1996, 2000-2014)
  • James McIlroy - guitars (2003-2005, 2010-present)
  • Jared Demeter - guitars (Live only, 1994-1996, 1999)
  • Lindsay Schoolcraft - keyboards, female vocals (2013-2020)
  • Richard Shaw - guitars (2014-2022)
  • Anabelle Iratni - keyboards, female vocals, orchestration, lyre (2021-2022)


  • Studio albums:
    • The Principle of Evil Made Flesh (1994)
    • Dusk... and Her Embrace (1996)
    • Cruelty and the Beast (1998)
    • Midian (2000)
    • Damnation and a Day (2003)
    • Nymphetamine (2004)
    • Thornography (2006)
    • Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder (2008)
    • Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa (studio album, 2010)
    • The Manticore and Other Horrors (studio album, 2012)
    • Hammer of the Witches (2015)
    • Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness of Decay (2017)
    • Existence Is Futile (2021)

  • Other:
    • Invoking the Unclean (demo, 1992)
    • Orgaistic Pleasures Foul (demo, 1992)
    • Total Fucking Darkness (demo, 1993)
    • Vempire or Dark Fairytales in Phallustein (EP, 1996)
    • From the Cradle to Enslave (EP, 2000)
    • Bitter Suites to Succubi (EP, 2001)
    • Live Bait for the Dead (live album, 2002)
    • Lovecraft and Witch Hearts (compilation, 2002)
    • Evermore Darkly (compilation, 2011)
    • Dusk... and Her Embrace - The Original Sin (release of original recordings, 2016)

Nymphetamine Tropes:

  • Aerith and Bob: Most of the recent lineups have had most of the members mainly billed under their real names, except vocalist Daniel Davey, who is, was, and always will be Dani Filth.
  • Author Appeal: Dani is a big fan of vampires, and also seems to be fascinated by good people going bad.
  • Black Metal: Although many metalheads contest that they are not, it cannot be denied that The Principle of Evil Made Flesh through Midian all represent a more polished, sensual, and gothic metal influenced variant of black metal. It was around Damnation and a Day where this sound was ultimately dropped for straight gothic metal.
  • Blood Bath: The concept album Cruelty and the Beast is about the Trope Maker, Elizabeth Bathory. The album cover depicts her in a bathtub filled with blood.
  • Call-Back:
    • "Her Ghost in the Fog":
      She was divinity's creature that kissed in cold mirrors
    • "Creatures That Kissed in Cold Mirrors" is the name of the previous song on the album.
  • Careful with That Axe: A Dani Filth trademark! See also Screams Like a Little Girl
  • Concept Album: All of their releases from Dusk... and Her Embrace through Damnation and a Day have been loose concept albums, based on the writings of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (Dusk... and Her Embrace), notorious serial killer Countess Elisabeth Bathory (Cruelty and the Beast), Clive Barker's novel Cabal (Midian) and John Milton's Paradise Lost (Damnation and a Day). Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder is based on the life of French nobleman Gilles de Rais, a comrade-in-arms of Joan Of Arc and later a notorious serial killer of children, who is also thought to have been the inspiration for the fairy tale "Bluebeard". Their tenth album, Darkly, Darkly Venus Aversa, focuses on Lilith, the first wife of Adam in the Hebrew scriptures while their latest album Existence is Futile concerns itself on existentialism.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: Most of their albums begin with dark, epic-sounding orchestration.
  • Epic Rocking: Quite a lot, but especially "Bathory Aria" (11:02), "Queen of Winter, Throned" (10:27), "Nymphetamine Overdose" (9:14), "Midnight Shadows Crawl to Darken Counsel with Life" (8:59), "Darkness Incarnate" (8:56), "A Gothic Romance" (8:35), and "Death and the Maiden" (8:48).
  • Genre-Busting: Despite being labeled black metal, fans of the genre and the band themselves vehemently dispute that label. Their sound is hardly oblique, but it does not fit into an easily classifiable niche.
  • Genre Mashup: Just what metal genre are Cradle of Filth, anyway? They blend elements of symphonic and melodic black metal, death metal, gothic metal, thrash metal, and traditional heavy metal in a way that has never fit into any comfortable stylistic categories. Former guitarist Paul Allender has publicly rejected the "black metal" label, instead calling them "extreme metal."
  • Hell Invades Heaven: Present in "The Rape and Ruin of Angels (Hosannas in Extremis)", "Heaven Torn Asunder" and "Tearing the Veil from Grace". Moreso, in "Tortured Soul Asylum", the city of Midian is said to be rivaling "heaven's tragic wreck", implying its ultimate defeat.
  • I Am the Band: Dani Filth. The band's had almost twenty members in as many years, though Marthus has been around for fifteen years and plays a substantial role in the band's modern creative direction himself.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Due to Dani Filth's singing technique, they only way to enjoy some albums is to rely on the lyric sheets. V Empire or Dark Faerytales in Phallustein is probably the worst offender, due to its raw production.
  • Lead Drummer: Martin "Marthus" Skaroupka is known for his technical ability, as well as being a prolific songwriter and an accomplished keyboardist who has handled much of the orchestration for his time in the band. Put it simply, Dani may be the face of the band and the one who is most responsible for the overall creative direction, but Marthus is the core arranger.
  • Long Title: Lots, including "A Dream of Wolves in the Snow", "Painting Flowers White Never Suited My Palette", "In Grandeur and Frankincense Devilment Stirs", "Under Midnight Skies She Comes Alive Like Miss Leviathan", "Midnight Shadows Crawl to Darken Counsel with Life", "Deflowering the Maidenhead, Displeasuring the Goddess", and "You Will Know the Lion by His Claw".
  • The Lost Lenore: Arguably the band's favourite romance trope.
  • Metal Scream: Dani's vocals are mostly a Type 3, though he isn't afraid of throwing in Type 2s here and there.
  • The Movie: Cradle of Fear, a horror anthology-type film starring the Midian era lineup.
  • New Sound Album: Every album has a subtle shift in sound, but the main ones have been The Principle of Evil Made Flesh (yes, their first album), when the band cross polinated black metal with gothic metal sounds. they continued with this sound with more focus on orchestral flourishes as they went on until Damnation and a Day, which threw out the black metal elements and focused on symphonic metal; and Nymphetamine, which introduced a softer sound and more focus on melody. Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder was similar, but slightly less keyboard-heavy. Hammer of the Witches was more technical and had significantly more prominent black metal elements, and also introduced technical guitar solos and lead duels from new guitarists Richard Shaw and Marek Smerda.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Dani is just under 5 foot 5 inches tall.
  • Revolving Door Band: Oh so much. Dani Filth is the only original member left, and there are over 20 former members (almost 30 if touring members are included).
  • Scary Musician, Harmless Music: Zigzagged
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Dani Filth, at the point to be incomprehensible at times.
  • Sequel Song: "Swansong for a Raven" is one to "Her Ghost in the Fog", "Mother of Abominations" is one to "Cthulhu Dawn".
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Many, if not all of the lyrics; Dani is a literature and poetry lover, and it shows.
  • Shout-Out: As mentioned in the page quote, it got a memorable reference as the favorite band of Perky Goth Richmond on The IT Crowd, who refuses to shut up about it.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Dani is frequently accompanied by female backing singers, most notably Sarah Jezebel Deva and Lindsay Schoolcraft.
  • Stage Names: Dani Filth, Sarah Jezebel Deva, Lindsay Schoolcraft (who has also gone by "Lindz Riot").


Video Example(s):


"Her Ghost in the Fog"

"Her Ghost in the Fog" features equal parts Black metal screeching and growling with singing maidens.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / SopranoAndGravel

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