Cradle of Filth return in September with their powerful new album, Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness of Decay. The first taste released to the fans recently was the exquisitely lush music video, ‘Heartbreak and Séance’. Vocalist and lyricist Dani Filth says of the video, “The director of the video is the same artist as we used for Hammer of the Witches, which is our previous album. His name is Arthur Berzinsh. He’s a Latvian contemporary artist and he’s super-talented, and I found out he’s a video director as well. So as a band we decided it would be prolific if we combined all the budget for the video and the artwork and photography, and go to Latvia and shoot it all there, which is obviously,” he adds wryly, “without sounding too coarse, going to be cheaper than filming it in London, or somewhere else in the United Kingdom. And when we got there we were simply blown away by the enormity of the crew, the professionalism, the attention to detail, and just the incredible sets and extras that were there. It’s beautiful, it was like a Cradle of Filth album come to life which is exactly the intention, because some of the things were then photographed to be used in the booklet. The booklet artwork is fantastic as well. We got some great band photographs from that session. So it was a great move, and he’s a very talented man, and I’m very pleased that we did that. It was great for the band also too, two or three days, much like a little holiday.
On the composition of the new album, Filth explains, “There were tracks that were still left over from the Hammer of the Witches sessions, and also people brought a lot to the table when we went to Brno in the Czech Republic where [Marek] Ashok [Šmerda] and [Martin] Marthus [Skaroupka] both reside, and again it was because it was going to be a lot cheaper. We could get a hotel for like, thirty Euros a night, a beautiful place. Very inspirational, got a great cathedral, it’s very medieval, clean, really nice people, beautiful women etc, etc. Great brewery,” he adds with a self-deprecating laugh. “It became almost like a team-building outing, but at the same time what we were doing was collating all the ideas that we had for the album. Team-building and album-building. And also doing a little bit of rehearsal because at the end of that session we were doing a festival in Slovakia, so again we combined the expense of it. But really I thought we’d come back with three or four songs written, and what happened was that we came back literally with the bulk of the album, because everybody in the band had contributed lots to the writing process already. So consequently we had very much of the album written by the end of August last year. That was a great thing. Obviously we took it to the studio and polished it just by the nature of working in that environment and working with someone you feel very comfortable with because you’ve worked with them before. Scott Atkins, he doesn’t beat about the bush. He’ll tell you whether something’s great, or if it’s shit.”
Fans of Cradle of Filth will be pleased to know a familiar guest joined the band on Cryptoriana. “Even at the last minute we introduced another player to the team. That was Liv Kristine, she sang Nymphetamine with the band, back in the day. But she added her vocal talents to the track ‘Vengeful Spirit’. And it kind of speaks for itself. She plays a jealous, murderous, Hellish creature and although she still utilises her beautiful voice, she carries a lot of menace in the part in a very different song. And that was literally brought about by the producer turning round and saying, ‘You know what, there’s something amiss about this song. It just doesn’t quite hit the mark. It’s not that Lindsay [Schoolcraft]’s voice doesn’t work, it works perfectly, it’s just something about it that needs a fresh element.’ And so at the eleventh hour we contacted Liv. We were very lucky, she was just about to go away on holiday, but we managed to get her to a studio and then perfect the piece a couple of days later. That’s just kind of how things work, really. It is elements of chaos and experimentation, but this album went on the whole rather smoothly.”
“Definitely because of the pre-work we put into it, but also because working with the same people, in the same studio, and with the same producer, obviously has a lot of merit as well. There were things that we employed on the record that were decisive, as in pre-decisive, as in we didn’t want to put an intro, or an orchestral outro, or a middle section into the album. We just knew that the songs were lengthy enough that we’d incorporated those parts in the bulk of the songs. Something that we haven’t done probably ever, not to have those. So people thought we’d shake things up a little bit like that. There’s emphasis on guitar solos, twin harmony parts, trying to retain the Gothic, very melodramatic atmosphere, especially in big drop downs. ‘Death and the Maiden’, I think, was one of the heavier songs we’ve written, but again a very long, dramatic, thumping track, meandering but very, very heavy, and quite slow for a final track on a Cradle album. Obviously the Liv addition, a live choir again, but emphasis on lead soprano so it sounds very eerie and ghostly which works very well with the whole Victorian Gothic horror vibe.”
In addition to the complex compositions, Filth reflects on the challenges of putting together the lyrical content. “I’d kind of backed myself into a corner with the whole thematic element and making an album have like, a soundtrack quality. Several of our albums have been conceptual, and so people assume that every new album between the lyrics and the video and the music, is going to be either conceptual, or it’s going to at least have a conceptual theme, that everything is hinged about. And this one is hinged about Victoriana, dark Victoriana, hence Cryptoriana and the subheading The Seductiveness of Decay, because the Victorians were infatuated as a nation with death, with the personification of death, with spiritualism, palmistry, communications with the dead, the Empire, biggest empire the world’s ever known, built off the back of industrialism which obviously means lower classes working in the production of coal, workhouses, grist mills, child labour, cholera. The authors at the time had a big, resurgent love for the Gothic era, and you could find that in their works. Look at the characters from that era. Jack the Ripper, Sweeney Todd, Jekyll and Hyde, the invisible man. So there was a whole lot of fuel there to begin writing for an album, because I was also reading a lot by E. F. Benson, Collected Ghost Stories by M. R. James is actually Edwardian but you know, who cares? Ten years out of it, twenty years out of it. Rider Haggard, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, etc, etc. Sometimes it’s almost like leaving presents out for pixies in the morning. They do all the work for you, you just wake up and go, ‘Yeah, great!’ Everything kind of fell into place at the right time because obviously coming back from the Czech Republic, and having the crux of the album written, I suddenly had a bit of a panic attack because obviously everything then fell to me and at that point I had no fucking clue what I was doing.
With the album about to be released to the world, Cradle of Filth is looking forward to getting back on the road. “We’ll be coming back to Australia, so it’ll be good to see our fans there. I hope people really enjoy Cryptoriana. I hope people enjoy the video for ‘Heartbreak and Séance’. There’s going to be a track coming out in a couple of weeks which no doubt will have the lyric video attached to it because that’s just what happens nowadays. The album comes out on September 22 as well. Next year we’re going to be remixing Cruelty and the Beast, and don’t worry, we’re going to do it proud, because we’re going to make it obviously sound better, but not lose any of the atmosphere. So that’s going to be a tricky one. So just, thanks so much for everybody’s support, you bunch of flaming galahs.”
Cradle of Filth’s new album Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness of Decay is out via Nuclear Blast Records on September 22!