With their tenth album out now, entertainment writer WAYNE SAVAGE talks to Dani Filth from cult metal Suffolk band Cradle of Filth.

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THE band have just been watching a dead woman chased by an incubus; a voodoo priest is also involved. Later, a female vampire killer will be shooting up zombies and other creatures of the night Resident Evil style.

“We’re going to be setting one of them on fire; [there’ll be] shotguns, brutal horror movie action, we’re really going to revel in the fun of that,” says singer and founder member Dani.

Both videos are for tracks off the cult Suffolk band’s tenth album, The Manticore and Other Horrors, out now.

Dani, who lives in Ipswich, says it’s a heavy metal album at heart.

“From what the press are saying it’s a great album, which is good because that’s what I thought,” he laughs. “It’s very cinematic, a little fast; symphonic. There are a few punky hardcore elements, a little bit of new-wave British heavy metal...”

It was created in about six months, with Dani laying down the vocals at Springvale Studios just outside Ipswich while the rest of the band - who hail from the Czech Republic, Minneapolis, Brighton, Scotland and London - were recording ten miles up the road at Grindstone Studios near Eye.

“We were essentially a band from Suffolk, as the band’s grown I guess people... we’ve had several line-up changes, people have moved out of the area.”

I read at last count there’d been more than 20 members?

“I think so, from what I can remember...” he laughs.

“We demoed everything so much it was easy to [record the album] that way; we knew the songs inside out. It made everything a little more relaxed, because we weren’t trying to squeeze everything in it meant we could dabble with the orchestration and the quiet parts and female stuff that adorns it.”

He says fans will notice some changes.

“We used a lot of really great analogue gear; I sang through a vocal pre-amp that was taken from a Second World War navy submarine, which sounded fantastic. We used a lot of different instruments to what we’ve used before; the title track Manticore has sitars and stuff like that on it.

“We’ve used some digital samples which is kind of strange for this kind of band; they haven’t really been our bag. Just lots of little things that all add up to quite a big change, but at its core it’s obviously a Cradle of Filth record.”

In the past, fans have accused the band of courting mainstream publicity and a more commercial image. He says they’ve long learned to live with detractions.

“That’s bandied around every time we... for example, we did a album called Nymphetamine and the title track was nominated for a Grammy in America and we almost won it. It was beaten by Motorhead who were actually doing a cover of a Metallica song at the time. I think people voted for the name rather than the song.

“The song we put forward was quite balladic and people accused us of selling out at that point. We’ve always done that sort of thing, when we envisioned this band we envisioned it as being big, grand, cinematic and we’ve always followed that rule.

“Much like this album [Manticore] you can find songs on it that are quite intense and barbaric, ornate and symphonic, fast, intense and others that are a little bit more reserved, bit more gothic, bit more emotional in that respect. They don’t follow much of a pattern which is good.”

It makes categorising the band hard. Dani would rather people didn’t try.

“I’d just like to be regarded as Cradle of Filth, that’d be the best accolade that could be bestowed upon us. We have been regarded as all kinds of different things because we never stick really to one genre. Our music’s kind of chimerical, it’s a beast with many heads, it’s got a lot of different flavours to it. Previously this year we did an orchestral album called Midnight in the Labyrinth.

“I think it’s hard to actually put a definition on us. I think it’s really for people who go into record stores, which doesn’t happen anymore anyway, so they know where to find... they don’t think about looking under C they want to look under black death gothic doom sludge whatever which is ridiculous.”

Music, he says, is music. Nobody refers to Iron Maiden as that new wave British heavy metal band or Metallica as a bay area stadium rock outfit.

Issues with music labels, their theatrical stage shows and controversial merchandise - one of their T-shirts is banned in New Zealand, with several people landing in court for wearing it - have seen them often in the news.

The most important thing is and always will be the music says Dani.

“We’re one of those bands that gets out of bed the wrong side of the proverbial grave sometimes and we have a habit of standing on a few people’s toes or have done in the past.

“It’s who we are. I think we pushed the wrong buttons and the right buttons; the black things always get noticed and remembered for. Metal has always had that controversial aspect around it ever since it was invented. The only reason it died down was because grunge came along and over-shadowed it.

“A few bands like Guns N Roses, Metallica, rode out the storm but we came from the underground pushed underneath by grunge and there’s a sort of resurgence nowadays. A lot of the stuff is quite tongue-in-cheek but a lot of people see it very seriously. It’s also escapism at the same time, like watching a really good traditional scary horror movie or reading a great book that transports you away from normality for a bit.”

On the topic of being transported, does the band have any plans to play in this part of the world?

“We’re about to embark on a seven-week package tour of Europe [which] we’re headlining. We’re hoping to do a full British tour next year, we haven’t done one for about four years now. It’d be a real pleasure to come and play somewhere like the Regent. It’d be like coming full circle, I started my heavy metal career seeing Ozzy Osbourne there and since then we’ve played with him. It’d be like coming home.”

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