REVIEW: Winterfylleth & Cradle of Filth @ The Live Rooms, Chester 12/03/2016

Tickets for this show had been selling like hot cakes since it was first announced, but as it crept ever closer and was announced as a sell out show the anticipation for a great night built to fever point. Chester and it’s surrounding areas’ alternative crowds were all headed for The Live Rooms, and a huge booking for the venue in Cradle of Filth fresh from their headline slot at Hammerfest. Scattered amongst the crowd were those loyal to Manchester’s finest Winterfylleth, tonight’s support, and they like us were looking forward to seeing how they were received in front of this packed house.


I’ve seen Winterfylleth more times than I can remember over the years, but never in Chester and never in front of a crowd quite like the one present at the Live Rooms. The usual sea of Bathory and Drudkh shirts were replaced with a more Gothic/alternative crowd and I was really interested to see how the band would go over. The thing I love about Winterfylleth is how understated the band are; no nonsense, no gimmicks, they just let the music do the talking and in my opinion it talks right to your soul. It's been fun to watch Winterfylleth grow over the years and slowly watch the fan base expand, the first huge step in my opinion was when the band supported Enslaved on their European tour. After that I began to see a lot more Winterfylleth shirts at gigs not just in the UK but in Europe as well, and I think that this tour will help win them some new fans whilst gaining exposure with those who might not have gotten the chance to experience the Fathers of Albion's sweeping soundscapes otherwise.

By this point I had a few ales in me as me and the Mrs had gotten an early start with the gig being only two stops on the train away, and I was more than ready for the Hate Forest worship of ‘Mam Tor the Shivering mountain’, at this point the almost customary set opener, but what followed was a very different set than I was used to (but then again it's been over a year since I last saw the band live) . This was not at all a bad thing as the band showcased their more progressive material to the sold out crowd, with stalwart classics like ‘A Valley Thick with Oaks’ and ‘The Wayfarer Pt 1’ as well as ‘The Svart Raven’ going over really well with the crowd. Aside from my personal favourite in Mam Tor, the only really glaring omission from the set was ‘Defending the Realm’, but at this point in the band's career that track is likely their ‘Smoke on the Water’ and they are more than likely sick to death of playing it. All in all a fantastic show from the best damn Black Metal band from the UK, who play with a passion for the material and create a compelling atmosphere live without any tricks or gimmicks. I think undoubtedly that this tour will once again open more doors for a band that continues to rise like the peaks of Snowdonia.
- Siggi

Cradle of Filth
Having been one of the UK’s premier Extreme Metal acts since the early 90s, Cradle of Filth are showing no signs of slowing down. On their second UK tour since the release of 2015’s Hammer of the Witches, and having been to the USA, the Caribbean and Canada before arriving in sunny Chester, the band have certainly been busy! With a stage adorned with a gigantic crucified skeleton, the lights dimmed and the opening notes of ‘Humana Inspired to Nightmare’ crept out of the speakers, signifying the theatrical, gothic carnage that was to follow. The black-clad band took to the stage and launched straight into ‘Heaven Torn Asunder’ from the acclaimed Dusk…and Her Embrace album, with Dani Filth’s opening banshee shriek immediately proving to the naysayers that after over 20 years he’s well and truly still got it. Filth’s vocals actually seem to have improved since 2012’s The Manticore and Other Horrors, with his shrieks and low growls sounding as nasty as they did on the likes of Midian. It wasn’t long before mosh pits broke out and gleeful crowd surfers began to pour over the barrier, and the atmosphere of the packed-out room was one of total adoration of the Filth’s satanic symphonies. The Live Rooms is a smaller venue than Cradle are used to playing, with Dani joking that there wasn’t much room on stage for “a large fellow like myself”, but the small space between band and fans only added to the intimate atmosphere of the gig.

With a back catalogue as extensive as Cradle of Filth’s, it can be difficult to pick out a set that will please everyone. They seemed to achieve it however, juxtaposing epics from their early days such as ‘Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids’ and’ Malice Through the Looking Glass’ with more catchy numbers such as ‘From the Cradle to Enslave’ and ‘Born in a Burial Gown’. The two lead singles from the latest album, ‘Blackest Magick in Practice’ and ‘Right Wing of the Garden Triptych’ were also welcome additions, with the crowd’s obvious familiarity with the songs being a testament to the strength of the album. The guitar work in both of the latter has to be commended, with new guitarists Ashok and Richard Shaw delivering fluid and technical solos with inspiring harmonies. Keyboardist and female vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft is also a joy to watch. A smile on her face for the majority of the set, it’s easy to tell that she loves performing with Cradle of Filth. Her soprano style provides a delicate juxtaposition to Dani Filth’s demonic howls on songs such as ‘Nymphetamine’, and she added to the eerie atmosphere of ‘Her Ghost in the Fog’, proving that she is a worthy successor to luminaries such as Sarah Jezebel Deva, Ashley Ellylon and Caroline Campbell. With the band closing the night with two classic songs from debut album The Principle of Evil Made Flesh, the crowd’s response was nothing short of rapturous. Their blistering set finished, Cradle of Filth had proven once again why after over 20 years they are still hailed as among the best Extreme Metal bands that Britain has produced.
- Matt Hughes

After such a successful night for The Live Rooms and their string of excellent Metal bookings, the future can only be bright for our small City as it begins to cement itself as the intimate venue of choice whilst on the road across the UK, both for giants and up-and-comers alike. We hope to return soon \m/



Artist - Jesters of Destiny
Title - The Sorrows That Refuse to Drown
Label - Ektro

Thirty years after Jesters of Destiny arrived, dropped Fun at the Funeral and disappeared back into the night, they’re finally back with a second full length release courtesy of Ektro Records, and whilst it could never live up to first album, the eccentricity of the band shines through once more and it’s a crazy ride from start to finish. Pick it up on April 4th!



Artist - Hammerfest IX
Date - 23rd- 26th March
Venue - Pwllheli, Wales  

One of our main highlights of the year, this month we’re off to Wales for Hammerfest, HRH’s Heavy Metal flagship. With the return of two Power Metal titans alongside a host of others, this year looks to be one of their best ever. We’ll be covering the whole festival and conducting interviews as well so lookout for the cameras!