English extreme metal icons Cradle of Filth will be here — in America — for a tour that starts February 1 in Houston and runs through March 13 in Atlanta. As such, I was offered the chance to speak with Cradle of Filth guitarist Paul Allender, and damn, am I glad I did. Basically, Paul is a real honest dude who — as it goes — spends a lot of his time in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Honest in what way? Well, when I ask him about the band‘s new disc — another concept record called Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa, which was about Adam of Adam and Eve’s first wife or some shit — and whether Cradle of Filth will ever again release an album that’s just straight music with none of the concept, he tells Gun Shy Assassin: “I hope so.”
Why? Well, as far as he’s concerned, “we’ve done way too many concept albums. But I just want the next one to be a straight metal album with a title on it and no comparison to anything. That would actually be quite nice. But it doesn’t make a difference for me. All the music’s written first, and given to Dan[i Filth, Cradle’s frontman], and he puts the lyrics to it and decides he wants to make it a concept record. It’s just the way things are written in the band.”
Like I said, Paul’s an honest guy. And yes, he lives in Minneapolis, which I didn’t expect.
“It’s so laid-back…there’s like, the whole atmosphere is really calm but in England, everybody’s on edge,” he tells me. “Everybody’s about to snap. The difference is actually unbelievable. I live in uptown Minneapolis, and its so chilled — it’s incredible.”
We talked about snow…seeing as I’ve been shoveling that shit for what feels like weeks now. Paul says he’s used to the cold and the snow from living in Minnesota, and that the folks there don’t make much of a big deal about snow. They just deal with it.
“[The snow’s] about…I don’t know, everywhere there’s about three feet of snow,” the guitarist tells me calmly. “And the snowdrifts on the side of the road, where the plows have cleared, they’re quite literally about five, six feet high.”
I guess I’ll stop complaining then. I move on with the interview, and Allender then tells me about Cradle’s next project, which is an orchestral album titled Midnight in the Labyrinth. The album, he tells me, will be out sometime later this year.
“It’s basically we’ve taken some songs off the first four albums and turned them into orchestral pieces,” he tells me. “No guitars, no drums, no vocals…nothing. Just pure orchestral stuff.” Two of the songs getting the orchestral treatment: “Summer Dying Fast” and “Funeral in Carpathia.”
Paul says that Cradle will also be working on a DVD on this upcoming tour, and if he had his way, he’s release the DVD together with the orchestral record, but is not sure Peaceville Records is going to go for it.
Next, I ask Paul about the “Jesus Is A Cunt” shirt and whether Cradle ever imagined the shirt would get people arrested and expelled from school?
“When we first released the shirt, the only reason we’d done it was just to get some publicity…the shock factor,” Allender says. “It just goes to show, anything shock factor…people will pay attention to it. We never thought people would get in trouble or fined or anything like that. It just goes to prove what a shite society we live in…at the end of the day, it’s a shirt.”
Then I ask Paul what he thinks of “The Big Four.” “They’re great bands at the end of the day, but I mean…so fucking what?,” Paul says. “You know you get people who idolize people in bands. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I have never, ever been like that. I can’t see what the hype is about about getting, like, four bands that write this music all playing together. Perhaps I’m missing something. I’ve seen these bands a millions times before and all they’re going to be doing is playing new stuff, which is crap.”