February 2016 has been a very active month so far in terms of touring bands and shows hitting Texas with big tours such as LAMB OF GOD’S and EPICA’S sold-out headliners, AT THE GATES’ fourth date from their current tour, MEGADETH’S first date off their tour supporting Dystopia and a few DARKEST HOUR dates in the lone-star state. One that stands out, at least for myself is CRADLE OF FILTH’S Inquisitional Torture Tour which was almost cancelled due to visa issues (again) plaguing the British headliners. Luckily, the black metal pioneers were able to solve everything to hit the road alongside support bands BUTCHER BABIES and NE OBLIVISCARIS at House of Blues Dallas. The strong comeback from COF made this show a really good one to check out. With the combination of bands, I was extremely curious to see how the show would turn out.
The Australian progressive death metal band, NE OBLIVISCARIS, took the hard task of warming up the people at the venue. The response from the crowd was amazing, and their artistic contributions of the night were something different that we all needed to hear. Their addition of the violin to their mix of instruments to do their thing definitely makes a difference and I can say that these guys instantly became favorites of the crowd with their performance. It was excellent to discuss how the new bands get opportunities through bigger bands to spread their work among metalheads.
The metal community is a win-win business for everyone: someone makes music and gets to play it among hundreds or thousands of people, and those hundreds or thousands get to build experiences for the rest of their lives.
BUTCHER BABIES were about to take the stage, and at that point I felt like I was more excited to see that band perform than the other two, and it is because I had a very strong bias towards them when I first saw their logo and image (very superficial, and not so beneficial for me). I completely underestimated their talent, and I have lots of respect for vocalists Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd, Jason Klein (bass), Henry Flury (guitar), and Chrissy Warner (drums) now that they’ve proven that they give everything they have every single time they hit the stage. BUTCHER BABIES released their second studio album Take It Like a Man (Century Media Records) last summer, and it’s a killer!
The songs performed out of that recording included “Blonde Girls All Look the Same”, “The Butcher”, “Gravemaker”, “Igniter” and “Monster’s Ball”. Each song has something different as a characteristic and all of them together make great headbanging material. The band didn’t forget to include some old tunes while performing, along with a mix of different songs like “Goliath” and “I Smell a Massacre” as part of a mash-up. I wish they played my favorite song “Mr. Slowdeath”, but maybe next time.
The moment of the night was definitely when Heidi went with the crowd during the band’s last song, stood in the middle of the pit and let everyone go around her while performing. This demonstrates that they know how to have fun and how to make connections with their fans.
BUTCHER BABIES stole the show this time with something not everyone does, and the turnout was perfect. Props for this super talented band, and hopefully they keep escalating with their material farther every time. I encourage you to check them out if you haven’t had the chance, and if you don’t like them, and least you’ll fall in love with Carla and Heidi like I did.
The headliners CRADLE OF FILTH, touring in support of latest release Hammer of the Witches (Nuclear Blast) was making the venue look a lot darker while setting up their gear and stage. The setting was sparse, but their image was very well-conserved. COF had prepared a two-part setlist to which the duration of their performance could add up to almost two hours. Excellent for the long-time fans of this band.
The last chance I had to hear CRADLE OF FILTH (which could’ve been my first) was just a couple of months back at Knotfest Mexico 2015 where they performed tremendously, but with a stricter time limit. I’m still surprised at how lead singer Dani Filth is able to pull such high-screaming vocals and maintain them for several seconds. Those are incredible to hear live.
The second part of the setlist was definitely the best. Composed of about six songs, some people were already turning very dark from the outside to their insides, included a couple of thirteen-year olds who were slamming HARD in the pit (we later learned that it was their first metal show). With songs such as “Yours Immortally”, “Nymphetamine”, “Her Ghost in the Fog”, “From the Cradle to Enslave” and “The Principle of Evil Made Flesh”, CRADLE OF FILTH was able to conquer their supporters and deliver an excellent show.
There are very few black metal bands from overseas that tour the USA nowadays and the pioneers of the genre were meeting and exceeding the expectations of their crowd during that night.
I would qualify CRADLE’s performance as phenomenal, considering the fact that all band members have the ability to focus on their instruments and make an excellent conjunction with their image. It was such a bummer that the show landed on a Wednesday night… Ash Wednesday, to be precise, which makes it a good story. It was super interesting to see how three bands, that at some point are very different, play the same night for people that also seemed to have differences in their music taste, but knew how to get along pretty well.
After all, we go to shows to relieve all the negativity and have a good time, and I’m pretty sure everyone got something very positive while walking out the venue…especially those two teenagers from the pit. Man, those two kids had a life-changing event and it only gets better from that point.
LIVE WORDS: THE ALCALDE
LIVE PHOTOS: FIRST GIRL PHOTOGRAPHY