It was the end of 1993. A young British band called Cradle Of Filth was giving the finishing touches to their official debut full length, “The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh”. Little they knew but the album was destined to become a landmark. Their crossover of Black/Death Metal and Gothic sensibilities, took the underground by storm and eventually made of the band one of the most revered acts of the following years. However, at that point, as guitarist Paul Allender acknowledges, they “didn’t know what was going to happen. When you record something you just don’t know how is going to be accepted or how is going to go down. It is definitely a landmark but even nowadays I don’t think about it like that.”
As the story goes, the six-piece collective needed a group shot for the album’s back cover. They wanted a striking, dramatic image. Consciously or not, it seems that the idea was to convey the corpse painted look of their Scandinavian musical counterparts (ex. Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, etc). Money was short to fulfill their ambitions but their creativity was not. So, they came up with their own ‘do-it-yourself’ kind of approach.
“That photo was actually taken in my living room, in my apartment”, reveals Paul. “A friend that used to take photographs for the band, took that picture. And the makeup on our faces was actually clown white face paint and boot polisher under our eyes; you know the stuff you clean your shoes with”.
The final result was a well-lighted, black & white image of the whole band. “We had lots of shots but we just thought that was the best one for the back cover,” confirms the guitarist, also revealing that the photograph’s blue tonality was added later on. Surely, this was still a far cry from the Cradle Of Filth’s lavishly produced shots we all know. But somehow, it managed to capture a very special moment in their process of becoming England’s greatest Black Metal export. “That was good,” he Allender. “That sincerely was a magical and amazing time”.
Band: Cradle Of Filth
Photographers: Paul Harries (Band photography) and Mark (Portraits).
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Article by Ramon Martos Garcia – Copyright 2013 © Heavy Music Artwork.