Cradle of Filth are an English extreme metal band, formed in Suffolk in 1991. The band's musical style evolved from black metal to a cleaner and more "produced" amalgam of gothic metal, symphonic black metal, and other extreme metal styles, while their lyrical themes and imagery are heavily influenced by gothic literature, poetry, mythology and horror films.
The band has broken free from its original niche by courting mainstream publicity (often to the chagrin of its early fanbase), and this increased accessibility has brought coverage by the likes of Kerrang! and MTV, frequent main stage appearances at major festivals such as Ozzfest, Download, and even the mainstream Sziget Festival, and in turn a more "commercial" image. They have sometimes been perceived as Satanic by casual observers, although their outright lyrical references to satanism are few and far between, and use of satanic imagery has arguably always had more to do with literary allusion and the shock value than any seriously held beliefs.
The band's style has been described as symphonic black metal, gothic black metal, and dark metal. However, the band's evolving sound has allowed them to continue resisting definitive categorisation. They are audibly influenced by Iron Maiden, have collaborated on projects like Christian Death's Born Again Anti-Christian album (on the track "Peek-A-Boo"), and have even dabbled outside of metal music with dance remixes ("Twisting Further Nails", "Pervert's Church" etc), although these have fallen by the wayside in recent years. In a 2006 interview with Terrorizer magazine, current guitarist Paul Allender said "We were never a black metal band. The only thing that catered to that was the make-up. Even when The Principle of Evil Made Flesh came out — you look at Emperor and Burzum and all that stuff — we didn't sound anything like that. The way that I see it is that we were, and still are now, an extreme metal band."