By Carl Begai
Back in May singer Sarah Jezebel Deva – best known as Cradle Of Filth’s backing vocalist – released a three song EP entitled Malediction. A noteworthy move not only because it came out barely a year after her second full length album, The Corruption Of Mercy, but because of the guest artists she and guitarist / producer Dan Abela welcomed on board for the production. Sarah’s former Cradle Of Filth bandmate Martin Powell (keyboards) was reportedly lured in with the promise of a Mars bar and some soap, while Soilwork frontman Björn “Speed” Strid agreed quite unexpectedly to sing on the duet ‘Lies Define Us’ without ever having met anyone involved. The biggest shock, however, was Cradle Of Filth frontman Dani Filth willingly lending his talents to the last song, ‘This Is My Curse’. A “shock” not only because the short-but-deadly singer is basically playing second string to part of his former support staff, but because Sarah had said numerous times in interviews that she would “never” work with Cradle Of Filth in any capacity ever again.
Lo and behold, she appears on the Cradle’s new orchestral album Midnight In The Labyrinth and Dani can be heard shrieking up a storm in Sarah’s house.
“I won’t make it a secret that me and Dani didn’t speak for three years, until he contacted me in January of this year asking me to do Midnight In The Labyrinth,” Sarah reveals. “I left Cradle because it was the right time. Me and Dani were having all kinds of altercations, and I’ve always viewed Dani as my brother, so it was hard. I love him but I hate him (laughs). We’re very much on the same page in some aspects, but it was time to go. I always thought that Dani and I would never communicate again, and I was quite happy with that even though there was a sense of missing him. I’d also met someone, and I wanted to do my own thing, so I left the band and went to Australia in November 2008. I never got a ‘Thank you for all that you’ve done for this band…’ or anything. I was in contact with Dave (Pybus/bass) but that was the only real contact I had to that part of my life. So, getting that call from Dani, I was really chuffed. I was skeptical at first, but I thought to myself, ‘You know, now it’s time to grow up.’”
Sarah freely admits that being on her own and starting a band where she is one of the voices behind every decision made helped to heal the rift with Mr. Filth.
“My eyes are a bit more open now than they were,” she says without missing a beat. “I realized that Dani has to make a lot of decisions he doesn’t always want to make, and he’s always cast as the bad guy. Dani is a business man just as I suppose I’m a business woman. I don’t mean that in a corporate way, but I do what’s best for my band, or at least I try to just like Dani does for Cradle. So, there’s no secret now that we didn’t speak for a long time. The press might have been under the illusion that we were best buddies for years and years; in fact, for some strange reason people think that we’re married (laughs). Everyone should know that his wife Toni has always been the woman in Dani’s life. When people tell me that they think we’re married I’m like ‘God, dude, look at us! Fatty and Skinny; it just wouldn’t work…’ (laughs).”
It’s been widely noted that Dani’s performance of ‘This Is My Curse’ is worthy of any Cradle Of Filth recording. He immersed himself in the role entirely, pulling out all the toys in his vocal bag of tricks when he could phoned in a nothing performance.
“He could have said no to doing the song or he could have done the bare minimum,“ Sarah agrees, “but I felt that he bent over backwards to make the song what it is. We loved the song without his vocals, but the theatrical drama that Dani added to it matches the song perfectly and he’s brilliant at doing that. In my opinion he’s a master of the theatrical vocal style. No one can touch him.”