The band has broken free from its original niche by courting mainstream publicity (often to the chagrin of its early fanbase), giving the band a "commercial" image. This increased accessibility has brought coverage from the likes of Kerrang! and MTV, along with frequent main stage appearances at major festivals such as Ozzfest, Download and even the mainstream Sziget Festival. They have sometimes been perceived as satanic by casual observers, even though their outright lyrical references to Satanism are few and far between; their use of satanic imagery has arguably always been more for shock value rather than any seriously held beliefs.
Cradle of Filth's particular subgenre has provoked a great deal of discussion, and their status as a black metal band or otherwise has been in debate since near the time that the group rose to fame. The band have openly mentioned classic '80s black metal acts such as Bathory, Celtic Frost and Mercyful Fate among their influences, but Dani Filth, in a 1998 interview for BBC Radio 5 for example, said "I use the term 'heavy metal', rather than 'black metal', because I think that's a bit of a fad now. Call it what you like: death metal, black metal, any kind of metal...". Gavin Baddeley's 2006 Terrorizer interview states that "few folk, the band included, call Cradle black metal these days." 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."
The band's style has been described as symphonic black metal, gothic metal, "gothic black metal" and even "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 (such as "Twisting Further Nails" and "Pervert's Church"), although these have fallen by the wayside in recent years.
Appearing on the BBC music quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks on 9 April 2001, Filth jokingly claimed Cradle's sound as "heavy funk", and in an October 2006 interview stated, "we'd rather be known as solely 'Cradle of Filth', I think, than be hampered by stupid genre barriers.
- Dani Filth – vocals
- Paul Allender – guitar
- Daniel Firth – bass
- James McIlroy – guitar
- Martin Skaroupka – drums
- Lindsay Schoolcraft – live keys and female vocals
- Studio albums