Whether you’ve stuck with extreme metal practitioners Cradle of Filth from their early death metal days through gothic and symphonic times or you hold fast to the narrative that they broke up in 1996, Dani Filth’s penchant for the dark and gothic is undeniable. One of Filth’s constant sources of inspiration is Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed, a Hungarian noblewoman and alleged serial killer accused of torturing and murdering an unknown number of young women, with estimates ranging from 50 to 650. For her crimes, Bathory was imprisoned in a windowless room from 1610 until her death in 1614. She’s also the namesake for a band you may have heard of.
Cradle of Filth will embark on a lengthy world tour next month—view dates here, with more being added—but before they leave, Filth shared his top five Bathory-inspired songs with Decibel.
Venom – “Countess Bathory”
Venom used to be my favorite band when I was thirteen and the Black Metal album was their crowning glory, full of classic tracks bursting from its simple, yet effective, album cover. In fact, I have no idea why we didn’t cover this track for the Cruelty and the Beast special edition, instead choosing the title track. You would’ve thought we’d’ve had the gumption to record the Venom song about Elizabeth Báthory, the actual themestress of our album! But no. This is a killer tune regardless, like an evil Motörhead.
Bathory – “Woman Of Dark Desires”
Their name says it all, but it took Bathory until album three before they recorded a song about their namesake. That being said, it’s a really dark piece of music, especially with the added creepy synth in the middle eight, but try not to listen to the CD remaster of the album, which sounds shit and clunky. Instead, go and Youtube the fuck out of the original vinyl version, which is graveyards better-sounding.
Ghost – “Elizabeth”
Strangely enough, my favorite Ghost track of all. I find this gives me the willies. Obviously when this song came out, Ghost were still very much ‘underground,’ which only added to the mysteriousness of this lullaby. I totally love the creepy melodies, reminding me of early Merciful Fate haunting Blue Öyster Cult.
Dissection – “Elizabeth Bathory” (Tormentor cover)
An old-skool song covered by a legendary band. What more can I say? Evil as fuck. Tormentor were Hungarian like the Countess, which definitely adds a touch more spice.
Cradle Of Filth – “Bathory Aria”
The dizzying swan song of the Cruelty and the Beast album, this is played out in three parts: an overarching finale that moves Elizabeth Báthory from a grieving widow to a feared and wanted women, to subsequent trial and imprisonment, walled up for life in her castle. My favorite part is the meandering speech by the Countess at the culmination of the song, malevolently voiced by Hammer Horror legend Ingrid Pitt, who actually played Bathory in the legendary Countess Dracula (1971).
A tad selfish picking one of my own songs I know, but I ran out of Bathory-inspired songs I knew.