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We've always known that CoF has been one of the most popular (but maybe not the most loved by die hard fans) black metal bands ever, and because of their new label we all knew it was going to be over produced, and while over-production may not suite some bands as Immortal and whatnot, CoF definately pulls it off.
CoF has always loved their gothic/vampyric lyrics, and Dani Filth is by far an above average writer when it comes to lyrics. But this album has some of their best lyrics, because in this album Dani couldn't make up his own stories he chose to expand on other people's story (namely Paradise Lost). The lyrics are apocalyptic, dark, epic, and above all...poetic, while still having his vampyric hints.
The track listing is almost perfect, with a mix between a romp through the Bible and Paradise Lost, the track listing is nearly perfect. The album starts, and ends, with the cryptic words "And Darkness Was Upon The Face Of The Deep".
The instruments are much more melodic, and focus more on power then sheer speed or technicality. Every song uses a live recorded orchestra and a live choir, and it really adds to the atmosphere that CoF has always been looking for. Dark, melodic, beautiful, and ugly all at the same time. The drums focus on sheer power, and it's needed with all the over dubbing the band does with it's instruments. The guitars are some of the most powerful instruments I've ever heard. They aren't heavy, they're just powerful. Paul Allender at his best, it's almost like he tried to be apart of the orchestra with his instrument.
This abum was Dani Filth at his best, between his low gutteral growl and his high shriek, he is a more extreme version of King Diamond. But sadly this was his last album with this much vocal talent, as his high shriek became less powerful, and his low growl had to try and take it's place.
If you're not all about speed and you like other types of softer music, as well as heavy metal, I suggest you give this one a listen at least once through.
Often the subject of debate, CoF's 2003 album had many fans, old-school or otherwise, crying foul while the ones who never liked the band in the first place held their opinions firm. Along with Dimmu Borgir's "Death Cult Armageddon," this was one of the most anticipated and critisized albums of 2003. The media placed unbelievable hype around it. So, does it live up to the hype, and furthermore, is it a good album?
Well, though the album is successful on many levels, it suffers from one thing: overambition. Everything is so blown out of proportion here that it's amost like arena rock in its scope. The production is absurdly clean, but considering that a large orchestra was used here, that was pretty much required. Guitars used a polished and ear-friendly tone while maintaining the low end needed for the band's palm-muted riffs, Adrian's drums are meticulously miked to make every stroke of every drum audible, and even the bass comes out front at a few points. This is a slightly refreshing change from the slightly muddled or ear-straining sound of albums like Midian, but also takes the balls right out of the music. Many of the best metal moments are washed out with dense choirs or full string sections, or are layered with endless sound effects. In the end, it comes off as a bit too digestible. The band spent too much time in the studio fucking around with what could be added to music, without realizing what was too much.
On the upside, this is one hell of a heavy metal album. A bit long-winded, yes; but the band offer up great performances on all fronts, and although Dani's lyrics take a near-biblical slant, lyrics from "Better to Reign in Hell" and "Babalon A.D." are some of the best he's written. Paul's guitar riffs have definitely taken a backset to the orchestra on this album, and aside from the occasional lead, most of the guitar work conists of powerful, driving tremolo picking or power chords; the band's long-time flirtations with keyboards come full swing here, and it's clear to see that tons of time was spent working out the orchestra parts in conjunction with the songs, and also the numerous interludes that divide the album into its respectable "chapters."
Here's the thing, though; while most metal bands that flirt with symphonic nature base the symphony around the metal, it seems to be the exact opposite in this scenario. It seems like the songs were written to revolve around the orchestra instead of vice versa. Only every now and then are the band allowed to come out in their full fury, such as the beginning of "An Enemy Led the Tempest." Otherwise, the band seem rather restrained here. Regardless of the restraint, "Hurt and Virtue" features incredible guitars and double bass work, and "End of Daze" proves to be one of the band's most ripping tracks they've composed.
Dani offers some slightly more ear-pleasing vocals here, and his performance is easily better than anything seen on "Midian." The lyrics prove to be one of the high points of the album. Rather than the usual dark romance/Goth/horror niche, Dani undertakes a huge role as narrator of the rise and fall of man in the garden of Eden. It's best described as Paradise Lost gone totally wrong, but it works well within the context of the music. "Mannequin" is the only clear exception to this, and seems to relate back to the famous "Her Ghost in the Fog."
The orchestra plays a major role in the album; so major, in fact, that this album would be a total flop without it. It does bring power out at most points, such as the opening track "The Promise of Fever" or the slightly tranquil "Serpent Tongue." But there are many instances where it all is simply too much; the metal isn't given enough room to breathe, and as a result, the album falls flat on its face at some points..
Despite the numerous problems, there still manage to be some stellar moments. "Hurt and Virtue," "An Enemy Led the Tempest," "Better to Reign in Hell," and "Mannequin," among a few other cuts, manage to be some of the best songs the band have composed. The band still pull through in their own special way, and prove that after all these years, Sony be damned, they can still bust out the goods.
So what to say about this new Cradle of Filth album, with 17 tracks – 12 full-length songs, and the rest as symphonic fillers – one intro, three interludes, and one outro. Well, a lot has progressed since “Midian” (I’m not counting Bitter Suites to Succubi here, since I haven't heard it, and with only 6 new tracks, it wasn't an ideal studio album in any case). Since there are a damn lot of tracks to review, I’ll only review some of my favourites and the highlights.
The album starts with “A Bruise Upon the Silent Moon”. This haunting intro quickly turns into a beautifully melodic symphony with choral parts to it. This track is a fantastic track on it’s own, but it is even more appropriate as an opener for a Cradle of Filth album.
Going rapidly from this beautiful introduction, a great and atmospheric way to begin the album, into the brutal and intense “A Promise of Fever”. It’s quickly evident that the drums have a much better sound than on what most consider to be their best effort, 1998’s “Cruelty and the Beast”, and are used in a good way particularly in this song.
There is a very strange part during this song though, at about 2:35. The operatic vocals are layered too many times, and it really sounds like something out of “Slovak Chamber Orchestra plays Christmas Carols 1978”! But what is even stranger than this, is that this is a very appealing passage, possibly because it stands out more so, but either way, “A Promise of Fever” is a real winner.
“An Enemy Led The Tempest” instantly sounds different. The production job on this song is much better for some reason – the guitars seem to have more beef and energy than on the other songs. This album would have probably received 96 or 97% if every one of the metal songs had a production job like this. The riffs are very cool too – here, they are melodic, but very haunting, and its one of the more intense songs as the keys take a back seat and the guitar and bass work really stands out here.
“Carrion” is one of the heaviest efforts on the album. The riffing is mainly constructed in this song using power chord-based riffs in the old style, and the keyboards again aren’t as present on this effort here, used as more of an overtone instead of dominating the levels, and this is used to a better effect on this occasion.
The final interlude, titled “A Scarlet Witch Lit the Season”, sounds pretty similar to the rest of “break” tracks. An excellent, short, symphonic fill, but it hasn’t got the potential to do much else.
“Thank God For The Suffering” is my favourite song off Damnation And A Day. This song is simply beautiful. It starts off with an emotional riff and an absolutely beauteous symphonic part. In addition to this part, the song progresses very well into more metal sounding parts, and mixing beauty with brutality – a tremolo part in a minor key, showing you that Cradle still have it after all these years. The tune is more dominated by, and reliant on, the keys but this is not a bad thing, this is still my favourite song from the CD.
“The Smoke of Her Burning” follows a similar style of notes to “Thank God…”, but in this case, the track is a bit more thrashy and a lot more upbeat than the previous track. The riff in the middle part is extremely groovy, before going into a passage with more of the black metal elements in it, but still with more than a hint of some good melodies.
The album closes off with a moving symphonic part in the outro, “End of Daze” (being carried over from Smoke), and this closes off what is a most epic album, running in at 77 minutes playing time.
General overview of the album: As always, the lyrics are absolutely fantastic. Every song is a wonderful gothic tale of lost love, anti-Christianity, vampires and so on, and every song is epic, many hundreds of words in each tale. I don’t know how the hell Dani manages to remember the words to all the songs every time they’re on stage – I have trouble remembering just one! As stated earlier, the drum sound is a little more tolerable than on “Cruelty and the Beast”, but personally, they should have stuck with the percussion sound they achieved on “Midian”. One thing I’m not crash-hot on about the CD though, is the guitar tone. While it is nicely harsh and very trebly, the actual tone seems to be lacking some punch and intensity, and pales in comparison to the keyboards a little bit, I think. It’s not really bad, but if I had been producing the CD, I would have given the guitars a bit of extra ferocity. Ah well, never mind.
It must be said now. The problem with Cradle of Filth, and this album, is not the music - the problem is the fans themselves. Cradle of Filth can't help it if sad little mallcore kids think they are the grimmest and most necrotic black metal ever to hit CD shelves. That’s the problem of the fans, not of the band – as Dani Filth himself has said, “We are not a black metal band.” Of course, it sucks when you’re at a Cradle of Filth gig, wearing your Cradle of Filth shirt, and there are 500 pre-pubescent little cunt farts running around your territory with Slipknot and KoЯn shirts. But, by the same token, this album isn’t solely recorded for your ears, so if you think Cradle of Filth has “sold out”, fuck off back to your Dying Fetus and Devourment and don’t bother whingeing because of some nice music, even if it’s not the “tr00est” or whatever.
Simply finalising, this album won’t change the opinions of haters of Dani Filth or Cradle of Filth. Conversely, “Damnation and A Day” won’t do anything to deter diehard fans from purchasing and enjoying the latest offering from the English band. I love it, full marks for effort. All killer, no filler (so to speak) with this one. 90 points.
I'll start with saying that Cradle of Filth went a little overboard with this album by putting in 17 tracks, 5 of which are interlude. You know if you have that many tracks it can't all be good, and it isn't.
I'll start off with the good aspects of this album. First one is the track "Hurt and Virtue". This one has some pretty decent riffs and some memorable melodies as well as some great riffs to start of Carrion. For a second you may even think that you are listening to real metal and not some silly ass band. "Presents of the Poison-Hearted" is another great track although we could have done without the "AHHH", "HHHAAAHH" etc. effects in the beginning. This one of the little problems with this album. It is a great example of overproduction. "Mannequin" is also a decent song with some memorable melodies although once again it reeks of overproduction. The rest of the tracks might have some decent riffs/melodies, but they just don't stand up. And the interludes just do nothing, they are boring. If they cut the interludes to one or two it would be fine but 5 is overdoing it.
Some more problems besides the overproduction and too many interludes is the damn drumming. It gets on your nerves in a matter of minutes. The constant same "tick...tick...tick" drumming style. It is bland and boring and has an annoying noise. You know, you could vary your drumming...
Another thing is that sometimes Dani's ear-piercing shrieks just go over the top. Makes me just want to cut my ears off. It is just horrid sometimes. And in the second track, "The Promise of Fever" they just go way over the top by giving us 20 seconds of just the same damn shrieking organs or whatever getting louder and louder. I felt like just crumbling my CD player to seconds...you should avoid piercing sounds like that like the plague. Its not that bad for the first 10 seconds but as it gets louder and louder it just kills you. God I've never heard a more horrid sound in my life before. I'd rather listen to someone scratching their nails on a blackboard than that. God.
It kind of hurts me to give such a low grade when there are actually some decent pieces on this album, but I can't knowing also how much crapola is in here. If you cut it down to 10 tracks and kept the good stuff you'd have a pretty decent album, but not with 17. This is definately one of Cradle's worst. Avoid it!
After healing for roughly two years after the Bitter Suites To Succibi incident, many fans cringed in horror to hear that a new "Cradle Of Filth" album was on it's way from a major record label, Sony Music. Many could not wait to get their hands on a new "Cradle" album since Live Bait For The Dead just simply wasn't enough. But what was to come from the band?
Well, there was talk of a possibly mainstream sounding black metal album. Could it be true? Could such an abomination exist? Damnation And A Day is, at the time of this review being concocted, the first and only black metal album to enter Billboard's Top 100 CD charts, and for good reason.
Damnation And A Day is seriously more diverse compared to their last album, Bitter Suites To Succubi. Essentially, that album was older, rare material redone, as well as covers thrown in the mix. However, Dani simply went overboard with the screeching. But, in this one, it comes in with perfect harmony.
Various tales are abound through the album as the chapters are seperated with haunting instrumentals that bring happiness one minute, and chaos the next. The album, thanks to Sony themselves, have spawned various singles, including 'Babylon A.D. (So Glad For The Madness)', 'Mannequin', and the one song many college stations played in their top 200 playlists, 'Thank God For The Suffering' (which, on a side note, reached #1 in the CMJ Top 200 Air Play charts).
The band did not sell out, however. In fact, this is considered to be on of their greatest albums yet. The banshee wails from Dani Filth are blended perfectly with deep growls and low screaches. Done with a much larger budget, they were able to use orchestras and other such elements to bring the album to life, which worked perfectly.
The guitars are fast one minute, and completely insane the next, blending an extreme dose of melody with the sound that at times can be so chaotic and hectic. The lyrics are deep and dark like usual, and such songs as 'Better To Reign In Hell' will have you reaching pinnacle tones in your voice on your long drive to work.
There aren't any flaws with the album that can be pointed out. It is simply a catchy, insane, and amazing display of black metal and gothic metal combined together to form a conceptual album revolving around small tales and songs of the dark and macabre. "Cradle Of Filth" fans, rejoice! For a major record label having one of the greatest metal acts of the nineties, this album is not mainstreamed and not aimed at people outside the style. This is simply a must have for anyone wishing to put the Bitter Suites To Succubi horror behind them...
This is the logical next step for Cradle of Filth. The amount of progressiveness and segues in their previous work was sure to lead to something like this, and indeed it does on Damnation And A Day. I will get all of my complaints out of the way first so that the praise will leave you with a positive note on a fairly positive album. The segues suck, bottom line. Unlike GOOD segues, like Megadeth's "Last Rites" or Burzum's "Channeling The Power of Souls Into a New God", these really don't go anywhere. It wouldn't be so bad if there was one, but we have to sit through FOUR.
Also, the vocal mix is sometimes irritating. I am one of the 3 people on earth who can stand Dani's voice, but when they mix the high with the gay low growl he does, it ends up sounding pretty retarded. That about does it for the complaints. This album is nice because it manages to stay fresh, even throughout the course of a 6 or 7 minute song, due to the abdunance of changes and different riffs. The first song, "A Promise of Fever" is an exellent example, there are at least 3-4 good riffs in this song, and the pace never slows. The next song "Hurt And Virtue" is COMPLETELY different, with a rather Finntroll-ish feel to it. Skip ahead a bit..."Better to Reign in Hell" is pretty catchy with some nice drumming. Did I mention that the bass is more prominent in this album? It adds a nice touch and makes the music sound more full. Towards the end of the album, "Babylon A.D." begins with an incredibly evil riff and "The Smoke of Her Burning" closes the album in a big way, showcasing the typical CoF buildup to songs. Good album, obviously not black metal for the 2 people on earth that don't know that, but I would say it's probably less Faggothic than some of their previous stuff due to the abundance of real riffs.
Overall a good but not really that memorable listen.
Cradle of Filth tends to change their style all the time, and this is the biggest change yet. I can't even recognize 'black metal' here anymore; this sounds like I-don't-know-what, but they've been wildly experimenting, even throwing in an orchestra. I'm listening to 'Hurt and Virtue' - say, is that power metal? Like some Children of Bodom, it is. I wouldn't know that this is Cradle of Filth if Dani wasn't there. Still, it's always comforting to know that every next album of Cradle of Filth will most likely be very different, because there is more than enough music of this kind on this CD.
The songs have a very polished sound and Dani's singing or pig squealing sounds much better than most of his noise on the studio albums, but not as exciting as him going live. 'Serpent Tongue' (cool!) and the wind-in-your-face-blowing 'Doberman Pharaoh' kick off and rock hard on high volume, and 'Mannequin' is quite unlike anything I've heard. The biggest problem with the songs are that they're too repetitive; verse-refrain-verse-refrain... ugh, where are all the unpredictable and super-erratic masterpieces like 'Dusk and Her Embrace' or 'The Forest Whispers My Name'? Also, Cradle doesn't apparently know how to start a song anymore, as most of the songs start
in a very annoying and uninteresting way; 'Hurt and Virtue' and 'The Promise of Fever' should learn some foreplay from those good old songs I mentioned, and not go off before the listener even has got wet; listening to 'Better to Reign in Hell' is about as fun as getting raped.
They songs start off INTO THE MAIN RIFF WITHOUT ANY WARM-UP WHATSOEVER, like some cheesy german excrement power metal. Almost every song does this, and it works only three or four songs. These are the real problems on this album - the often accused over-polished sound is
really an advantage. The album sure is entertaining, but in the composition not very complex and artistic, and I don't particularly like most of the songs. Often the case has been that songs which I haven't liked on studio albums have turned out to be great when performed live (such as 'Her Ghost in the Fog' and 'The Forest Whispers My Name' which I didn't care about before I heard them live, and they jumped right up in my top 10 best songs of all time), so maybe some of these songs will become better when performed live.
'Thank God for the Suffering'. The title of that song; how ironic, since listening to it made me suffer - and I won't thank god for it.
I really thought I was going to totally fucking hate this one. Really, I was coming up with all sorts of brilliant new conjugations of the word "excrete", but alas they will have to wait, as this album is really not as bad as it could have been. Dimmu Borgir, this is not. I mean, yes it's silly as all fuck, and there are some really insipid moments of stupid shrieking, geigh keyboards, bad drumming, etc etc... but the album is also filled with really cool riffs! Who the fuck saw that one coming?
For example in the opener, around 0.58, damn that is some quality stuff. It's the crap that abounds at around 1.16 that makes the album so abominable. Loud keyboards, banal shriek, tickticktick drumming. If they could excise those crap sections of crap and throw in the solid sections - like the one at 1.44 for example - it would not be nearly as bad.
Oh yeah - whispering section is BAD. But when the guitars kick in at around 3.15, it gets more decent. I could do without the wailing "ooh!" once ever 3 seconds, and the random string section at 4.38 too... the album really does suffer from "guys, too many random ideas" syndrome. That seems to be the trend in modern metal nowadays... lots of sucky ideas alternated with a few good ones. But when the good ones come in...
Oh there are more songs on this happy dude, aren't there? Hurt and Virtue mixes in really loud, really faggothic keyboards, with some decent riffs. Somewhere buried in here is a Helloween album. Seriously. And how can you not love the fuck out of that riff at 0.38? The songwriting is exciting as fuck, you cannot deny them that. Decent speed metal riffage occurs again at 2.58 again with some great guitar melodies too.
An Enemy led the Tempest... sounds at the beginning like the CD is skipping (well, it's an mp3, same difference - but hey that riff is pretty heavy). Then we get the keyboards and Dani, the man of a thousand homoerotic voices, but that riff at 0.47!
Damned in Any Language! Yay, a song that I can despise! It's just a silly orchestral interlude, and Virgin Steele this is not. Enough wailing, if you want the choir of the damned, go listen to Pleasure to Kill!
Serpent Tongue ... I'm not too keen on the tickticktick fairycore section at 3.17, but the outro riff section just works. There's just so much going on in these songs... lots of keyboard layers, Dani going all wild, and hey, the guitars. This is some really exciting, interesting music here. It doesn't always work, but at least it keeps my attention.
Carrion - ooh, a Kreator cover! Here come the monster riffs right from the beginning! Well no, it's not a Kreator cover, but the riffs certainly are there at the beginning. The song fades as it goes on, before coming back to life around 4.08.
Present from the Poison-hearted is excellent, going wild with speed metal riffs from the get-go. 0.33 in, prepare to bang. If anyone claims that this band is not metal... I'm sorry, but fuck you. They're certainly not black metal, but they are definitely a metal band. There's some sections where the guitars drop out and we veer dangerously into Dark Tranquillity territory, but when it comes back, oh man it comes back and rips your fucking face off.
Doberman has a weird little intro before it goes into the frenetic, hyperfast section. Oddly enough, this isn't nearly as incoherent as many previous Cradle of Filth albums - this has solid power metal written all over it. Not a great song, but not bad. In fact, about here is where the album starts to drag a little. It is 17 songs, after all... Babylon AD has some decent riffs in it too, and then that little Pantera section around 2.52 in.
A Scarlet Witch performed the Interlude. Yep - there's a few of those in here too... there's only 12 real songs and 5 of these little symponic passages. They don't really do much for me.
Mannequin - this one definitely suffers from having too many ideas thrown in - the vocal effect at 3.42 is horrible, and some of the riffs aren't emphasised enough and the middle section is completely forgettable. Thank God for the Suffering is more of the same - the album just doesn't work well for so many songs, and that is its greatest problem.
But we do close on a strong note with The Smoke of her Burning. At 1.23 this just goes into a fucking thrash nightmare. This section is the highlight of the album right here. The song then gradually diminishes in intensity, leading into the outro piece. Kinda average from then on, but man that thrash riff is pwnage!
Dang it... and I had really been hoping to compare something on here to a coprophagic weasel, and I had this brilliant word made up that combined the best features of "monkey" and "testicle" into a new three-syllable construction that would've made Shakespeare proud. Alas, not this time.
Hey I heard Opeth haven't broken up yet. Gotta save up the good ideas for when their new one comes out! Because THIS album is not complete goblin swill, this actually has its moments.
(Attention: i'm making this review based upon what I’ve heard on the promo cd to which I had access in the last days before this review, but the content is exactly the same that’s present on the original release...)
So Dani and his hellish vampiric servants have once again risen from their graves to give us some more "100% make up" metal. A long time went from the release of Midian, their last originals record before this one, and the band went through a lot of changes that would eventually affect their sound in a (well, I can't say negative) different way. Robin, their long time bassist exited, being immediately replaced by ex- Anathema nocturnal pulse Dave, and the band was not a 6, but a 5 piece showcase that recorded their album with only a guitarist, the (almost gaining the "Dracula" rank in the band...) Paul Allender, that recorded all the parts, the most of them eventually composed by him.
And this is exact reason why I decided to call this record "We wanted to make another Midian, but even taking the crap out of ourselves, we didn't managed to do it.", instead of "Damnation and a Day". Gian Pyres was without doubt a very skilled riff maker, and it's very sad that we get to realise this after his departure of the band. Paul Allender's guitar rhythms are almost the same thing in all of the record, some thrashy speed, coupled with some death metal riffs over here and there, something really boring sometimes, very far from the massive rifforama of songs like "Chtulu Dawn". It's a similar guitar work to that present in "Midian" but with lower intensity and much less catchy...
Dave plays his role in a competent way, not proving yet why is he a worthy replacement over Robin, but he'll have lots of time to show what he can do (ah ah, just kidding...probably Dani already fired him).
Adrian is not often allowed to show his true potential as a drummer since the songs have some rhythm basis and changes that don't allow him to make some furious blast beats or really thunder-drumming, but I still think he made an hell of a job, and he's a very skilled drummer (what is he doing in C.O.F???).
Martin Foul’s keyboard playing gained a lot of respect from me on this one, not by the role he played on the metal songs, but for those little instrumental pieces. Really vampiric melody stuff capable of putting your hairs all up and make you imagine that you have Dracula himself just at your back. I knew he was good on My Dying Bride, but somehow he managed to transcend himself.
Well, all that it's left are the "glammy vampiric horrid screams" by Dani. Bah...same deal like the one he's been making since the "Cruelty and the Beast" album. Those really high pitch screams with that sinister dracula voice, and those furious beast growls. The saaame thing.
Well about the songs...There are 2 great songs, good songs, some average, and some not even worth mention. Hey, this one has it all!!! 17 songs. After hearing it I got the thought that they could mix pairs of 2 or 4 songs into one and make this a high quality 8 or 10 track record, but, you know that even vampires get their teeth really bend over when getting old, and my god these guys cant drain a drop of blood to save their lives now.
Very worth listening to "Presents to the Poison-Hearted" and the death metal amazing rifforama of "The Promise of Fever". "The Smoke of Her Burning", "Babalon A.D", "Better to Reign in Hell" and "Carrion" are also good but at the same time they get the rank of "not very interesting" along with the others.
Still, it's a good Cradle of Filth album to get. Their weakest until now, but still very "headbangable"...