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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.