In times of peace, all was well in the kingdom of heaven. The angel Lucifer stood by the side of God, second only to the Creator’s own son. He had eminence over the hordes of angels in the kingdom of light and was revered by his own kind. Yet Lucifer could not help but feel envious to the love that God showed for his son, the Christ. Assembled at a heavenly host, God made it so that Christ was equal to Himself. When God was present, His son was present; when the son was present, He was present, and together they would carry out divine will. As the angels bowed before the King, one heart was full of hatred. Lucifer assembled his own angelic host to show the angels that a ruler had been granted power over them, thus depriving them of their liberty. With Lucifer at the head, the angels rebelled against God, the highest crime. War reigned in heaven as God fought with the legions of Satan. The angel that was once Lucifer was cast down to the earth with his followers. God decided that man must first prove himself before entering the kingdom, and Satan was left to dwell among man.
“…and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep…”
As God had exiled Lucifer in light of betrayal, Cradle of Filth’s Damnation and a Day
tells the story through his eyes with a vicious backing. Through treacherous shrieks, brutal riffs, lightning fast drums, and serene melodies, Cradle of Filth reveals their most epic of albums as a diverse release with a dark tale. The music seems to follow the theme as it soars through their heaviest riffs, their most technical playing, a new symphonic atmosphere credited to a 32-piece orchestra from Budapest, and a beautiful achievement of melody through lead riffs and clean guitars. Damnation
is easily their most experimental record to date, and Cradle of Filth managed to achieve a distinctive vibe to their sound that no other album of their’s possessed.
The key to understanding Damnation
comes from knowing the theme. The album is retelling the story of Satan’s fall (chapters one and two tell of the fall, while three and four tell of his workings on earth) and the music seems to strongly reflect this premise. Dani’s lyrics are as inspiring as ever creating an album rich in imagery.
The brutality of this album is merely one of its many dimensions. The guitars are tuned lower and produce a heavy, menacing tone. The music may seem unusually low when The Promise of Fever
comes crashing in after a voice tells of darkness, but rest assured, this trait is well-received through the entire album. They do occasional place chugging as their main goal such as An Enemy Led the Tempest
or Babalon AD
, but the guitars hold an excellent rhythm without falling into low C string abusing. Songs driven by heaviness like Smoke of Her Burning
and others seem reminiscent of the Midian
era. Outside of Midian
is easily the hardest hitting album from Cradle of Filth, with a forceful sound. The orchestra supporting the band adds to the demonic edge that album plays, and Dani Filth is no angel. Expect to be shot out of a cannon only to land on a soft bed of lead guitar playing.
Yet as heavy as the album is, it’s true charm comes from the contrast with melodic leads and clean interludes. The unusual vibe mentioned above is produced from those blissful moments. From the drum and orchestra breaks in Carrion
to the beautiful clean guitars of Doberman Pharaoh
, this album is melodic in ways that no other Cradle of Filth album has been. Combining the brutality with the melody yields even better results. Hurt and Virtue
are full metal lead-guitar driven melodic masterpieces that never fail to capture attention. Each of the five instrumental tracks also adds greatly to the feel of the album, often sounding like they were lifted from a depressing scene in Final Fantasy VII. Every song on Damnation
rolls together to form one large theatrical showing and creates an sensation so unexplainable that only a full 17-track listen can convey the idea (similar to the Matrix).
”…and the Great Dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the devil and Satan which deceiveth the whole world, he was cast out into the earth and his angels were cast out with him.”
Even when a major label may have spelled trouble for this metal band, Cradle of Filth cut nothing from their sound for mass appeal. Rather, they added something completely unexpected to make a very creative record. The orchestra was an excellent addition to add atmosphere to the music and create a serene melodic background. The result was 77 minutes of creative, interesting metal. Heavy yet beautiful, technical yet straightforward, Damnation and a Day
I. Hurt and Virtue
III. Doberman Pharaoh
III. Babalon AD (So Glad for the Madness)