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Revisiting Cradle of Filth's 2003 Studio Album "Damnation and a Day (From Genesis to Nemesis)"

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


The United Kingdom's Cradle of Filth Makes a Concept Album in the Year of 2003

The 2003 studio album Damnation and a Day (From Genesis to Nemesis) is one of those albums in the discography of British extreme metal band Cradle of Filth that gets a mixed response from critics. With all the attention that this band’s first few albums get even to this day, Damnation and a Day may more than likely be one of those albums that gets ignored. Even though I got into this band back in 1998 and have only briefly listened to their works a lot less since that time, I really felt the need to take the sort of musical plunge and give this one a listen. The double bass drumming with its speed that we heard even when Nick Barker was in this band is still there. Contributing on drums for this album is Adrian Erlandsson, the only non-British member in Cradle of Filth at that time.

Why is This Album Unique?

This album is partially based on John Milton’s famous poem Paradise Lost. In other words, Damnation and a Day is a concept album.

Why This Album Deserves More Positive Praise

We are not just analyzing this album because it happens to be over 18 years old but it is to show that even a band like Cradle of Filth that has been sort of a household name in the British black metal scene can succeed even when members depart the band. This is also the album in which Gian Pyres quit the band before the recording process of the album. I listen to this 2003 Cradle of Filth album with a much deeper appreciation and respect not just for the band but for the United Kingdom as a whole. The UK can definitely perform good extreme metal if it tries to do so.

A More In Depth Analysis of Damnation and a Day

Listening to this album even further as we approach the end of it, it is only my perspective but Cradle of Filth doesn’t necessarily need Nick Barker to succeed as they show that they can do well even when he isn’t in the band. A band isn’t only about one specific member even if that member can sometimes make a huge difference in the band’s greatness or mediocrity. A band is about all the members and all the members work together to create the finished product musically. What makes this album sort of unique for Cradle of Filth is that it is divided into four parts. The first four songs in this album are labelled as “Fantasia Down.” The album begins with the classically oriented song called “A Bruise Upon the Silent Moon.” This track has a choir like feel to it. For this album Cradle of Filth got basically a guest assistance or contribution from the Budapest Film Orchestra and Budapest Film Choir. “Hurt and Virtue” is kind of the first real defining moment of this album as the beginning riff shows the Iron Maiden influence. Tracks 5-8 are titled as being part of the Paradise Lost section of this album.

Cradle of Filth’s music may be similar to Opeth’s in the sense that it is challenging to sit through an entire album of theirs given the length of them and the screeching vocal style can wear on some listeners. So it is reasonable to conclude in this analysis that the music of Cradle of Filth is more of an acquired taste that it takes a long time for their music to grow on you. Or you might be one of those metal fans that might cringe even on the mere hearing of these vocals. It takes an experienced music listener plus a real avid metal music fan to be able to tolerate albums that are over an hour long.

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Final Thoughts About a Very Criticized Cradle of Filth Album

Songs 9-12 are classified as “Sewer Side Up.” This “section” of the album begins with an instrumental song called “The Mordant Liquor of Tears.” It has been a pattern of this band to have somewhat exotic titles for these instrumentals. This one has a beautiful choir like or opera like chant to it and you can hear the orchestration in it clearly. The stylistic difference that is present in Damnation and a Day compared to their earlier releases is the classical and or opera like nature to the album as opposed to just extreme black metal with pounding double bass drums. One example of this is in the song “Presents From the Poison-Hearted.” The other thing that we will analyze here is that Genesis is actually one of the books in the Bible and that time period discusses the origin of human life. As the dialogue part in the last track called “The End of Daze” discusses, the Earth was without form and it was void and it was in darkness at the beginning. Is Damnation and a Day Cradle of Filth’s best mid-career album? Perhaps it is because it is a more varied and mature release compared to 1991 through 2000.

© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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