It's clear, from listening to Damnation, that Cradle of Filth heard and understood. The band's sixth LP, which features an orchestra and choir, turns black metal into grand opera, while retaining the speed, power, and ferocity of the underground. These songs may be bolstered by strings and massed voices, but they're built around grinding, Slayer-like guitar riffs and lightning-speed avalanches of drums. The album's mix of melody and savagery is pitch-perfect. For a band that's seemed overrated, even silly, in the past, Damnation and a Day is a total artistic triumph.