"Night Eternal" (SPV; 2008)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Thanks in part to exceptional production by metal guru Tue Madsen, Portuguese metal giants Moonspell have struck the perfect balance of clarity and brutality on their latest endeavor, "Night Eternal."

This nine-track descent into darkness yields an intense ride chock full of dastardly black metal chord progressions, ethereal Gothic rock passages, and the authentic warmongering spirit of bands ranging from Celtic Frost to Dimmu Borgir on tracks such as "First Light" and "Shadow Sun."

Add in the trademark venomous vocal delivery, whose scornful array of evil highlighted on tracks such as "Moon in Her Mercury" fits beautifully with the blackened melodies, and this veteran act's latest metallic maelstrom is a must have for those entrenched in the catacombs of despair. 

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"Under Satanae" (SPV; 2007)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I loved Moonspell’s return to the black metal style as evidenced on “Memorial” which was released in 2006. Moonspell seemed to be energized by those recordings – and the decision to re-record their earliest work appears to be borne from that same energy. “Under Satanae” is the result of that decision.

“Under Satanae” features re-recordings of all the material that was made prior to the stunning “Wolfheart.” The disc features the underground classic “Under the Moonspell” (the band’s official debut), the band’s original demo tape “Anno Satanae,” and the only song ever recorded by Morbid God (the precursor to Moonspell).

What’s old is new again – really new, in fact. All the tracks featured on “Under Satanae” have been rearranged for maximum impact. By all appearances, Moonspell have merged the bravado of their youth with the lessons learned as a consistent touring/recording act over the last 15 years. And it works – this veteran act has really done a phenomenal job refocusing their oldest material through the lens of experience.

The enthusiasm for the project really shines through on every track.  Every song on “Under Satanae” bristles with primeval force. Throughout the album one can hear the band’s initial influences that remain in the re-recordings and played such a huge part in “Wolfheart” and “Irregligious.” Bottom line: this is a killer recording.

“Under Satanae” is essential for fans of early Moonspell and fans of black metal in general.

“Under Satanae” was produced by Moonspell and Tue Madsen.

Moonspell is Langsuyar on vocals, Morning Blade on guitar, Passions on keyboards, Ahriman on bass, and Nisroth on drums.

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"Memorial" (SPV; 2006)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Portuguese Goth metallers Moonspell return with "Memorial," a 13-track album laden with the darkened atmosphere and ethereal vibes you'd expect from this unit. 

Moving in a slightly more ominous direction, songs like the closer, "Best Forgotten," display the type of callous vocals and foreboding song structures which figure prominently throughout the disc. Surprisingly though, despite the band turning up the heavier nuances and delving into near black metal territories, the energy levels of the music rarely wane. 

From the unabashedly heavy "Finisterra," the eerily acoustic ringings of "Mare Nostrum" and "Sons of Earth," and the oppressive twinges of "Luna," this veteran quartet succeed in retaining its somber side with majestic grace. Intertwining a consistent barrage of gloom and doom with an amplified array of menacing metal in the forefront, Moonspell's seventh release finds the band revisiting its apocalyptic scope it let stay dormant for so long with excellent results.

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"The Butterfly Effect" (Century Media; 1999)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Portugal's shining stars Moonspell have assumed a harsher, more industrial stance with "The Butterfly Effect." A fitting word to describe "The Butterfly Effect" would be challenging - as in challenging the very conventions of metal. The disc is equal parts physical and ethereal - this is a mind-bending workout.

"The Butterfly Effect" is the expansive and explosive sound of a band pushing not only their idea of music but pushing the boundaries of metal to fit their adventurous spirit. The listener must drop their guard to get the full effect of Moonspell's notion of metal. Undoubtedly, Moonspell's openness to expanding their collective creative approach gives the band its strength and source of power.

Wonderfully paced and expertly produced, "The Butterfly Effect" is a remarkable achievement. "The Butterfly Effect" is an exceptional work of art like the blossoming and beautiful butterfly escaping from a constricting cocoon. An extensive palette of emotions fleshes out the ambiguous intentions of Moonspell's creative force. The music is punctuated with staggering musical spikes.

"Soulsick" is a flame thrower of terse beats and musical shrapnel. The desperate mayhem heard on "Lustmord" is unlike anything I've heard since Samael's "Passage." The extreme disorder of "Selfabuse" isn't too far behind on the mayhem scale, too.

Pink Floyd influences and other atmospheric elements lend reinforcement to the band's protean development. With magnetic attraction "I Am The Eternal Spectator" shows the band's gothic vocals and trippy feel. The entrancing, hypnotic vibes of "Disappear Here" and "Adaptables" have an echo-like alternative ring to them. The epic "K" is split into halves with the first half being dreamy and sweet while the second half is an apocalyptic terror song.

The vocals range from sweet ("Can't Bee") to a deep timbre ("Disappear Hear") to harsh ("Soulitary Vice") - Fernado Ribeiro gives new meaning to the word 'versatile' - he can do it all: scream, whisper, sing, buzz, croon, and shout with the best. Ribeiro is a vocal talent not to be missed.

For lack of a better term, Moonspell may be the best example of the darkwave movement - however, this style doesn't seem forced, but rather a natural extension of the band's collective strengths. Moonspell's fusion of Gothic metal, industrial, and atmospheric death is a treat for the ears.

"The Butterfly Effect" was produced by Andy Reilly (Bruce Dickinson, UFO).

Moonspell are Fernado Ribeiro on vocals, Mike Gaspar on drums, Ricardo Amorim on guitars, Sergio Crestana on bass, and Pedro Paixio on synths and samplers.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.