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Moonspell - Memorial review

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Band: Moonspell
Album: Memorial
Release date: April 2006

Disc I [CD]
01. In Memoriam
02. Finisterra
03. Memento Mori
04. Sons Of Earth
05. Blood Tells
06. Upon The Blood Of Men
07. At The Image Of Pain
08. Sanguine
09. Proliferation
10. Once It Was Ours!
11. Mare Nostrum
12. Luna
13. Best Forgotten
14. Atlantic [Special Luxury Digipak bonus]
15. Phantom North [Portuguese bonus]

Disc II [DVD]
01. Memento Mori [Live at CC estúdio 2]
02. Blood Tells [Live at CC estúdio 2]
03. Best Forgotten [Live at CC estúdio 2]
04. In Memoriam [Live at Vilar de Mouros Festival]
05. Finisterra [Live at Vilar de Mouros Festival]
06. Memento Mori [Live at Vilar de Mouros Festival]
07. Blood Tells [Live at Vilar de Mouros Festival]
08. Proliferation [Live at Vilar de Mouros Festival]
09. Upon The Blood of Men [Live at Vilar de Mouros Festival]
+ Finisterra [video]
+ Luna [video]
+ Making Of Finisterra [video]

The previous year at the live show of Moonspell I was there, in the front line, shouting from time to time "Tenebrarum Oratorium", someone laughed, but Moonspell had kept this song as final, I conceived this live interpretation of this great song as a birthday present because at that very day I was celebrating my 20th birthday and I gave it all during the song. I remember Fernando Ribeiro had introduced this song as a new one, I didn't get the meaning back then since it was a composition coming from their "Under The Moonspell" days, but from the very first moment "Memorial" started unleashing its nocturnal melodies the night sky became too clear, only the spell of the moon could be cast upon us and the perfume of memories from the past was alluring the atmosphere.

What happened when Ribeiro and his unearthly companions remembered "Under The Moonspell"? What happened when they used their maturity, nowadays' production, fabulous new ideas and desire for something new expressed through memories of their first days as a band? The answers lie deep in the soundscapes of "Memorial", the new Moonspell manifestation that seems to be one of their most mature, complete and inspired works up to date!

The aesthetic of the album is unearthly, menacing, sometimes terrifying, sometimes eloquent, a decaying gothic feeling is always present and by saying this I mean that there's always a sense of morbid beauty present in the soundscapes of "Memorial". As you might have guessed correctly the sense of black metal, with death metal passages, is intense in Moonspell's new attempt, as far as Black metal Moonspell can get of course, this album is raging, like a relentless storm that is not willing to cease flowing, yet offering some poetically composed moments/songs of calm to cleanse the soul of the listener, only for a while, because the storm takes its toll once again.

The guitar riffing is superb, the one great riff comes right after the other, the guitar sound is raw and powerful, pinning the listener to the ground, showing that these eerie figures from Portugal have a lot of potential left inside the corridors of their souls to darken the world. The solos that appear from time to time are utterly inspired and make the guitar work more affected for sure and add another sense to the compositions. The rhythm section is dynamic and imposing, the nocturnal pulses of the bass lines float like wraiths in the horizon whereas the bombastic drumming tortures your frail body. The keyboard melodies are almost lurking in the background, yet always remaining distinctive, echoing like a female vampire's lament under the silent stare of the full moon, whereas some eerie orchestrations escalate the emotional charge of the compositions.

When the time comes to refer to Fernando Ribeiro's interpretation on "Memorial" I really don't have a lot to say, he sounds so flawless, so powerful, so bestial, so unearthly! His howling vocals in his renowned unique accent haunt the night in a bit different way this time, whereas the not so much clean vocals add something gentle yet eerie still in the overall atmosphere of "Memorial". A nice addition has to be the female vocals on "Luna" that blossom like a black rose on the shores of the moon. Some oriental melodies have returned and this is something very positive and I shouldn't skip to mention that some ideas come straight from the Portugese traditional music bringing forth a sense of nostalgia.

As for highlights I think the album is a goddamn highlight itself, it flows definitely as one, as a nightmare to adorn in a sinister way your nighttime. If you're craving though for some highlights I shouldn't skip to mention to mention the raging "Finisterra", the lyrical "Memento Mori" (the guitars are loading and loading and loading in the beginning and then all hell breaks loose!), the instrumentals of poetic beauty "Sons Of Earth" and "Mare Nostrum", the affected and inspired for their own reasons each one of them "Luna" and "Best Forgotten" etc.

Moonspell proved that all this time we had to wait for a new album was worth-waiting for they composed and offered to humanity a ground-shaking album that has the power to let everlasting night reign supreme!

Written on 26.04.2006 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."

Staff review by
Dream Taster
The spell of the dark moon is back. Portugal's number one act returns with the anticipated "Memorial". An old fan of the band like me knows that Moonspell's motto is evolution. Thus, not two albums from them sound the same. Follow-up to 2005's "The Antidote" - which had taken a more direct approach to their music - this year's album definitely harbors the darker side of it, which will regroup fans of their darker period with enthusiasts of their more recent albums.

published 26.04.2006 | Comments (1)

Staff review by
One day your favourite band decides to change its music. They always get some new fans of course but in general the whiners win if you see what I mean and anyway I don't remember a lot combos that found an impressive success with their "new" musical orientation. Moonspell did that change too after two monumental albums, Wolfheart and Irreligious. With Sin/Pecado, the band did a radical turnover and it didn't convince me. However, they said lately that they wanted to do a real come back to their roots with their new album "Memorial". A lot of bands do that and you probably know that it is just words in general, so I was a bit doubtful. But I came the other day on their website and had the luck to listen to the sample of "Finisterra" and God it was right, at least for this song, Moonspell was back to their beginning and now that I have the album in my hand I can confirm that "Memorial" is a great album? welcome back Moonspell?

published 26.04.2006 | Comments (0)

Guest review by
Memorial starts off with the good ole' Moonspell feeling through an instrumental track In Memorial, but once the second track Finisterra kicks in, one can be amazed how brutal it sounds compared to their earlier work. I have heard people compare this album to Daemonarch's Hermeticum and I can see why. The album definitely has a more brutal approach and has quite a few resemblances to Wolfheart and Hermeticum, even bordering black metal at times.

published 30.05.2006 | Comments (6)

Guest review by
I can't help starting this review by stating how disappointing 2006 has been so far for me. I've been trying, I've been trying to find some really great new albums and bands but, I don't know, maybe I've just listened to so much Metal in my life that it just doesn't surprised me as much as it used to. That or maybe there really hasn't been released any truly impressive album since January.

published 27.08.2006 | Comments (12)

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