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Moonspell - Extinct review

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Band: Moonspell
Album: Extinct
Release date: March 2015

01. Breathe (Until We Are No More)
02. Extinct
03. Medusalem
04. Domina
05. The Last Of Us
06. Funeral Bloom
07. A Dying Breed
08. Malignia
09. The Future Is Dark
10. La Baphomette
11. Until We Are No Less [bonus]
12. Doomina [bonus]
13. Last Of Them [bonus]
14. The Past Is Darker [bonus]

I figured Extinct to be one of those albums that offer instant gratification; you know, the one that gets you smiling when you listen to it the first time around, evoking the same emotions over and over on each subsequent visit. Because this album is actually almost that good. But the more I listen to it, the less I can figure out and pinpoint that little something that rubs me the wrong way.

What I like about Extinct is that, to some extent, it's a blend of Alpha Noir and Omega White. That pair split Moonspell's sound into two contrasting camps, the heavier black metal side and the more melodic gothic side. Pick one, they said. Extinct presents Moonspell the way I've always figured them to sound best - a balanced blend, and not an opposition of the contrasts. They are good at both, so why neglect one or the other, as they've done from time to time? Extinct only goes to show that a blend still works in their favour.

Another thing I like about Extinct is the almost sublime use of strings and orchestrations, and particularly violins. In "Breathe" and "Extinct" they just steal the moment. In general, orchestrations are dime a dozen in metal; it's a norm as often as not. To pull it off in a way that is complementary rather than intrusive or forgettable is a feat these days. I admire the as needed approach taken on the album, orchestration often being icing on the cake on the underlying riffs or a counterpoint to Ricardo's excellent guitar melodies and solos. The man has rightfully been given room to shine this time around.

What I find somewhat confusing, is the bonus content. The additional four songs are cleverly titled alternative versions of the ones included in the main part of the album. Thus we get 14 tracks in total of which 8 make up pairs. The alternatives are not particularly better or worse, just different to various degrees. The end result, though, is that if you listen to it all in one take you're getting way too much repetition, watering the essential sound of the album down quite a bit. Although I like the alternatives, it feels as if the band themselves couldn't make up their mind which to choose. I think less is more this time.

The diluting effect of bonuses may well account for a somewhat diminished feeling of the impact the album has on me. Alpha Noir and Omega White both were concise in this regard. On the other hand, I prefer how Extinct sounds on the whole, as no component of the whole completely overpowers any other. Thus vocals, guitars, keys and orchestrations balance well together on the rhythm section. The end result is lighter in feeling as well as somewhat less intrusive in its twists and turns than some of the previous albums. As I said, all in all it's not just a good album, it's a very good album in proper doses.

Written on 23.03.2015 by I shoot people.

Sometimes, I also write about it.

And one day I'm going to start a band. We're going to be playing pun-rock.


Comments: 11   Visited by: 405 users
23.03.2015 - 15:05
Dark Phoenix
I fell head over heels for Extinct. Not only the impact of Alpha Noir/Omega White, but the transcendental lucidity of Memorial, the rawness of their earlier albums and eerie compositions of Darkness And Hope, which intertwine so gently, yet in an edgy manner, got me completely overwhelmed. The whole album is just one seemingly endless vojyage through so many well known, but newly shaped soundscapes and they completely hit the spot by putting "Breathe" as an opener - a song so dense, intense and well equlibrated with all the Moonspell-ish features in one. Have to point out "Domina" as well, which instantly became one of my favourite Moonspell songs, because I haven't felt that distinguished romantic atmosphere in any of their songs for ages. Even "The Last Of Us", which I firstly found quite awry, shined in a completely different light entwined in the album dynamics. And what surprised me the most is as my expectations were swaying all the time, not knowing what to expect actually, was one hell of an album. 2015 seem to be a great year for some long-running, well-established musicians/bands, who redefined themselves. Extinct is one of those albums that will remain as sharp as they are now even when years will pass by, regardless of time and genre.

Great review Ivor.
You think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it. Molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was a man. But it was nothing to me but blinding.
23.03.2015 - 16:33
Rating: 9

I love this album!!!
23.03.2015 - 16:48

The review is great and I had almost the same thoughts as Ivor when I first listened to it, although I couldn't pinpoint them as well he did.
Nevertheless this is a another very good album by Moonspell.
23.03.2015 - 16:59
Rating: 7
Ag Fox
Angel No More
I feel exactly the same about the bonuses! Seriously... it ruined my whole impression for me >.>
loves 小巫
23.03.2015 - 17:22
Rating: 7

Its another nice album by Moonspell (never going in the same direction twice, exception for Night Eternal), but it kind of gets repetitive fast
24.03.2015 - 10:24
Rating: 8

Good review. Also I still prefer Alpha Noir and Omega White, this is an enjoyable album. But the bonus were really not necessary and they indeed dilute the content. No words on the cover?
24.03.2015 - 12:34
Rating: 9
Anyone else thinks "Funeral Bloom" sounds like Love Like Blood?

It's funny because Extinct reminds me of those gothic bands I used to listen to years ago and Type O Negative too. It is very much geared toward the gothic again and Moonspell do it so well, I think.

Great review Ivor and I very much agree with this: "almost sublime use of strings and orchestrations". I think it gives the album an extra oomph.

I've listened to this a lot and I'm really loving it even more than Alpha/Omega. Moonspell continue to release interesting material after so many years.
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.

My Instagram
24.03.2015 - 17:41
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Ivor was written ''when you listen to it the first time around, ''

when you put it 1th time on you don't want turn it of, spin million times, its like best album, usually band make opening ones so good
I hear The 69 Eyes here, but its damn good even my fav song always will be Opium , I hear here MBM and gothic, good gothic not todays symho, prog sound where are female chick in fron and that's why we say gothic, since she has red lips and gothic dress,,, its real good gothic what I like
I wont go into future but it might be best album in 2015? Top 3 no doubt and best in a genre
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
07.04.2015 - 12:00

As I read in a Dutch interview, the album was influenced by the death of Peter Steele. It seems this album is a bit of a tribute to Steele's Voice and bands like Love Like Blood, Depeche Mode, ...

At the moment, disregarding Wolfheart and Irreligeous (because they were one of the first cd's ever for me, too much sentimental value), this is my favorite Moonspell sound. Exactly the right amount of harsh vocals at exactly the right time.
21.04.2015 - 10:13
Rating: 9

I tried to get into Moonspell a few times before as this name popped here and there in metal forums, yet I couldn't get into it. But I'm really in love with Extinct ! MY fave tracks being "Breathe" and "The future is dark". I wish some tracks sounded more like "Breath" which is a killer opening tho.
21.09.2015 - 17:53
Rating: 9
Jericho Rehling

For some reason I expected to not like this album much, but I do. I really really do. I think it is their best since Irreligious.

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