Moonspell - Extinct review
|Release date:||March 2015|
01. Breathe (Until We Are No More)
05. The Last Of Us
06. Funeral Bloom
07. A Dying Breed
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
Sometimes, I also write about it.
And one day I'm going to start a band. We're going to be playing pun-rock.
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