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Moonspell - Irreligious review

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Band: Moonspell
Album: Irreligious
Release date: July 1996

01. Perverse... Almost Religious
02. Opium
03. Awake
04. For A Taste Of Eternity
05. Ruin & Misery
06. A Poisoned Gift
07. Subversion
08. Raven Claws
09. Mephisto
10. Herr Spiegelmann
11. Full Moon Madness

When I think about depressive melodies, the first country that comes to my mind is surely not Portugal. However, this gothic/doom metal band called Moonspell is from Portugal and these musicians show once again that metal is a worldwide music. 1996's Irreligious was released one year after Wolfheart and from the first note, it's easy to hear the difference between these two albums [from black to gothic metal]. This time, Fernando Ribeiro [the singer] sings as he never managed [or tried?] to do before. But more than his voice, this album just amazes me due to the [insane] beauty exhaled by the songs.

'Perverse... Almost Religious' is a short - religious - instrumental introduction for one of the highlights of the album, 'Opium', which was the single for Irreligious. Fernando Ribeiro alternates tenor vocals with death-like screams with talent, and at first, I must say that it's very surprising! The bass lines are incredibly powerful and that unique song is worth any other previous effort from the band. But the surprise is even bigger when you understand that Irreligious is made as a concept album: all the songs are perfectly musically linked. 'For a Taste of Eternity' and 'Ruin & Misery' have everything to be one of the weirdest couple of songs I've ever heard. I mean, this album has that insane gothic atmosphere and in the same time it has powerful melodies with both angelic and death lines. That's something very strange, but so delightful!
While you are totally caught by the spirit of the album, 'A Poisoned Gift' pushes again the limits of perversion and it's not the woman screaming at the beginning of the song that would help you to feel safer. In my opinion, that song is one of the best Moonspell's compositions ever [along with 'Opium'].

Before the insane grand final, you could be astonished by the track called 'Raven Claws'. This song sounds like something totally new on Irreligious. This is due to the fact that Fernando Ribeiro is handling vocals with a female singer and the result is mind-blowing! 'Raven Claws' is something else on this album. The kind of songs really unorthodox... but still really refreshing [especially lyrically speaking]. Finally, the last three tracks ['Mephisto', 'Herr Spiegelmann' and 'Full Moon Madness'] would drive you into the strange world of Moonspell: a darken universe full of sorrowful souls.

Moonspell's Irreligious is definitely a gift to melancholy. Each track is worth listening to. Unfortunately, the band will never manage to produce another album in the same 'spirit' as Irreligious despite a whole bunch of good albums, but in slightly different styles each time. But as Fernando Ribeiro likes to say, music was created to evolve and Moonspell is always creating with that in mind.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 8

Written on 22.09.2003 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.


Comments: 12   Visited by: 161 users
16.05.2008 - 07:34
Liver Failure
good album, great vocals (portuguese parts include ) ... the nice atmosphere and spirit of ''Under the moonspell'' didnt fade at all.

member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
16.05.2008 - 19:46
Rating: 9
This is one of their best albums, if not the best. A lot of Moonspell fans would consider this their peak. I like that it is so dark and well thought out. The lyrics were always good in Moonspell, Ribeiro is a great lyricist.

Its a classic Moonspell record, with classical songs like "Awake", "Mephisto", "Opium" and "Full Moon Madness", those being my favourites as well.
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.

My Instagram
19.06.2008 - 11:53
Rating: 9
This review is so great and it fits on Moonspell's great album, Irreligious. as the reviewer mentioned about last three songs of the album, I must say those songs are amazing.
I didn't expect, after Wolfheart and Under The Moonspell, Moonspell release a Gothic/Doom Metal album, but they did it well, I respect "Awake" as one of the best slow songs in Metal genre in all time.
What this album has, is the great lyrics. Mephisto and Opium and Awake are good examples of great lyrics.
19.08.2008 - 17:30
Perpetual Ascent
Excellent album indeed! I was presented to Moonspell with "Opium" and since then my interest for Moonspell was always increasing. Now, i know almost all of their work (almost because "The Butterfly Effect" didn't please me). All musics from "Irreligious" are great in their own way but i have some favorites:
Opium, Mephisto, Raven Claws and Full Moon Madness (which i think that is their "trademark" nowadays).
27.01.2009 - 00:02
Rating: 10

As the sucessor of Wolfheart this album dont disappoint at all. Very good work here.
09.06.2009 - 18:30
Rating: 9

Pretty good I must say.... Opium kind of sucks, but Full Moon Madness, Ruin And Misery, Mephisto and some other are amaizing. My top 5 on the album:
5. Raven Claws
4. Ruin and Misery
3. Mephisto
2. Herr Spiegelman (how come this one is so overlooked? It's bloody brilliant!)
1. .................FULLMOON MADNESS (this one alone is worth the entire album)
21.02.2010 - 06:19
Rating: 10

Full Moon Madness is pure beauty in music..

Long Live to Moonspell
Beware the Shadows of Dusk
11.10.2010 - 07:52
Rating: 9

A classic album from start to finish , but Awake , Mephisto And Fullmoon Madness are the best in album , and maybe their discography .
26.01.2014 - 11:28
Rating: 10
The Melting Snow

Full Moon Madness is what introduced me to Moonspell, and at that time I wasn't even a fan of Gothic Metal.

It is instrumentally so beautiful, haunting and complete. The Guitar solo alone makes the song worth listening to. Masterpiece.
05.10.2017 - 17:54
et tal y cual

Written by Unconsecrated on 19.08.2008 at 17:30

Excellent album indeed! I was presented to Moonspell with "Opium" and since then my interest for Moonspell was always increasing. Now, i know almost all of their work (almost because "The Butterfly Effect" didn't please me). All musics from "Irreligious" are great in their own way but i have some favorites:
Opium, Mephisto, Raven Claws and Full Moon Madness (which i think that is their "trademark" nowadays).

what i find interesting besides the music itself is the fact that (if i consider the few albums from that band i know) each album is different and offers an evolution, quite diverse and complete discography, instead of repeating a sort of formula or simply repeating the same music album after album.
for example, "The Butterfly Effect" is completely different from previous records and from most of the musical registers of the previous albums.
if you consider "Irreligious" and "The Butterfly Effect" for example, these albums are very complementary, from certain accessible musics, and even hits ("Opium" and "Raven Claws" for example, and the woman who sings makes the song very catchy and accessible, and the global dynamic and energy) present on "Irreligious" (certain musics could be on TV or on the radio without any "problem" or without being considered as difficult to listen to, complicated or whatever) to the experimental and unexpected atmospheres of "The Butterfly Effect" (even if "Irreligious" was already quite unexpected and different from the previous one, so in a different way compared to "The Butterfly Effect". cold production, industrial and mechanical sounds, darkwave, ambient, percussions and jazz, even classical music through a sample and different vocals, "The Butterfly Effect" is particularly original, even if i understand the reaction of certain persons and metal heads.
another interesting point about that band i think : the ability to create or evoke certain epochs from the past and other centuries through ambiances, percussions, keyboards, backgroung sounds, etc (the introduction of "Irreligious" for example, among many examples and musics possible if you consider that band). like a sort of artistic reconstitution of certain epochs and ambiances, with music in that case, and with originality.
and a cinematographic music and artistic ambiances while expressing a soul and music with character.
so definitely a diverse and complete music.
and these tribal ambiances, with percussions, drums and other elements.
09.06.2021 - 04:04
Rating: 9

Another amazing release, for sure a great successor to their debut álbum "WolfHeart".

It has some of the greatest classics of the band.
09.06.2021 - 10:29
Rating: 8
A Nice Guy
I prefer Wolfheart overall, but this album is still a good one, and the song Full Moon Madness is one of the best songs ever written IMO, and has one of the most Majestic guitar solo's too.

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