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It’s nigh impossible to find good gothic music, especially on the metallic side of things. Now, granted, I suppose being “gothic” is different now than it was when I was a lad (the 90s, back when things made a hell of a lot more sense in more ways than one), and as such “gothic” music is a different entity, but the burdens of time prove detrimental in this inasmuch as it does all other factors of life. The Marilyn Manson angst was replaced with moody Heartagram worship, which in turn was replaced with “Twilight” obsessions, all of whom, in turn, perverted the likes of Cradle of Filth and Type O Negative like so many second-hand bong hits, and…*ahem*…well, as you can see, it’s quite the devolutionary pratfall. And as such, finding good “gothic” music, is, well, like I’d said, nigh impossible to do.
That was put to the test when dealing with their latest…
What makes Moonspell’s gothic metallic leanings that much more palatable on my end is that they don’t beat you over the head with spiked bracelets and dripping eye-liner. Much like CoF before them, MOONSPELL use a black metal foundation to keep things nice and brutal while branching off into those Hot Topicky realms in a more sophisticated manner. That helped their later works become necessary listens no matter which side of the depressive spectrum you reside on, and when it comes to “Night Eternal”, that sensation helped makes it as good a listen as it is. The Type O Negative-like graveyard-dwelling darkness acts as a nice augmentation to the harsh metallic nastiness rather than a distraction, and that coupled musical duo wraps around the listener like a slowly closing fist. There’s plenty to enjoy, even for the more casual listener, where the midnighty melodies and head-banging elements seem more than enough to satisfy in terms of ability and being able to fit with one another like so many fittable puzzle pieces. For what it’s worth, the central scheme of things is more on the metallic end, more “The Antidote” than “2econd Skin”, in which twisted yet melodic guitar riffs/leads, creepy keyboard lines, punishing drum bashing and monstrous roaring/serene singing straddle that fine line between accessibility and the original evil heaviness as well as a group of their caliber can. In all my bitter honesty, this is a very solid product, a fine example of the kind of metal that should be taken and enjoyed in their era of -core bullshit, where one can (and should) jump through the crushing likes of “Night Eternal” and “Moon in Mercury” as well as the more soothing tracks like “Scorpion Flower” and “Dreamless (Lucifer and Lilith)” with the greatest of ease and enjoyment. Raging and emotional. And damn fine.
In the end, “Night Eternal” is the impressive solidification of what makes Moonspell as great as they are. While this may or may not appeal to their older-generation-type fans, this should still be enjoyed for what it is. Recommended.
After a steady progression into gothic rock during their mid-career period (which produced some excellent results, I might add), Moonspell have returned to their roots. Recent albums like The Antidote and Memorial have embraced the harsher climes of the band's early work Wolfheart, but with a touch more death metal feel. Night Eternal continues this spiral, yet thankfully doesn't neglect the atmospheric grace of those middle years.
The album begins with the scorching "At Tragic Heights", a real fist pounder drenched in Fernando's unmistakable black/death barking. The leash is off. "Night Eternal" has a little more mystique to it, and I really enjoyed how they took a simple death metal riff and doused it in dark atmosphere. A little less heavy, "Shadow Sun" has a creepy gothic tinge to it, with sexy whispered vocals, then a rocking out chorus riff which then finally erupts into a section similar to the first tune. "Scorpion Flower" is more of a straight up gothic metal track with dual male/female vocals, the latter of which I might be able to do without. But this doesn't last, for "Moon in Mercury" is right back to the aggressive style dominating much of the album. Perhaps the most glorious track is "Hers is the Twilight" with that great, simple guitar line as the chorus picks up, and an atmosphere that reminds me of the band's third album Irreligious.
The result of all this is one of the best and most intriguing Moonspell albums to date, though I still hold that The Butterfly Effect was their masterpiece (and I may be one of the few people on Earth to think that way). They've never quite released a bad album, but if you've been waiting for these guys to get heavy again, this is the best effort of that return to date. Worthy of gothic metal afficionados, especially if you value good lyrics, which writer Ribeiro excels in
'A revelation with every cut:
Infidel to all creeds
Breaker of all vows
Enemy of happy ends
Confident of the dead'
For a lot of individuals, Night Eternal managed to slip undetected through the radar. However, Moonspell have pulled out all the stops on this release and have put together what can only be summed up as the best CD of their career, or possibly even CD of the year.
With this one, the band has adorned a more in your face musical style. Night Eternal holds a much heavier, more death metal musical sound as compared to previous works. There simply is no other way to look at the music, other then it's heavy, and it's in your face. Songs like "Shadow Sun" definitely take moments out for you to breathe and for the vocalist to sing a little bit, but not much, whereas songs like "At Tragic Heights" and "Night Eternal" will simply crush your skull repeatedly until you give in and start moshing in your own bedroom, and thensome.
While many of the songs that make up this release are the most aggressive the band has ever done, there are some slower songs that fall in the typical Moonspell staple sound. Songs like "Scorpion Flower" and "Dreamless (Lucifer And Lilith)" show that the band has not forgotten how to make songs that can sound beautiful as well. The beautiful female vocal accompanyment in the songs also helps out to make them stand out on this release.
Really, there isn't a single thing wrong with this album. The production is superb, the music is excellent, and while some tracks jump from slow and melodic to faster and aggressive, it works perfectly with the music. The only problem with this disc is that, after a while, the track "Hers Is The Twilight" might become a little boring as the end approaches. But, other then that, the album does not disapoint, and it easily one of the best releases this year, if not the best releaser this year, period.
I suppose a good way to start this review is to say that I've heard two Moonspell albums: Wolfheart and The Butterfly Effect. Obviously, I was enthralled by Wolfheart and was hoping something similar when I picked up Butterfly. Shit, was I wrong. Since then I've had no reason whatsoever to look into their back catalog of albums or seek new releases as I didn't like what I was hearing (reading). Enter anno 2008 and here I am reading better things. And for once, actually HEARING better things.
All the Goth touches, albeit female vocals, have been left behind (hopefully in a blood-stained heap) for a jugular-slicing advance of the mystical hey-day of Wolfheart, but with even more gusto. Langsuyar and his band of merry men (and women) have put together a savage album that definitely goes against any misconceptions I had.
Possessing a heavy tone wrought with staccato riffing and excellent drum work, this sits on the fence of progressive and blackened thrash. The vocals have been lifted out of the fondue and sound more relaxed and natural. The ballad-y 'Dreamless' is a perfect example of this.
Free of Opethian enthusiasm as a means to reach wider audiences, the album exudes a level of maturity not found in those 'goth' circles. Can we even consider them for that category any more?
Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you about one of the most shocking things ever: Moonspell has officially been led astray. Indeed, there is no doubting “Night Eternal” causes gawking gazes when flung amongst the other incantations we’ve been exposed to, as experts and fans alike are baffled by its massive unoriginality; I’ve heard this enchantment before, and so have you. Essentially, our little estrangement acts unusually generic in most areas, setting off several alarms of indulging upon one’s own body, much like stuck-up vanity, which is the name of the game here. While normally entertaining and dynamic, “Night Eternal” eclipses over all that goodness previously spawned from godly spoonfuls like “Wolfheart,” and fundamentally rapes what we’ve grown to love from the spell’s not-so-eternal blessing.
Moonspell is clearly a band that has no struggles forging many obscure sounds into one hardy base, but “Night Eternal” represents their ultimate failure at connecting such influences, which can be heard by nearly every presented performance. Tremolo pick after tremolo pick, I can feel my spirit knowing every guitar note like I’ve heard it before, but that is not the case. I’m no clairvoyant, therefore, it’s obviously predictable poop; a few good riffs here and there, yet nothing shoot-your-load worthy. Also, bland verse-chorus-end formulas plague each tune like a cold in your work place, not to mention they never push their stupid simplicity away for something better. The final conclusion: just mediocre self-worshiping throughout. Uncle Fernando still sounds fantastic as expected, but he certainly cannot aid these remaining full-grown men in battle; this isn’t Halo 3, you twats!
Truth is, there really aren’t any vomit-inducing moments, yet a few instances get terribly close. For example, the title track is pretty much a typical tune you’d expect from these guys, now including a revolution around chorus-orientation, instrumental bridges that cause sleepiness, and generally bad performances on every perimeter. Of course, one bad egg can’t spoil the whole omelet, but when seven of the nine eggs appear rundown from molesting simplicity and avoiding poetic springs, you can expect a little chat with the chef, if you know what I mean. Case in point, a good song once every twenty minutes or so, and the rest just seems too bland for its own good. Things are looking grim, folks.
After indulging myself in "Night Eternal," I’m left wondering a few things: what happened to my Moonspell? Where’s the artistic edge that drove "Wolfheart" straight into golden pastures? How come there’s such a lack of intensity, as compared to releases like "Under Satanae" that applied it throughout? Why did they utilize minimal effort instead of actually attacking their typical excellence? Simply put, there are just too many problems with “Night Eternal” on so many levels, and it’s painfully clear that Moonspell has officially lost its way; a fate this great band had easily dodged countless times throughout their early days, experimentation, and a risky combination of both. Overall, there’s no magic left in the spell, and the night eternally pours upon Portugal’s faction like a never-ending storm, so only dive in if you have hope; everyone else should calmly avoid this curse.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
It’s hard to follow up a great first couple of efforts. Sometimes the sequel(s) fail to match the predecessor. There’s a flip side that I’m experiencing lately though, with bands who I previously thought of as having jumped the shark managing to capture the magic and spirit of their previous releases, with something quite different than youthful exuberance.
When I heard “The Antidote”, I knew Moonspell had captured a lot of that magic in an album that was quite a bit lighter than what I’m used to hearing from them. There were a lot of slow passages and mostly clean singing on that effort, so you’d most likely expect follow up to either follow suit or continue to lighten up in order to progress further, as is the case with many bands who tinker so much with feathery moments in such heavy music. That of course is not the case, as not only is “Night Eternal” more powerful with sawing guitars, double-bass drum pounding and Fernando Ribeiro’s harsh roar are coupled with busy epic passages and an motional heaviness.
Moonspell of course practically stand on their own with goth metal that has the kind romantic flair you could only get from Portugal. Sure it does tend to sound like themselves throughout their career up to now without really actually pushing forward very much, but there’s just so much passion pouring off the damn thing it’s not hard to be sucked in.
Originally posted at www.waytooloud.com
Ever since Moonspell got away from their black metal style they've really come into a zone. First releasing the absolutely dynamic "The Antidote" quite possibly one of the best concept albums of all time. Fallowing that up with Memorial which proved even more that Moonspell is a band that is unique while still sounding heavy and melodic at the same time.
Now with their second full length on SPV they bring us "Night Eternal"with all of Moonspells' albums I never pass up the opportunity to listen to their latest albums as they have not disappointed me yet. This album is of course no exception.
What really grabbed me about this album is the diversity. Fernando blends a beautiful mix of raspy growls, whispers, haunting clean vocals and has help from beautiful female vocals on a track or two. The riffing is flawless. Each riff used is memorable and is accompanied by smooth rhythmic drumming, and catchy bass lines. Of course, we can't leave out the keyboards they are a nice touch on this album really adding a great atmospheric element.
Night Eternal is easily the dark horse for the best album of 2008. Anyone who was a fan of the Antidote or Memorial will surely enjoy this album as well. Nothing short of top notch work from a top notch band.
Memorial was some kind of a turning point to Moonspell; on the records released before Memorial (and after Irreligious), they were playing a musical style very similar to traditional gothic metal, with the use of some female vocals here and there and with Fernando Ribeiro using his clean voice more often. Memorial was pretty different, the band adopting a straight-forward, death metal-influenced, sound; its songs basically followed similar structures, there was a tremendous emphasis on the choruses and on the growls of Ribeiro. The riffs were more aggressive and same thing with the drums, (lots of double-bass, fast fills, etc).
Night Eternal is in the same vein of its predecessor, Moonspell delivering yet again an aggressive record with a very raw and hostile atmosphere.
Perhaps the only true difference between Memorial and Night Eternal lies in the use of keyboards. The keyboard is a rather nice instrument. If used well it can give a fantastic atmosphere to the album, but if over-used… is a disease, the songs become cheesy and the other instruments lose power and punch. Well, Memorial suffered from that kind of keyboard disease, but thankfully Night Eternal does not. The production is very good too, but it doesn’t give so much importance to the keyboards, since the electric guitar assumes the main role and the drums are more audible especially the bass drums.
About the guitars, Ricardo Amorim is finally allowed to solo more frequently on Night Eternal, which is a improvement since Memorial (and the majority of their other records) suffers from lack of guitar soloing. Here, he fills many of the middle sections of the tracks with tasteful guitar solos, that give a more “metal feel” to the album (where would be metal without guitar solos??!). His riffs are… well, he never was a good “riff-maker”, yet there are some on Night Eternal that are pretty catchy and powerful, the first one on Scorpion Flower is an immediate example. The bass is, yet again, inaudible (oh shit).
Talking about the songs, they are divided into two categories: the more aggressive ones and the more calm ones. The opener, At Tragic Heights, is the only true “new” song of this record; all the other follow the same structures that characterized the band sound over the years, but At Tragic Heights shows Moonspell trying to deliver some kind of a mixture of ambient music with black metal. In the end, it sounds great, being a somewhat scary song (reminding me a bit of the opener track of the atrocious Darkness and Hope) and one of the highligts.
About the others, the more aggressive tunes show the same old death metal influences that marked their other albums, with lots of double bass and raw riffing. The title track, linked musically with At Tragic Heights, is the best aggressive song of this piece, being pretty fast too. However, it features an instrumental part before Fernando starts to sing and if that part was longer, wow, this tune would be now an authentic classic. It's a good song nevertheless, but, as I've already said, it would be even better with longer instrumental parts. Shadow Sun is another good song (got to love that “life is meaningless” part), before we are intoxicated with boring average songs; indeed , besides those two, afore-mentioned, tunes, all the other more aggressive tracks are very similar and forgettable. Sure they have good things, but they are so average at the same time, that it's frustrating. Unfortunately, this same thing happened with Memorial and I’m beginning to think that the band will never release an at least consistent album again.
Scorpion Flower and Dreamless (Lucifer and Lilith) are the two tunes that fall into the calm categorie. The first is the first single out of Night Eternal and it features a female vocalist singing with Fernando. The use of female vocals is a common thing to the band, since they had already made tons of songs featuring them. Anyway, Scorpion Flower is like a logical sucessor of Luna in the categorie of the commercial song of the album; its riffs are softer than the ones on the other tracks and the chorus is pretty catchy. In my opinion, commercality and catchiness, when used well, are excellent ways to add more variety to an album, so I absolutely approve Scorpion Flower. About Dreamless (Lucifer and Lilith (they really had to give this stupid name to the song? Fuck satanic crap, don't you have better subjects to write about instead of Lucifer and his girl?!)), it recalls the Darkness and Hope days, but, in fact, this tune is far FAR better than anything on that album. The chorus is the highlight of the song, a very well written one indeed.
So, is this better than Memorial? No, I don't think so, it lacks the intensity displayed on that album. Nevertheless, it has a couple of good songs, like Night Eternal and Dreamless, so this isn't a complete failure. Despite all of this, I completely lost the hope on Moonspell, I think their next album will be even worst, and the next worst, and the next worst, and so on. This band lacks creativity, one of the most important things in music, so I don't see a bright future to this portuguese act. Worth listening, but if you don't like the band, hardly this piece will make you change your opinion.
Best Moments of the CD:
-the transition of At Tragic Heights to Night Eternal and the multiple double bass parts on the latter.
-the chorus of Scorpion Flower.
-the chorus part of Dreamless.
Moonspell, once upon a time used to kick ass. Wolfheart and The Butterfly Effect are albums I liked quite a bit. At the same time, their other material, particularly 2001s Darkness & Hope was a terrible wannabe Lacuna Coil affair with no testicular fortitude at all. After that abomination though, the band started to go back to heavier climes. The Antidote and Memorial were decent albums that made me want to continue checking this band out.
This year the band released its eighth album, Night Eternal and at first glance business seems a bit better than usual. The band continues down the path laid down by 2006’s Memorial and the songs are heavy with some death metal influences popping up alongside the Goth metal framework.
The album starts off in fine fashion with At Tragic Heights, Night Eternal and Shadow Sun all coming off as strong songs that do the interplay between heavy and atmospheric quite nicely. Fernando Ribeiro’s vocals are still powerful to carry these songs through and I was honestly quite taken aback by the quality on offer. Still, it’s not all peaches and daisies. Scorpion Flower sounds like full on Sisters of Mercy style Goth done in a super cheesy way complete with female vocals, Ribeiro’s trademark baritone and a poppy chorus that I’m sure wants to be anthemic but comes across more like a Nightwish reject. After this song the album goes completely downhill.
Things get heavier again with Moon in Mercury with its atmospheric pseudo death metal sound but too much of this album sounds like mid-period Tiamat without the electronics. The heavy guitar parts tend to be saccharine sweet and the atmosphere provided by the keyboards is pretty much the same on every song.
The songs on this album particularly after Scorpion Flower all tend to merge into one another and become background noise. There’s nothing on these songs to distinguish it from each other and while it’s all delivered in crystal clear polished tones, it all sounds the same after a while.
I suppose the band’s die-hard fan following will eat this up but for the rest of you, there really isn’t anything here to recommend at all.
Originally written for http://www.kvltsite.com
If you are looking for a return to the folk-metal days of “Wolfheart” or “Under the Moonspell,” then you will sorely be disappointed. There are no instrumentals on this album, no real folk interludes, and no ambient noise sections either. That being said, one of the best things I can say about this album is that it is very much a “Moonspell” album. It takes all the ingredients that make their music so compelling and holds nothing back. All of their gothic touches, dark atmosphere, varied vocals, and brilliant guitar work really come together on this album.
While this album is very much in the same vein as their previous work “Memorial,” it is also a different beast entirely. At times, this almost borders on straight death metal and even black metal. While the previous album was also very dark and heavy, this one seems much more “in your face” with full on head-bangable riffs. The guitars are much more up front and crunchy, the solos are very smooth and melodic (some of Ricardo’s best work yet) and the drums are absolutely furious, especially the double-bass. The production is also very clear and makes for a very powerful listening experience.
This is also easily Fernando’s best singing since “Darkness and Hope.” Whereas on the previous albums his baritone was a bit subdued and more of a whisper used for atmospheric affect, here is clearly singing again. Some songs even feature a dual-layered vocal approach which is new, but highly intoxicating. His growled vocals are also at least as powerful as they were on the previous album. Also, the duet on the song “Scorpion Flower” with Anneke is outstanding, even if her vocals are placed a bit too far in the background.
Having listened to the album a few times now, it is hard to pick out favorite tracks. Not one moment seems wasted, and all nine songs feel like they have something important to say. Suffice it to say, if you don’t like Moonspell, this album won’t change your mind. However, if you are a fan of the bands work, this album will likely blow you away. I can only imagine how this set of songs will do live. As the title suggests, this is indeed Moonspell’s finest hour.