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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.