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Not that different - 85%

Taliesin, October 25th, 2006

Moonspell have been a band cursed with an idiotic fan base. A fan base who aparently never actually listens to Moonspell's music and instead reacts on some instinctive cave man level intellegence. This metal, this not metal. But in the end through Moonspell's long career, if one has heard the Wolfheart album then one has heard the heart of everything they've done since, including this much hated album.

Sin/Pecado is hated for no particular reason I can tell except it is somehow more pop, anti-metal and rockist. When in the end it is none of these things. Yes it is lighter and less extreme, but Moonspell have never been about extremity, the extreme vocals have always been very lightly used, the band has always been more focused on atmosphere and melody then heaviness and extremity. They simply took the less "metal" moments on Wolfheart and Irreligious and based an album around it, without losing the dark soul that marks all of their music. And indeed one finds that the very basics of their style is all here. Even the extreme vocals on a few songs. And this is no where as pop inspired as the next few albums. But then again just because music has good chorus' and a more structured writing style does not make it pop. And this album for example is not pop. It is in fact so uncommercial that it puts so called metal fans off.

Why all of this is, is hard to grasp at first. The music is more laid back, but the dark atmosphere is still here. Moonspell really drag you into a dark world like all of their releases. It's not exactly candy sweet at any moment on here. It is perhaps even more realistically dark then any of their other albums. In this darkness is the desolation of those who have fallen so far into decadence they cannot find a way out. Often one feels an essence of despair running through sensual delight. The band really manages to capture a good atmosphere.

Exactly how they capture this atmosphere is through more melodic guitar riffs, the same tribal driving drumming as is on every single Moonspell release, swirling keyboards, less ornately gothic then the last two albums, they are often less used then on Wolfheart even, except to back up the general atmosphere set by the guitars. A few songs put them on the front burner, and they do not let you down. There is a definite ethereal gothic feeling to the keyboards. Either you like that or not, I happen to. The vocals tie all the other elements together. The focus is on the clean crooning, his vocals are not as deep as on Wolfheart, but are still very deep and Sisters of Mercy-like. Perhaps with less of the Type O Negative stylings. There are a few touches of the screams of old. The melodies he sings always have a very dark feeling though, and even at times when the music seems less dark, the vocals manage to bring the dark atmosphere.

Now despite how much I like most of this album, a few songs fail, sometimes miserably, mainly a song like 2econd Skin. Everyone will find a few other songs to always skip over, but that is the main one for me. But this does not lead me to say this is the worst album ever like many fans. Sure it's not as conventionally heavy as Irreligious and maybe not as dark castle gothicky as Wolfheart, but it is still quality and is still Moonspell. Anyone who claims this is a big step down or even all that much different then Wolfheart obviously did not pay much attention to that album or to Moonspell in general. Moonspell created their own sound, and they stuck to it, while moving around at will within the confines they created for themselves on their first album. They have consistently up to this day even moved from the more metal aspects (Irreligious, The Antidote, Memorial) to the more gothic/ethereal aspects (Sin/Pecado) to the more gothic rock moments (Darkness and Hope, The Butterfly Effect).

Yes if you dislike more ethereal gothic rock then maybe you will dislike this album, but don't claim it to be weak because of that, and don't claim it to be a big step away from Moonspell's normal sound, because it isn't. Moonspell couldn't have been expected to make their first album over and over again, and if you have an open mind that isn't clogged then check this out. I personally enjoy it a lot, and I know there are others who feel the same. I've owned this album for over a year now and it has not grown boring in any way. In fact for me asides from a few songs it's easier to listen to this from beginning to end then even Wolfheart. Mainly because this album is not touted as being something it is not like that album always is.

Moonspell tore down all of the pre-conceptions around them on here, and I can only respect a band who has such blantant disregard for the majority of their fans. Rather then conform to the ideals set upon them they decided to do what they wanted. Many will hate them for it, but since they never exactly sold out or changed the basic princliples of their style I have no issues with Moonspell's developments. It's not exactly like they went the Ulver route. So in the end if you enjoy Moonspell's music and have always been scared from this album, well ignore the idiotic bad press and judge for yourself the dark experimental Sin/Pecado.