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same old same old - 40%

gk, May 28th, 2008

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.

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