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Vast improvement. - 89%

Shadespawn, November 22nd, 2008

There are re-recordings of a lot of albums, by a lot of bands, each with different outcomes. Some are experiments, some are made just because the band has no current perspective in what to do next. Others are unnecessary, because the original recording is good enough or fits the time period well, yet again others, such as "Under Satanae" have made a huge leap and improvement from the original "Under the Moonspell" from back in 1994. There are many factors in why Moonspell have succeeded in refreshing their old material for well fitting into the new millennium. Here are some of them:

For the first part, the 1994 recording was raw, indeed, which is not necessarily a bad thing for most early band material. Every early release from an original band, who has drawn a lot of attention to themselves deserves attention and respect, as does the "grandfather" of Under Satanae. The only problem with the first recording was the dull sound and rather weak lyrics. The ideas, being great, were beefed up pretty well on this release, its sound reaching near crystal clarity.

The record itself, old or new, makes an attempt at combining western style classical music with
oriental musical elements, such as Arabic halftone chants, or a variety of exotic instruments most western people (including myself) never even heard of. Additionally, the heavy sound of Moonspell is also present. They have gone back to their roots, infusing their old unique black metal orientation with a lot of interesting aspects, such as the before mentioned, oriental folk music. The opener "Halla alle halla al rabka halla" is the perfect example for one of the many folk-infused intrumentals throughout the entire record (the others being "Interludium/Incantatum Oequinoctum" or "Chorai Lusitânia!", the latter not being re-recorded). The instrumentals tend to be short interludes between the other tracks that are full of energy and passion. Female vocals on some tracks range from being well-fitting to slightly displaced. Most of the time they accentuate Fernando's gutturals, but for the overall effort, they manage to represent the mystic atmosphere quite well.

The new recording turned out to be a far better execution than the first release of the material. With the enhanced sound, the record simply lives up better to its intention. This is not just a mere folk-heavy metal melting pot, but an experiment that turned up quite well. The music itself flows very nicely and walks a fine ridge between harsh and soft. While this turned out to be very appealing for most open minded fans or people who are into this sort of thing, the record is not completely flaw-free. There are some aspects which simply do not belong into a heavy metal album and can be quite annoying and disorientating. One of these aspects is the female/male moaning in "Opus Diabolicum". Keep the moaning out of heavy metal, for hell's sake! If they had cut out such nonsense, the album would have been a near-masterpiece. Another thing is the excessive use of whispering throughout some tracks, including "Opus Diabolicum" again, which could have been much better in getting to the point, rather than moaning and whispering. That's simply not lust.

Luckily, the rest of the album after that particular track, much to my convenience, the album continues in a more straightforward way, without much compromise. Tracks like "Goat on Fire" and "Serpent Angel" manage to get to the point much faster and in a more direct way than the others, standing out to represent what Moonspell are really made of.