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Lycanthropic Delight - 90%

TheArchivist, April 3rd, 2019
Written based on this version: 1995, CD, Century Media Records

“Wolfheart” is Moonspell’s potent synthesis of black metal and gothic metal; as a standalone work of audio art, it perfectly captures the spirit of aristocratic nobility and the melancholic ravings of Edgar Allan Poe. The record in itself is a very classy showcase of musical creativity and compositional imagination; it is very elegant in its presentation and the ideas expressed by the music burn fervently with a garish black flame.

After the dark but somewhat dull and uninspired EP “Under the Moonspell” (a record combining the concept of Arabic chants and devil worship), they unleashed their legendary oeuvre, “Wolfheart” upon an unsuspecting metal populace. Moonspell’s debut is a true cult metal classic with various influences blending into one big intoxicating sonic brew. Very few albums in the metal realm have that profound effect on the metal subgenres and it seems this record had a hand in the mid to late 90s black metal scene’s infatuation with gothic themes and motifs (Agathodaimon comes to mind as one of the bands taking direct inspiration from the album) as well as in perpetuating the popularity of symphonic black metal. One could imagine Dani Filth listening to this and changing his band’s entire image and lyrical subject matter. Comparisons with other goth/black metal bands aside, there is no half-assed song like “Nymphetamine” to be found anywhere on the CD. Musically though, there is nothing here that sounds remotely like the other aforementioned bands, it is only in the band’s aesthetics where Moonspell share similarities but the group’s music is totally different from say, Dimmu Borgir.

In my viewpoint, the best song on the album is the sixth track “Vampiria” (It is also one of the best songs about Nosferatu, along with Black Sabbath’s “Nightwing”). it is a very regal and majestic composition, ideally embodying Anne Rice’s vision of the vampire as a dark and romantic literary figure. Fernando Ribeiro’s speaking voice is how I imagine Vlad the Impaler would sound if you meet him within the dingy halls of an isolated Carpathian castle (it’s obviously how Dracula actually sounds in horror movies). Vocally, Ribeiro is very similar to the late Type O Negative frontman Peter Steele and to a lesser extent, Glenn Danzig; he has a very thick timbre to his voice but at the same time, he could also manage to be versatile with his singing.

Music-wise, the riffcraft on display here can be approximated or described as blackened gothic metal. The riffs have enough meat in them to not qualify as black metal but are also not as densely distorted to be labeled as death metal; this can be readily observed in the song “Love Crimes” where Ribeiro’s imposing vocals bond with the guitar riffs to lend an air of bestial savagery to the track’s epic sense of dark romanticism. With the addition of a woman chanting in the background, the Chinese concept of yin and yang or Aleister Crowley’s impression of the Baphomet (according to occultists, the merging of male and female, to form a new androgynous individual) is finally expressed in its purest musical form.

There is also a nice instrumental called “Lua d’Inverno” which is fairly similar in atmosphere and ambiance to Amorphis’s “Folk of the North” from the Black Winter Day EP. It serves as a bridge or breather before resuming with the other songs; it conveys a sort of folk/pagan vibe to the album’s gothic nuances. The next track, “Trebaruna” may get mistaken by some white supremacists as some sort of neo-Nazi chant but is in reality sung in Portuguese. Instead of singing about the supposed superiority of the Aryan race, the song celebrates the worship of the female deity of battles and alliances; there is no excessive use of black metal clichés here, like what you would hear in several pagan metal bands.

“…Of Dream and Drama (Midnight Ride)” is the one song here with an unconcealed black n’ roll influence. Even with the heavy riffs emanating from the guitars, it manages to capture that elusive thrashing feel which many metal bands of this style find hard and difficult to achieve. The closest comparison I could make is with Throne of Ahaz’s “Nifelheim” album (a record I highly recommend as it has great replay value); also, Ribeiro’s vocals on the song remind me of Glenn Danzig’s classic exploits on the microphone.

“Wolfheart” achieves what bands like Abazagorath and other black metal bands failed to accomplish in their attempt to express an authentic blackened feeling from their music. Through this effort, Moonspell succeeded in summoning a non-distilled and genuine expression of the black arts while still managing to have that darkened romantic aura channeled by the music. It is also the only worthwhile Moonspell recording as the succeeding releases do not quite reach the level of quality which “Wolfheart” had in spades (or they’re just not to my liking or taste). Definitely, a must listen for those new to the group’s sound or those interested in the mid 90s Portuguese metal scene.

A captivating conundrum - 93%

MetalDeity, May 28th, 2014

It is quite uncommon and uncanny to encounter such a balanced, well-rounded hybrid of two separate and polar subgenres of metal, namely black and gothic, both with different concerns and criteria: one stressing the beauty and romance, the other thriving in filth and flirting with the Devil.When they are occasionally reconciled, the effect can be of great impact and consequence, and so it seems to be the case here, as Moonspell with their first album have most masterfully and aptly rendered the distinctions and tensions obsolete and have molded a perfectly profound and pristine experience.

Doused in synthesizers and dressed in somewhat abstruse, autochthonous vocalization, the album is itself a succession of motifs and material that is very inclined to explore and venture into the dark lore and more occult and outre dimension to the entire romantic fascination and history buffery.As expected, there is a plethora of keyboards, and the band members' panache for the orchestral and classical does not terminate here, as the vocals kick in, in every variation and seasoning, from the more harsh rasps midway through „Alma Mater“, through the slightly more present and prevailing baritone singing of Ribeiro, to some backing female falsettos that perkily pop up („Love Crimes“,"An Erotic Alchemy") every now and then, giving the music richer texture and tonality.The keyboards are actually not cheesy and overdone, serving only as a momentary respite, or, occasionally a well-placed interlude („Lua d'inverno“), that seams together otherwise unconnected, distinct musical segments, with streams of melancholy, majesty and moroseness .The riffs tend to hesitate between the more plodding, picturesque and illustrative of the murky and mystical atmosphere to the occasional outburst and effusion of a tremelo-picked stricture and spite.The drumming is mid-paced and often comprised of syncopated, more jaunty parts, individualistic and independent somewhat of the main flow of the guitars, but giving them enough breathing room or providing them with more material and components to waft over.The bass, considering this is still in theory a black metal release, contains a miraculously high degree of presence, and for this I compliment the musicians.

Speaking of the more esoteric and enigmatic offerings in the metal history, aside from the few more recent bands bringing avant-jazz, math rock and post-hardcore insights and illuminations into the black metal, I can hardly remember a more peculiar and pivotal attempting of populating the medium with more diversity and substance. This is not a classic, it is a canon, a non-circumnavigable release that must reach the ear of any serious and seasoned metal fan, even if they decide it is not to their preference. Abstruse and arcane, bemusing and bewildering, and scintillating with subterranean beauty and celestial grandeur and glamor, it is only rare that one is introduced to such magnificence. 93/100

Eclectic. - 98%

greywanderer7, July 8th, 2012

It's funny how, at such an early stage of their career, a band, from a country with a relatively unknown metal presence, can change their sound, and not only succeed, but make one of metal's most unique records. This is a vast departure from the morbid, occult black metal with arabic influences showcased in their earlier Under the Moonspell, instead delving deeper into the newly-born gothic metal sound and its aesthetics.

The black metal is still present, though, but in a more melodic form, not unlike the one of the greeks Rotting Christ (which, casually would start their turn towards the gothic side of the metal spectrum one year after this was released), in the form of tremolo-picked riffs and harsh vocals, and the folk elements are not quite the ethnic and arabic influences of the EP, instead using flutes and cleanly sung vocals, thus having a more native (at times, bordering on celtic) feel. Those influences are in perpetual clash with the goth rock influences, like the emotional, bordering on melodramatic baritone vocal performance (with spoken parts) and the abundance of ethereal synths which are the main contributors to the eerie, dark, gothic-horror themed atmosphere of the music. There are some female vocals too, but, they are used not in the obnoxious Beauty-and-the-Beast way, but as background vocals, for most of the time.

Fernando Ribeiro, the frontman of the band, takes the spotlight throughout the album, his harsh vocals were top-notch in here, sounding like screamed growls rather than shrieks (but still unlike the deeper growls of their recent works), and, while he'd perfect his baritone vocals in later records, his performance is still notable, managing to sound evil, sinister and, why not, vampiric. (Though some bits, like the spoken ones, feel a little over-the-top, maybe due to his strong portuguese accent). Besides this, he can write pretty fucking great lyrics too, dealing with erotic and horror themes but in a more elaborated, classy, dare I to say, elegant way.

The keyboards, despite being one of the main elements of the music, are quite subtle for the style, not going with full-on bombastic orchestrated parts, and give many modern gothic metal bands a lesson on how the instrument should be used. In fact, this is one of those metal albums where melody and atmosphere matters the most, and technical proficiency is on a second plane, so there's no point in describing every single aspect about the guitars, bass or drums.

The songs are extremely varied, from the more folk-influenced 'Trebaruna' or the bonus track 'Ataegina', to the blacker ones, like the solemn opener 'Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade)', 'Love Crimes' with the best riff of the album around the 2:35 mark, or the epic closer 'Alma Mater', to the more gothic ones like 'An Erotic Alchemy' with surprisingly not annoying soprano vocals, (unlike the ones on the other 99.9999% of shitty, fairy metal bands, which are tagged as gothic but are about as dark as the fucking sun, sorry for the rambling, but I fucking hate that style), the sinister 'Vampiria' which gradually builds up, from a quiet part to a blackened climax, or '...of Dream and Drama (Midnight Ride)', the rockiest song in the album, with even a duel of solos between the guitar and the piano!

Recommended for people who has an interest in ACTUAL goth metal which can keep a sinister vibe, not the aforementioned fluffy Beauty-and-the-Beast crap which is most usually associated with the genre. A wild (midnight) ride.

... Of beauty And Poetry - 95%

Goldblaze, March 16th, 2012

As this is a well known classic that needs no special introduction, I will mostly skip to the point. No background bullshit. This album is beautiful. It's a prime example of how gothic metal is supposed to sound, and having various influences helps a great deal. Now, I know it may not seem authentic if one only says this little, so I will elaborate on that. Just thought it would be a good idea to spit it out of the system since it will give you the nice picture of what I am trying to say.

As I've said, this album is beautiful. It's not really complex musically nor structurally, as most of the songs are pretty straightforward despite their length. No, it's simply because what this album achieves with its qualities. This is truly what one may call gothic metal, it has it all. The atmosphere is fucking fantastic. The production is clean, but still viciously raw, in a way that you can hear everything perfectly, without falling into being overproduced. The vocals range from the quiet and melancholic baritone to a brutal shriek. That's right, Fernando Ribeiro is a singing genius. He is really passionate about this, too. Just check the intro to 'Vampiria'. He is crooning, sounding like a really scary vampire craving for the blood of his chosen bride in death, and then he lets out a shriek so vicious that it sends chills down my spine every time I hear it. The guitar work is also a big highlight. Nice and punchy riffs, beautiful solos, and classy licks are scattered throughout all of the album. Maybe the best examples are in 'Wolfshade' and '...of Dream and Drama', but more on that later. However, the best factor of the album are the keyboards. I usually despise keyboards, but not because there is no place for them in metal, it's simply because I have heard a lot of cheesy power metal bands having these overflood the sound, so I am always skeptical about them. I was amazed at the use of keyboards here. It's completely atmospheric, and as I've already said, if there were no keyboards on the album, it would never sound the same, not even near.

The album is structured in a way that it should be listened to from beginning to the end, but it does not stop the individual songs from having their own, distinctive identity. The opener, 'Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade)', is probably my favorite Moonspell song. It opens with a sense of impending doom, clean strumming over haunting keyboards, and it bursts right into a marvelous guitar lead with Fernando's unmistakable vocals spitting dark poetry about the blasphemous female incarnation of a werewolf. It also has a killer break, with over a minute long guitar solo. 'Love Crimes' open with another cool riff, and the keyboards are back to remind you that they still rule. Oh yes, and the outro is not at all boring or overlong, it's mesmerizing and makes perfect sense to me. '...of Dream And Drama' has a lot of different influences. It even has keyboards adopting the sound of a rocking piano, while trading solos with the guitar. 'Lua d'Inverno' and 'Trebaruna' are pure folk metal, former being an acoustic interlude, while latter being a proper song, which is another expansion of musical influences and interests the band members have, which is a very, very positive thing. 'Trebaruna' is a song that you can almost make a war dance to. I already mentioned 'Vampiria' which is for it's first half a purely ambiental song before bursting into pretty agressive track. Oh yes, and it ends with the sound of the female scream. 'An Erotic Alchemy' is the true gem here. It's the longest track here, almost entirely synth laden, and its a duet with a female singer. Dear future shitty wanna be gothic metal bands, listen to this track and despair, because you will never sound like that, you will always suck. Not to mention the female singer is actually talented, just listen to the notes she hits. Oh and yes, she is completely unknown too. The closing song is 'Alma Mater', a purely guitar driven song, with some of the most melancholic chord progressions I've ever heard, and it works very well. It moves into a mid section with chanting, then back to the first verse to finish the album.

If Moonspell were ever to top this, and have 2 albums of this calibre, they would've easily become one of my favorite bands ever. Don't get me wrong, Irreligious, Memorial, and their later works are all solid albums, but they don't quite reach the standard that they've set with this masterpiece. If you are a fan of dark and morbid, this album is for you. Even if you are not into this kind of music, you will appreciate the lyrics if you love poetry at all. It's a classic, and with a well deserved status.

Favorite tracks: Wolfshade, ...Of Dream And Drama, An Erotic Alchemy.

Favorite moments: The solo section of the opener, outro to Love Crimes, dual solos in third track, 'Will you die for... THIIIIIIS?!' in An Erotic Alchemy.

A revolution and a statement - 98%

kluseba, August 25th, 2011

Wolfheart is easily one of my favourite records of all time. It has anything I would expect from a great metal album. It has a lot of diversity. It has an intense and coherent atmosphere. It has interesting lyrics that fit to the concept of the music and artwork. It has many catchy moments but also some more progressive and epic tracks. It has aged well and grows on you every time you try it out once again. It has its own unique charm and doesn't sound too much like anyone else.

Wolfheart has also been a revolutionary album being one of the first extreme metal records coming from Southern Europe. The band is right to be proud to come from a country where metal music isn't as popular as in Central and Northern Europe and they don't hesitate to perform parts of several songs in Portuguese. They also use a few folk instruments which give an epic touch to this debut record without sounding too soft and sweet. On the other hand, there is a big gothic influence in this record concerning the bleak atmosphere and the dark lyrics. Many people consider this album as a black metal record but this style is only one of several subtle elements and influences among others. The band mixes energy and majesty in a unique way without forgetting about originality.

Every song is worth to be listened to and there is no single filler on here. The harmonic and epic introduction to the great opening epic "Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade)" immediately drowns us into a mysterious atmosphere and digs us deeper into a bleak majesty when the dark lyrics kick off. The keyboards and choirs may sound a little bit artificial as the band lacked of budget but this gives an undeniable charm to the record and makes it sound more underground and mysterious. In the first track the band already proves all of their talent. The singer switches from dark shrieks to low melodic clean vocals. The track has some chilling moments that focus on decent keyboard melodies, harmonic guitar passages and a surprisingly audible bass guitar line. On the other side, there are also more rhythm orientated mid tempo passages and a floating progressive bridge. Everything underlines the focus on a dark and addicting atmosphere and sounds very coherent. That's only what I say about the first track but I could continue like this for every other song on the record.

There are many magic moments on this album. "Trebaruna" is an amazingly hypnotizing folk track and pleases me at least ten times more than anything most of the so-called modern folk bands from Northern Europe use to play. I mean those guys here come from Portugal and perform dark folk beats as if they have grown up with Viking history and Scandinavian folk tales. The great bonus track "Ataegina" has some great Lusitanian folk elements and is able to mix happy and positive chants with mysterious folk sounds and dark riffs. Who needs Eluveitie now? The female shrieks in the end of "Vampiria" give me goose bumps every time I listen to them once again and are an unforgettable moment in metal history. The Portuguese chorus of the addicting "Alma Mater" is not only catchy as hell but also a true statement by the band.

There are so many whining people that claim that the eighties were such a great decade while the nineties were the downfall of metal music. Every time I listen to Moonspell's "Wolfheart", Amorphis' "Tales From The Thousand Lakes" or Therion's "Theli" I realize that this is not true and that the nineties even seem to have the greater gems. This is one of them and a definite must have for any metal fan of any genre.

Lusitanian Metal at its best! - 85%

Nhorf, January 25th, 2009

Probably the crowning achievement of Moonspell, Wolfheart was preceded by a couple of demos that already showed the true potential of this portuguese act. By this time, the band was still a creative force to be reckoned with, and that's comproved by the vast list of influences this record contains. Take the opener, Wolfshade, for example. Ok, there are black and doom metal elements there, but if you pay attention to the tempo changes and the breakdowns, you will find the truth. Yes, progressive metal influences! That crescendo just screams progressive metal! On other hand, An Erotic Alchemy, the longest song of the album, is very atmospheric, Midnight Ride screams hard rock influence (wow, who would say, hard rock on a Moonspell record), Lua D'Inverno is a chilling acoustic piece and Vampiria is, probably, the only pure black metal song of the record. Ah, and Trebaruna and Ataegina are both folk tunes, with a good use of keyboards.

Fortunately, Moonspell were wise and, on the songwriting level, they've really suceeded with this piece. I mean, it's hard to mix so many different influences because all those different components generally don't blend that well. Usually, albums with so many different components sound disjointed, but Wolfheart is a worthy exception. On other hand, speaking now about some flaws, Fernando Ribeiro is undoubtely the weakest member of the band here. He's a great vocalist, his growls are, nowadays, very powerful, but by this time he was still a kind of weak musician, delivering an average performance. On other hand, Pedro Paixão (the keyboard player) does a great work: the keyboard sound isn't too loud nor low in the mix, and that benefits his playing. Listen to the beautiful textures created by his instrument, during the acoustic part of Wolfshade: wonderful! Another good performance is delivered by Ricardo Amorim, the guitar player. He is allowed to solo (now, unfortunately, the band doesn't let him solo too much – UPDATE: he now is allowed to solo a bit more, in Night Eternal) and that is definitely a plus.

Highlights? Almost every thing. The opener is a winner, a true blend of progressive music with black metal. It features an interesting acoustic intro, a nice build-up and a gorgeous breakdown, where all of Amorim's guitar talents are shown. It is, probably, one of the best songs Moonspell ever compose - it's right there, struggling with Everything Invaded for the prize. Trebaruna has portuguese lyrics and talks about a goddess of the Lusitanian Mythology. A fine folk tune. An Erotic Alchemy was the first Moonspell song I ever heard, and is very atmospheric, with a lot of sections and some good keyboard riffs here and there. Alma Mater is another highlight, but hell, it sounds much better live!

Heavy riffage, competent drum work, folk-ish keyboard lines, acoustic guitars and audible bass, that's what you can expect from this record. If you think that the extremely unidimensional Memorial is good, check out this record! You WILL change your mind, I assure you! This is the zenith, the magnum opus of the band, really. One last word to the amazing production and to the excellent artwork (well, in fact BOTH artworks kick ass, but I definitely prefer the original one, with the wolves watching the sky, it perfectly fits the mood of the record, in my opinion). Oh, and another thing... Don't pay too much attention to the bonus track, Ataegina, as it sounds like a bad imitation of Trebaruna!

Best Moments of the CD:
-the middle part of the opener.

Orgulhosamente sós...

Moonspell's Magnum Opus - 100%

JoeCapricorn, August 29th, 2006

Although you never know when a band’s next album might just be their gem of gems, it is still very rare that a band surpasses their own greatest work. When I got this album, I had no clue who Moonspell were, what kind of music they played, and whether or not they were good. I got it among 9 other albums, 2 of them compilations, the others being a mix of Sentenced, To/Die/For, Nevermore, Amorphis and Christian Death (among others).

However, since that day that I had purchased this particular album, I have never heard any single album that even comes close to the atmospheric aural assault that I experience every time I listen to this album.

As soon as Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade) kicks in after its sweet melodic introduction, I am literally lost in the music. I can’t even write this review without pausing it because I find myself head banging instead of typing. The doom-laden powerful riffs mixed with double bass drum patterns and an intense atmosphere laid down courtesy of the keyboards while the bass guitar accentuates the beat gives the feeling of wolves running through the woods. And then there is the melodic break in the middle, with the bass and keyboards keeping the song flowing as it merges with a heavier and faster guitar solo that clocks in at over a minute in length!

Love Crimes continues on with more of a melodic, yet catchy tune. The song itself is wonderful, but the ending is the icing on the cake! It is so simple, yet complex, and atmospheric and simply beautiful as it merges with a more ominous sound as a percussion pattern ends the song and blends it with the next song.

…Of Dream and Drama (Midnight Ride) is a short and sweet song, capitalizing on fast rhythms and thrashy riffs accentuated with Fernando Ribeiro’s powerful vocals. Lua D’Inverno is an acoustic atmospheric interlude that simply gives the listener a break before continuing with the rest of the album. It’s sweet and extremely short, so it doesn’t drag on forever. Trebraruna is an unforgettable folk-metal tune, combining Portuguese lyrics (Almost sounds like an Irish drinking song) with gothic metal from the masters.

Vampiria is the sixth classic of this album, starting off with the unforgettable raspy whispers of Fernando Ribeiro. It continues to move along slowly with a pause for an “Ahhh” and then another for “You’re a beast, evil one!” – the most unforgettable line of the entire album. It starts to pick up the pace until the guitars kick in to start the head banging fest.

An Erotic Alchemy is another epic in the vein of Wolfshade and Love Crimes. My favorite part is where Fernando Ribeiro starts off singing a tune before a female vocalist finishes it off. The song ends with a repetition of quite a catchy riff before Ribeiro utters “Will you die for this?”.

Alma Mater is the final song of the CD that I got. Apparently I had obtained the original pressing of Wolfheart, and not any re-release. This an excellent song to end an excellent album.

Nevertheless, despite taking a year to find out that there was in fact a bonus track called Ataegina, I set out to find it. I didn’t feel like buying Wolfheart again so I used Bit Torrent and found a torrent for Moonspell’s discography and unchecked all the files except for Ataegina – since by then I had their discography except for Memorial.

The trouble was worth it. It’s a folk-metal tune with a slight similarity to Trebraruna, but in my humble opinion it is even better. It is catchier, and sweeter, not to mention more energetic despite lacking the double bass patterns.

Overall, this album is definitely worth looking for. This is Moonspell’s best effort next to Irreligious and Memorial. If you like folk-black mixed with gothic metal and dislike repetition and songs that are 7 minutes long that drag on instead of keep your attention for the whole song, this album is for you.

Wow! - 100%

PseudoGoatKill, October 23rd, 2004

Many people say that you cannot buy a CD based on one single you've heard from the band or the CD. Most of the time these people are correct; however in this case they were wrong.

Case in point; around August I purchased the Century Media X Box Set. One of the many songs that I fell for was Moonspell's Ataegina. I took a glance to see which CD it was off of and after finding out it was from the Wolfheart CD I decided to look for it.

Lo and behold the local music store had it. I had planned on buying it later that week, but someone else had bought it. I was finally able to purchase the album last week.

You know those CD's that you have extremely high expectations for and it delivers on those expectations sometimes bettering them? Moonspell's "Wolfheart" is one of those rare albums. To put it simply this album is perfection through and through. It's not just the amazing guitar riffs, bass lines, drum lines, and vocals that make this album so great. What makes this album so outstanding is the experiementation and the differant elements of metal woven into Moonspell's main outlay of Gothic Metal and Folk Metal. The entire album has a dark, sometimes erotic feel to it. Except for Ataegina which had a somewhat happy feel to it.

The album starts off with Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade) which is a pleasant start for the rest of this album. The song is mid tempoed, not as fast as it's successor "Love Crimes" but not as slow as the truer gothic metal song "Vampiria". The song shows a lot of progressive metal elements woven into gothic metal.

"Love Crimes" is the faster song on this album. I am going to however say that this song and many of the other songs have melodic black metal elements to them, but not pure black metal elements. The vocals can be at times very raspy, but not all the time. I feel also that the timing and tempo of the riffs are too slow for anyone to believe that this album has any blackmetal elements on this album. Still the albums remains perfect, but of course it's because there's no blasterbation.

That was only a small taste of what this album is like. If you like your music to be dark but differant; if you like your music to be influenced by melodic blackmetal without tons of blastbeats; if you like lots of guitar riffs, and guitar solos; if you like drumming that changes tempo and rhythym on the fly; if you like a bass that you can actually hear; if you like the sound of various other instruments; and if you like the idea of a vocalist that can actually sing and do distorted vocals then you have no choice but to pick up this album.

The power of Goat compels you!

Highlights: The entire CD.

No, really, highlights: Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade) Love Crimes; ...Of Dream and Drama (Midnight Ride); Treburana; Vampiria; An Erotic Alchemy; Alma Mater; and Ataegina (if available)

Pure Greatness - 98%

GangstaMonocle, March 2nd, 2004

This album plain and simply blew me away upon first hearing of it. Every time since, it has gotten even darker and sweeter.

Opener Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade) is one of the strongest points on the album. The mellow opening really sets the mood before kicking into overdrive and creating the sound of melancholy and horror. The vocals on this album are immediately noticeable, being a semi-blackened growl or full blown Dracula singing.

The next two tracks are two of the fastest on the album, that being Love Crimes and Midnight Ride. Love Crimes switches paces often, and is one of the best songs on the album. The ending cool down period is longer than it should be, but it helps to flow right into Midnight Ride, maybe the fastest song on the album. Next up is Lua D'Inverno, which is just a very short acoustic track. Serves it's purpose though, flowing into Trebreruna, which is sung in the band's native language of Portuguese. It has a very folky feel to it, not exactly something you'd expect from a band like Moonspell.

Vampiria comes next. This song is 100% gothic through and through, and while enjoyable, is my least favorite track on the CD. After this comes An Erotic Alchemy, which is a story based song using female vocals and an assload of keyboards.

The final track on the album is Alma Mater, and it is my favorite by far. This song is more or less black metal, with the vocals much harsher than before, and the guitars faster and heavier. The song is sung in both English and Portuguese, adding to the feel greatly. The haunting melodies of the Final ‘Alma Mater’ chants are haunting and one of the highest points on the album.

On the import version, there is a bonus track called Aetigna, which is a lot like Trebreruna in it’s folk sound. It’s worth getting the import version for this song if you’re not paying too much more.

All in all, this CD is a complete champ and should be owned by everyone.

Top Three Tracks:
Alma Mater
Love Crimes

vampire perfection - 99%

MrBrownstone, August 31st, 2003

Never have I heard a goth metal cd quite like this one. Every song is an epic. Wolfshade opens the album with a strong instrumental work and then when you're all camn down and enjoying the music at about a minute mark a horrible scream introduces the vocalist Fernando Ribeiro in his best shape. The man doesn't have the vocal range of, say Bruce Dickinson, Hansi Kursch... He doesn't come even close. But, my god how his vocals soothe the music. He has one of the most evil voices in metal. Forget blackish screams, daeth growl, this guy is scary even when he does it clean.
So, back to the song. Wolfshade is arguably the best song on this cd. Fantastic combination of scrams and clean vocals, powerful lyrics, real gothic ones, great instrumenatal work on the begining, fantastic riffs, accoustic breaks and a great solo in the end. spectacular
Love Crimes picks up where Wolfshade left off. Fernando Ribeiro can only wright about two things - vampires or tragic love. Guess what this one is about. And again they get it spot on. great riffs. Awsome back vocals. Fantastic
...of dream and drama is significatly shorter song. fast, practicly galoping song. The song proves worth of it's name - Midnight Ride. You'll feel just like you're galoping into the night, never to come back
Lua d' inverno is just an accoustic instrumental, showing that the guitarist really knows his business.
trebaruna is the only song in portugease. another great one.
"vampiria, you are my destiny..." starts off the next song. Mystical, evil, perfect
An Erotic Alchemy is perhaps along with Wolfshade the best song here. Story of love, but characteristic moonspell way. Marquiz de Sade qoute in this one, very powerful moment. I said it before and I'll say it again - this guy has THE most evil vocal in the world
Alma Mater is somewhat different from the other songs. It is fast, almost black metalish. One of my favorites (hehe, well they're all my favorites). Very fast song with a powerful chorus sang in portugease

This is not for everybody. If you are a power/happy metal fanatic avoid this. But if you are at least a one small bit into the dark music (well then you've most probably heard and you already love this cd) then look no further, this is the thing for you. This is what goth METAL is all about

Midnight Ride! - 95%

Crimsonblood, October 7th, 2002

Wolfheart, the debut from Moonspell, is a classic disc in my opinion- in fact it’s probably one of the best debuts in the Gothic Metal genre. If you ever want a great indication as to what variation in a CD sounds like, just use Wolfheart as a prime example. No one song sounds the same, yet, a consistent feel is common throughout the CD; it is almost like a perfect mix.

Despite the Gothic Metal moniker, Moonspell incorporate a lot of other elements that give the CD a very strong breath of fresh air. There are progressive elements ( “Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade)” ), folk elements ( “Trebaruna” ), and Black Metal elements ( “Alma Mater” ) dappled throughout the CD, although they are not limited to the songs mentioned. All the elements mix very well with the Gothic overtones and symphonic keys, and speaking of the keys, they are very well used. Providing mostly atmosphere with heavy synth, they also contain piano and folk passages. The vocals are another highlight; Fernando Ribeiro provides us with the common two style vocal usage. The first style is more of a Black Metal screech than the often-used Death Metal growl, and his clean voice reminds me a lot of Peter Steele from Type O Negative. Much like Steele, Ribeiro has the ability to sing with a very deep voice as well as more toned down singing style, which also works suitably. Female vocals are also used, but not on a full time basis. The vocals, in conjunction with the keys and the guitars/bass deliver an excellent atmosphere that I think Moonspell have yet to recreate. The production is very well done, especially the bass drum sound. Those double kicks on “Vampira” (my favorite track) sound nice and powerful, just like they should! And as I mentioned, those progressive elements are really well implemented, making a lot of the songs long, epic, but not pointless. Instead they manage to control the listener’s attention throughout, and give the CD a lot of replay ability.

I would say there are no real low points on this CD; there is no filler, no fluff, and no bullshit. Moonspell put together an original and intelligent release with Wolfheart and any Gothic fans who haven’t picked this up yet, I suggest you to do so.

Song Highlights: Wolfshade, Love Crimes, Vampira, Of Dream And Drama, and Alma Matter