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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.