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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...