When Moonspell's 'The Antidote' appeared a few years ago, I was pleasantly surprised because it was some sort of return to form, if such a description is accurate for this band. Moonspell never really have strayed far from their forged path, but previous albums after Irreligious were kind of wavier and more gothic than that masterpiece. So now we have Memorial. And yet again Moonspell deliver their intriguing mix of black and gothic metal with a mediterranean flavour.
The first noticable thing really is the harshness that is present throughout the album. Even more than 'The Antidote' Moonspell walk a musically agressive path, with 'grim' vocals, double bass work, ominous riffing en synthing (if that is a word) and even some fast paced action, having a big presence.
With that said, Moonspell somehow lose something of their 'own' exotic flavour, which really made an album like Irreligous such a classic. While the quality of the material really is good, Moonspell now operate more in for instance Rotting Christ territory. (listen to the track Finisterra for example)
This means (as mentioned earlier) melodic blackened goth metal with a warm blooded flavour, only less Moonspellish. Singer Fernando does use his trademark low, melodic vocals a lot less which is probably the main reason Moonspell sound a bit more generic than at least I'm used to. A track like Luna really is quite awesome then, when his low vocals combine with some female singers' (Ihave no idea who) angelic voice in the bridge of that track. All elements really come together and it's Moonspell at their very best, and I'd really would have liked to hear that a bit more. However that is a matter of personal taste.
Then again, Moonspell really did create a really interesting record. It manages to stay varied and engrossing throughout the whole disc. These Portuguese veterans sure do know their instrument and composition 101's and it shows that there's still a lot of life in this old beast. Productionwise, there's also nothing to complain. It's powerful and atmospheric and the mix is Crystal clear. Good stuff.
So in short, Moonspell (I think) really do deliver one of their best albums, but it loses a bit of it's charm by somehow sounding a bit more generic and less 'mediterranean' and thus, sounding less Moonspell. But hey, I'm getting great music for it in return, so it's not something that would withhold me from liking this at all.
Moonspell fans: get this. People who like the genre, check it out.
2. Finisterra (4:11)
3. Memento Mori (4:28)
4. Sons Of Earth (1:54)
5. Blood Tells (4:11)
6. Upon The Blood Of Men (4:57)
7. At The Image Of Pain (4:24)
8. Sanguine (5:53)
9. Proliferation (2:42)
10. Once It Was Ours (4:55)
11. Mare Nostrum (1:58)
12. Luna (4:45)
13. Best Forgotten (14:08)
MIKE GASPAR: drums
PEDRO PAIX├O : synths and samplers
RICARDO AMORIM : guitars