Moonspell – Night Eternal (2008)

Moonspell – Night Eternal (2008, SPV)

  1. At Tragic Heights
  2. Night Eternal
  3. Shadow Sun
  4. Scorpion Flower
  5. Moon In Mercury
  6. Hers Is The Twilight
  7. Dreamless (Lucifer And Lilith)
  8. Spring Of Rage
  9. First Light

Band Lineup:
Fernando Ribeiro – Vocals
Mike Gaspar – Drums
Pedro Paixão – Guitars & Keyboards
Ricardo Amorim – Guitars & Keyboards

Total Time = 44:20

Moonspell official website
Moonspell MySpace page

I haven’t picked up a Moonspell album in a long time, I think the last one was DARKNESS & HOPE (2001), and I haven’t given any of the albums I own a spin in a long time. When I started to read the press releases on the new album, NIGHT ETERNAL, I decided it was time to “re-discover” Moonspell and get prepared for a new album. Taking a listen back to older albums like DARKNESS & HOPE, WOLFHEART (1995), and IRRELIGIOUS (1996), I remembered the myriad of sounds and styles that the band has always used. On NIGHT ETERNAL, Moonspell have taken all those different styles and blended them into one of the most unexpected surprises of 2008!

Opening track ‘At Tragic Heights’ starts off with grand orchestration and a spoken word intro that continues to build until the hammer falls and the band kicks into high gear. The drums start to roll, the guitars get a little faster moving into the main riff, the keyboards build up the sound and then Fernando Ribeiro’s death metal growls take center stage. The music is sweeping and atmospheric, a very full heavy sound, a great start to set the tone for the entire album. The title track comes in next with another quiet intro that leads into the heavy guitar and Mike Gaspar’s double bass drumming. This song is absolutely driven by the drums mirroring the main riff and the growls and shrieks surrounded by the keyboard flourishes really helps enevelop the song with sound. ‘Shadow Sun’ sounds very gothic with a spoken word vocal that gives it an eerie/spooky feel until the drums kick in and Ribeiro growls through the speakers only to return to the spoken word chant. Three songs in and it’s very apparent that the vocals and drums are excellent but the guitars from Paixão & Armorim are heavy as hell intertwined with the keyboards.

Moonspell collaborates with former The Gathering singer Anneke Van Giersbergen on ‘Scorpion Flower’ to provide what is probably the most accessible song on the album, no surprise that it’s the first single and video. It’s a mid-paced song that reminds me of Giersbergen’s former band’s work on MANDYLION (1995) but with a deep male voice trading off with Anneke’s pure vocal beauty. Obviously I really enjoyed this song due to my allegiance to mid-90s Moonspell and The Gathering, I got into both bands around the same time. ‘Moon in Mercury’ immeadiately reminds us that Moonspell is powerful and the clean vocals from the previous track are replaced with a Death/Black Metal crush and driving guitars but with that atmpspheric keyboard. ‘Here is The Twilight’ continues the combination of the Gothic Metal mid-tempo spoken word with the Death Metal flourishes while ‘Dreamless (Lucifer And Lilith)’ sounds similar to ‘Scorpion Flower’ with it’s symphonic/gothic slower pace and swirling slower riffs. Back to a faster pace from the opening riff, ‘Spring Of Rage’ moves from mid-pace to fast pace and spoken word to growls giving the song continued variety. The last song, ‘First Light’, begins with an acoustic guitar/keyboard intro that moves into the main electric riff. Everything slows down for more spoken word from Ribeiro (until the bridge) where he uses his growls. The orchestration is superb with female choir vocals but not overbearing, a perfect blend.

Bottom Line:
The best Moonspell album I’ve heard in a long time! Every song is strong with a variety of styles blending into each other to provide a heavy, scary, and beautiful soundscape. Everything fits so well together: the different vocal deliveries, the guitars and keyboards blending together, the drums driving the album, and the orchestration enhancing each track. The album is dark and brooding at the same time it’s beautiful and grand, a solid blend of gothic with Death/Black Metal. One of the best albums so far this year!

Favorite songs: ‘Scorpion Flower’, ‘Night Eternal’, ‘At Tragic Heights’, Dreamless (Lucifer & Lilith)’, ‘Moon In Mercury’

CD Scavenger Hunt – 6/24/08

Yes! It’s time for another Hunt!

The main reason I went out on the hunt was the new Motley Crue album, SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES, but I also wanted to cross off a few albums on the list of 2008 releases I’ve missed. Of course, I took my two daughters with me and, in the chaos of getting them out the door, I left my list on the kitchen table! Here’s what I grabbed…..

Motley Crue – Saints Of Los Angeles (2008) – $9.99: The new Crue was the main reason I left the house at 9:45am Tuesday to wait outside my local Newbury Comics. I had a coupon in had to get the album for $9.99 and I was more than happy to get the album on sale. Looking online today, I noticed that Best Buy had a limited exclusive with a bonus DVD for the same price! Ugh! Well, I’m not going out and buying the Best Buy version too because I don’t need the ‘Saints Of L.A.’ video, the press conference, and the two live tunes they did. I guarantee the band releases a new live DVD after this tour and this will be included.

Týr – Land (2008) limited edition – $12.88: I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of LAND from Napalm Records (thanks Napalm!) to review. I listened to LAND for weeks and posted a review but I wasn’t satisfied with owning the promo. The promo came in a cardboard slipcase (no booklet, etc.) and the music is watermarked with a few voiceovers on some of the songs saying, “You are listening to the new Týr album…Land.” Now I can’t have that! The limited edition is a double CD digipak with a bonus DVD of Týr’s performance at Wacken 2007 and a full color booklet of course.

Annihilator – Metal (2007) – $11.88: I have been waiting almost two years to pick this album up! METAL was available thru the official Annihilator website in late 2006 as a web-only purchase and then it got a proper worldwide release (except North America) on SPV in early 2007. Of course, the album finally got a U.S. release earlier this year but it was still around $18! There has been one copy floating around the local record store since last year and they just put a sale tag on it now…..bought! Saved myself $6 by waiting, I hope it was worth it because Annihilator is one of those bands I always look forward to hearing new material from.

Brimstone – Carving A Crimson Career (1999) – $10: This was actually a recent Ebay purchase. I recently got a press release from Metal Mind about their reissue of this album in the upcoming months, they have a licence to a lot of the Nuclear Blast back catalogue from the ’90s. Anyway, the cover art struck me as goofy so I wanted to hear the album. Picked this up for $6 plus $4 shipping… I don’t need the reissue…..I still haven’t given this a spin.

Heavy Metal In Baghdad DVD (2008) – $14.99: This was on my list for last week’s Judas Priest hunt but the local shop only stocked two and they were sold out when I got there. I always like hearing Metal from different parts of the world so this documentary on Iraq’s Acrassicauda was a must have. I bought the limited edition with 90 mins of bonus material.