Moonspell – Night Eternal (2008, SPV)
- At Tragic Heights
- Night Eternal
- Shadow Sun
- Scorpion Flower
- Moon In Mercury
- Hers Is The Twilight
- Dreamless (Lucifer And Lilith)
- Spring Of Rage
- First Light
Fernando Ribeiro – Vocals
Mike Gaspar – Drums
Pedro Paixão – Guitars & Keyboards
Ricardo Amorim – Guitars & Keyboards
Total Time = 44:20
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.
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’