by Scott Hefflon
Admittedly, I haven’t followed Moonspell in the last few years, but they seem much more urgent than I recall, focusing more on the metal than the Gothic. Which is good. Dark Tranquillity, Entwine, and To/Die/For pretty much nailed the “sobbing” vocal style, and unless yer Peter Steele, Carl McCoy, or Dani Filth, ya oughtta leave that vocal style to the masters as well. So Fernando Ribeiro opens with the “hard stuff,” and only about seven songs in does he start crying over spilt blood.
His deep croon, plus his Portuguese inflection, offer a nice alternative to clipped German industrial, Scandinavian frost, and American copycats. I may be a fan of Tiamat and Lucyfire, but let’s face it, the goofily catchy “Love for Love” is a far cry from the savage brutality of Wildhoney. On Memorial, Moonspell again employ the knob-turning of Waldmar Sorychta (Lacuna Coil, Tiamat), so it’s all clear and upfront, no muddy guitars, the keyboard shimmers feeling like icicles on your spine.
The songs hover mostly mid-tempo, no Dimmu Borgirian racing, no “Gothic power ballads” so you can wave your lighter in the air, trying to set God on fire. The slow, dramatic moments are offered only as counterpoint to the steady pummel, the sparse acoustic fingerpainting and electronic “aren’t we mature?” atmospherics offsetting dirges that’d make Celtic Frost smile, had they stayed on the sidelines.
A good hour of contemplation of demons internal and external, death, the cosmos, and history.