Alpha Noir (Napalm Records)
By Mike Delano
Moonspell’s Alpha Noir is a solid slice of modern metal and another interesting chapter in the Portuguese band’s 20-year history. It succeeds by synthesizing lots of different metal influences into a cohesive sound without being too blatant about the source material. The mechanical stomp of “Axis Mundi” has shades of Samael, and “Versus” has a driving, fist-pumping quality to it that positions the song as a spiritual brother to Lamb of God’s “Redneck.” But there are no obvious “this is the Samael part” or “this is the Lamb of God part” moments since everything comes together in a lean nine-song suite. The best example of this is the standout title track, a rousing call to arms that, like everything on Alpha Noir, is subtly cloaked with the band’s overarching dark vibe.