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Moonspell: Memorial

Portugal's masters of gothic and progressive death metal return with Memorial, a dark and atmospheric album that also really kicks some serious ass. The band has spent much of the last few years on the road touring with the likes of Opeth, Cradle of FIlth, Type O Negative, Kreator, Amophis, and Samael, but the extra mileage that the band has acquired seems to have invigorated them, as Memorial shows the band as powerful and creative as ever.

There's a bevy of solid tunes here, like the dense and epic death metal meets gothic rock of "Memento Mori", or the intense prog rock piece "Finisterra", complete with gothic keyboards and growling vocals. There's lots of keyboards on the album to go along with the crushing guitar work, as both Pedro Paixao and Ricardo Amorim tackle that department very well. Vocalist Fernando Ribeiro is very adept at switching from intense growls to smooth gothic crooning, in many cases he adds both techniques in the course of one song. A song like "Upon the Blood of Men" features strong keyboard orchestrations, sledgehammer guitars, manic drum work from Mike Gaspar, and gravelly vocals from Ribeiro, all combining to give the music a rich and epic feel. Much of the lyrical content on the album deals with Portuguese history and literature, as Ribeiro is a very big proponent of both and likes to incorporate them into the music of Moonspell. Other standout tracks include the crushing & symphonic "At the Images of Pain", the clasically inspired prog rock instrumentals "Proliferation", "Sons of Earth", and "Mare Nostrum", and the gothic doom of "Luna", the latter featuring some haunting keyboards, guest female vocals, and melodic clean vocals from Ribeiro.

Memorial is yet another strong album from these Portuguese masters, and will no doubt please their expanding fan base. Get ready to get caught under the spell of the moon.

Track Listing
1. In Memoriam (Intro)
2. Finisterra
3. Memento Mori
4. Sons Of Earth
5. Blood Tells!
6. Upon The Blood Of Men
7. At The Image Of Pain
8. Sanguine
9. Proliferation
10. Once It Was Ours!
11. Mare Nostrum
12. Luna
13. Best Forgotten
14. Atlantic

Added: August 29th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Moonspell Website
Hits: 3388
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Moonspell: Memorial
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-08-29 06:21:53
My Score:

In the genre of true Gothic Metal, there is no better band to bring it to the table than Moonspell. Heralded as the most successful Portuguese band ever, they return to us after a couple of year's absence from album releases with Memorial – it is an album that holds you in its dark grip from beginning to end without question. Musically this effort is one of the strongest I have heard from the Gothic Metal sector in my times observing the genre and to the bands credit, working with producer Waldemar Sorychta (Lacuna Coil, Sentenced, Tiamat) was probably the smartest thing they could have done with this album. Gloomy and intense instrumental intros lead you into a thunderous display of musical power that is so dramatic you feel as though you are listening to a horror movie put to music. "Finisterra" and "Mememto Mori" and among my favorite numbers along with "Sanguine" as they especially deal with darker subject matter and are written it would seem by Darkness itself. Leader Fernando is mesmerizing across the length of the album and as each song plays you can almost envision him atop a moonlit mountain as mists and other workings of the midnight sky happen all around him. Another track with heavy appeal is "Luna" which has a mostly clean vocal from Fernando along with the haunting voice of Brigit Zacher. Moonspell have outdone themselves with this recording and I feel that those who have only sampled the band before do themselves justice and grab a copy of Memorial. While it is not the bands first effort, it is very clearly their best to date. This will be an album that true Gothic Metal is gauged and rated against so other bands who deliver this aspect of the genre will do well to study it. I think the main part of the records appeal is the fact that it does not totally follow the Gothic definition by being overly depressing and melancholy. The keyboard use and the deeper clean vocals and guitar chord structure make the Gothic vibe come to life, but the album is also very energetic, heavy and darker than the abyss. A lyric and photo booklet is included which will serve to enrapture you more into the midnight world of Moonspell. This is an album for all fans of Atmospheric, Dark, Progressive and Gothic Metal. It's a winner from beginning to………………End.

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