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Moonspell: Night Eternal

Seems that the reigning kings of Portuguese extreme metal liked the whole process of returning to their roots with the re-recording of their earlier material under the moniker of 2007's Under Satanae, as this latest Night Eternal also sees the band tackling a more symphonic black metal approach, splashed with touches of their trademark gothic imagery. The formula really works here, the band sounding more powerful and confident than they have in years, Night Eternal filled with plenty of powerful screams & growls from frontman Fernando Ribeiro, thunderous guitar riffs courtesy of Pedro Paixao & Ricardo Amorim, jackhammer blast beats from Mike Gaspar, and tons of orchestral keyboards stuffed into the mix. Recorded at the famous Antfarm Studio owned by legendary producer Tur Madsen under the supervision of Waldemar Sorychta, this is a great sounding CD, chaotic & thunderous when it needs to be, symphonic & poignant on occasion when the album deserves a slight respite from the aggression. A perfect example of the latter is "Scorpion Flower", a gentle and majestic ballad featuring guest female vocals, plenty of hooks, and tasty instrumentation. As far as raging extreme metal pieces go, there are some stellar numbers here, like "At Tragic Heights", "Night Eternal", "Moon Is Mercury", and "Shadow Sun", each one destined to bring a smile to the face of every Dimmu Borgir fan who likes their black metal symphonic and dramatic. Both worlds meet on the gothic metal track "Hers Is the Twilight", while the orchestral doom of "Dreamless (Lucifer And Lilith)" brings to mind acts like My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost. It all makes for a very satisfying, well rounded affair from the lads from Portugal, who seem to have really settled into their position as one of the leaders of the gothic & symphonic black metal style quite well.

The limited edition contains a few bonus tracks as well as a bonus DVD with footage from the Wacken Open Air Festival 2007.

Track Listing
Disc: 1
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
10. Age Of Mothers (bonus track)
11. Scorpion Flower (bonus track)
Disc: 2
1. Finisterra (Wacken 2007)
2. Memento Mori (Wacken 2007)
3. Blood Tells (Wacken2007)
4. Finisterra (videoclip and making of)
5. Luna (videoclip)

Added: June 8th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Moonspell Website
Hits: 4376
Language: english

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Moonspell: Night Eternal
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-06-08 15:03:21
My Score:

Night Eternal firmly follows Moonspell's previous release Memorial, but also involves the dark atmospherics from the band's re-recorded CD Under Satanae. Those who enjoyed Memorial will definitely find Night Eternal of interest because it further expands on that style, with plenty of heavy vocal parts, dark keyboard textures, symphonic elements, and deeply melodic guitar lines.

The black metal aesthetic of their earlier material has partly been applied to some of these tunes, such as the album opener "At Tragic Heights", easily the most standout track on this disc. Starting with the creepy intro where dark, lingering keys engulf Fernando Ribeiro's trademark whispers and spoken lyrics, Moonspell venture into a fiercely heavy scorcher that also boasts a great interplay between guitars, keys, and bass (courtesy of Niclas Etelavuori from Amorphis) and concludes with Ribeiro's evil death growls. Speaking of which, there is plenty of growling and screeching on the album, but we also get to hear him switching to his calm gothic voice on some tunes. His hoarse, abrasive delivery on songs like "Night Eternal", complete with insanely fast drumming and tremelo picking; "Moon Is Mercury", highlighted by a gripping melodic guitar theme; and "Spring of Rage", a blend of jackhammer riffery and gothic keyboard exercise, is perfectly contrasted by his seamless switch to clean singing on the otherwise punishing "Shadow Sun", where he continues to repeat the lyrics "Life is meaningless!" until he is sure the listener has absorbed them.

Of all tracks, only two of them are sung with clean vocals: the clean-toned "First Light", noteworthy for its wonderful guitar layering and Ribeiro's assured vocal melody; and "Scorpion Flower", in which Ribeiro duets with Anneke van Giersbergen formerly of The Gathering. First, Ribeiro enters the piece singing over a simple yet effective guitar-keyboard synthesis and a steady, 4/4 drum beat. Then, van Giersbergen offers her instantly recognisable vibrato, doubling his vocal lines and eventually singing solo. In a way, this tune evokes her brilliant duet with Ulver's Garm on the Souvenirs album, but this one is less minimalistic and more guitar-friendly. On this album, Ricardo Amorim is given bigger space for guitar solos, one of which totally complements this piece.

The result is a blend of Moonspell's recent material injected with some of the more blackish atmospherics pre-Sin/Pecado, and while I've never been a big fan of the band's post-The Butterfly Effect material, I feel this one may be their best from that period yet.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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