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Moonspell - Memorial CD (album) cover

MEMORIAL

Moonspell

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

2.94 | 18 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Nhorf
2 stars From the black metal inspired music of their first demos, to the heaviness of Wolfheart, from the acessible Sin/Pecado, to the gothic influenced Darkness and Hope... Yeah, Moonspell isn't one of those bands like Motörhead, that keep making similar music over and over again (note that I'm NOT saying that that's a bad thing). They have changed their style countless times and, thanks to it, gathered a very varied fanbase around Europe.

And guess what? With Memorial, the band changes again its sound. Indeed, the biggest difference between this and the other Moonspell records lies in the emphasis on the keyboard playing. The songs are more keyboard-driven and, although it works well sometimes (Memento Mori, Once It Was Ours), I still miss the guitar-driven tracks of, say, Irreligious. And why are the songs so keyboard-driven? Because of the production, of course. Although all the instruments are audible (minus the bass, meh), the keyboards are WAY too loud.

Despite all the problems with the production, the guitar work is fine. Not great, not horrible, just fine. There are some pretty good riffs here and there, in fact. My biggest complaint about the guitar is, however, the lack of soloing. Ricardo Amorim had already proved that he is one hell of a guitar player; check out the solos of Everything Invaded and of the Mr.Crowley cover. So, I really don't understand why the band doesn't let him play a solo more often. It's a total waste of talent! However, he plays some relatively interesting acoustic guitar interludes on the record (Sons of Earth and Mare Nostrum) too. And what about the vocals? Brilliant, of course. Fernando Ribeiro is, undoubtely, one of my favourite singers ever. On this album, he growls on almost every song, but he doesn't use his clean voice many times, and that is a shame, as his clean voice is beautiful.

After a short intro (In Memorian), we are lead into a journey of aggression; indeed, Finisterra is among the most brutal songs of the record (or perhaps, among the most brutal songs the band ever recorded), mainly thanks to the outstanding vocal performance and to the strong double bass attack. There is also a fine breakdown on the track and its main riff is pretty catchy. Memento Mori is listenable, containing calm and aggressive sections and, again, very good vocals.

After Sons of Earth, the atmospheric acoustic interlude (very reminiscent of Death's Voice of the Soul), we have four very similar songs (Upon the Blood of Men, Blood Tells, At the Image of Pain, Sanguine) that represent one of the biggest flaws of the album: the repetitive songwriting. Don't get me wrong; there are bands that know how to compose albums full of songs that follow the same structure, but with this record there are too much “cut and paste”. This may work well on some songs, but certainly doesn't work with these four tracks.

Luna features a duet between Fernando Ribeiro with a female singer, which, surprisingly doesn't work bad at all. This song had, actually, a huge sucess here in Portugal, and it was chosen to be the second Memorial single. About Best Forgotten, the last track... Disappointing. I mean, don't get me wrong, the song is, perhaps, the best of the album. When I saw the track lenght, I was surprised... 14 minutes! Wow, Moonspell composed an epic! Itt begins greatly, the first six minutes being very brutal, in the vein of the other tracks of the record. Then, surprisingly, all the musicians stop playing. Wow, “what a breakdown!” I thought, the first time I heard the tune. 10 seconds of silence, 20 seconds of silence, 30, 50, 1 minute, 1 minute and 30 seconds of silence, 1 minute and 40 seconds of silence, TWO MINUTES OF SILENCE, and then, surprise, surprise... A wolf begins to howl. Then, I thought that the band would start playing again at any moment but... Well, the rest of the song is just filled with more howls and some strange keyboard sounds. WHAT THE HELL?! Why has the song 14 minutes, when it only has 6 of pure music? Why add the howls? 30 seconds of howls would work well as an outro, but nearly seven minutes of howls? What a waste of time...

Meh, this album certainly has its moments, a good atmosphere and some amazing vocals and drum lines, but the over-use of the keyboards and the poor songwriting of some songs harm the whole listening experience. If you want to check out Moonspell, get the debut, Wolfheart, instead of this average and boring record.

Best moments of the CD: -beginning of Finisterra; -the beautiful acoustic lines of Sons of Earth.

WORST MOMENT OF THE CD: -the last, hm, EIGHT minutes of Best Forgotten.

Nhorf | 2/5 |

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