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Moonspell - Wolfheart CD (album) cover

WOLFHEART

Moonspell

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.84 | 36 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Nhorf
4 stars fter releasing some demos, Moonspell finally got their shit together and released a record, Wolfheart. After giving some spins to the album, there is one thing that shines the most: its variety. It's incredible how many influences and different elements are present on this piece.

Take the opener, Wolfshade, for example. Ok, there are black and doom metal elements there, but if you pay attention to the tempo changes and the breakdowns, you will find the truth. Yes, progressive metal influences, baby. On other hand, An Erotic Alchemy, the longest song of the album, is an authentic atmospheric song, Midnight Ride screams hard rock influence (wow, who would say, hard rock on a Moonspell record), Lua D'Inverno is a chilling acoustic piece and Vampiria is, probably, the only pure black metal song of the record. Ah, and Trebaruna and Ataegina are both folk tunes, with a good use of keyboards.

Okay, a bit confusing, eh? Let's sum up all the different elements and influences shown on the album: -progressive metal; -gothic metal; -black metal; -doom metal; -hard rock; -folk metal. Woow, SIX different genres inside ONE album. Well, I know, there are a lot of bands out there that incorporate different elements into their own sound; however, many of them fail to deliver consistent records. Why? Because having too many influences causes you to write very divergent and inconsistent material. As a result, the albums sound, obviously, bad and disjointed.

Moonspell gathered all those influences, but certainly didn't delivered a bad record with Wolfheart. Despite all the differences between the tracks, the record sounds great as a whole and is very cohesive. The only big flaw of it is, unfortunately, Fernando Ribeiro's vocal performance. I mean, I hope everybody here knows what a great vocalist he is, but, meh, on this record he just sounds like a common growler. His clean vocals aren't that good yet too; he improved a lot lately.

On other hand, Pedro Paixão (the keyboard player) does a great work: the keyboard sound isn't too loud nor low in the mix, and that benefits his playing. Listen to the beautiful textures created by his instrument, during the acoustic part of Wolfshade: wonderful! Another good performance is delivered by Ricardo Amorim, the guitar player. He is allowed to solo (now, unfortunately, the band doesn't let him solo too much) and that is definitely a plus. He also plays an interesting acoustic interlude, called Lua D'Inverno, but that's not his best acoustic piece, the best one has got to be the amazing Sons of Earth, out of the Memorial album.

Highlights? Almost every thing. The opener is a winner, a true blend of progressive with black metal. It features an interesting acoustic intro, a nice build-up and a gorgeous breakdown, where all of Amorim's guitar talents are shown. It is, probably, one of the best songs Moonspell ever compose - it's right there, struggling with Everything Invaded for the prize. Trebaruna has portuguese lyrics and talks about a goddess of the Lusitanian Mythology. An Erotic Alchemy was the first Moonspell song I ever heard, and is very atmospheric, with a lot of sections and some good keyboard riffs here and there. All the other tracks are good and worth listening, except for...

Alma Mater. Yes, I know that a lot of reviewers praised the song as being one of the best of the band, but I can't help but think that that track is, in fact, VERY overrated. Okay, the riffage is pretty decent, and so is the relatively catchy chorus, but hey!, this song isn't even able to clean Wolfshade's socks! It's not a horrible song, but when you have got a decent track among a lot of very good ones, you notice the difference, you know.

Heavy riffage, competent drum work, folk-ish keyboard lines, acoustic guitars and audible bass, that's what you can expect from this record. If you think that the extremely unidimensional Memorial is good, check out this record. This is the zenith, the magnum opus of the band. And if you bear in mind that Moonspell is a portuguese group and that, in Portugal, there is little or no promotion for metal bands, you will be surprised with the quality of this piece. Definitely recommended.

One last word to the amazing production and to the fantastic artwork (well, in fact BOTH artworks kick ass, but I definitely prefer the original one, with the wolves watching the sky, it perfectly fits the mood of the record, in my opinion). Oh, and another thing... Don't pay too much attention to the bonus track, Ataegina, as it sounds like a bad imitation of Trebaruna. Meh.

Nhorf | 4/5 |

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