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Moonspell - The Antidote CD (album) cover



Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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The T
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is my first full-length experience with MOONSPELL. I have heard a few songs before but "The Antidote" was the only album that I found in one of my local record stores (I since found a couple more), so I bought it right away and it has been my introduction to the music of this Portuguese progressive-metal band.

The music of MOONSPELL is, at least on this album, not-yet fully progressive, but there are many elements that point in that direction already. The best way to describe "The Antidote" would probably be as gothic-extreme-progressive metal. In one side, we have, definitely, extreme metal, a big influence from Black Metal to be more specific; on the other hand, the slow, pensive songs filled with distant, lush keyboards and dark but sensuous atmospheres give the album a distinct gothic flavor. Finally, the abundance of short instrumental passages and some experimentation with structures and especially with orchestration help MOONSPELL sound progressive, if not yet as much as in later efforts.

The songs are of average length, at about 5 minutes. Most of the structures are rather simple verse- chorus-verse ones, but some have special treatments in their form. The tempo of most tracks is usually moderate, not too-fast, not too-slow, even though it goes in both directions a few times. Guitars are the main drivers of this music with powerful riffs that are accentuated by grand, reverberating keyboards. There are some acoustic passages here and there that add to the variety. The vocals are of two kinds: on one hand we have regular extreme metal vocals, somewhere in the middle between low-pitched death grunts and high-pitched black growling; on the other hand, we have a rather lifeless, monotone, yet somehow seductive, clean gothic voice not unlike that of Peter Steele of TYPE O NEGATIVE if he was mixed with Johan Edlund of TIAMAT. Overall, the music also shows influences from these two bands, as well as black metal bands and more progressive bands like AMORPHIS (whose bassist plays on this record) or even OPETH.

The musicianship is very good if not dazzling. The vocals overpower the rest of the instruments for most of the album, but the guitar player and the keyboardist have their chance to shine, too. The drums are simple yet very effective. The bass is perfectly played by the Finnish guest. There are not many displays of technique but the playing is tight and precise, and one can easily detect the proficiency of these Portuguese musicians on "The Antidote".

The songs range from good to very good. The best probably are "Everything Invaded", which MOONSPELL wisely chose as their video in their homeland Portugal, "In and Above Men" a powerful opener that sets the mood for the rest of the album, and "As we Eternally sleep on it", the longest track. There are no weak songs here, but there aren't any outstanding masterpieces either.

All in all, an enjoyable experience that is hurt a little bit by the repetitive mood that permeates the album. A good introduction for the band and one that has convinced me to invest a little more time into another MOONSPELL release. 3.5 would be the real rating, but as that's unavailable, I'll round off this time, as I think giving it 4 stars would be unfair to some better album that have that rating.

Report this review (#179328)
Posted Sunday, August 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'The Antidote' - Moonspell (6/10)

Moonspell aren't going to make the music you would find typical of progressive metal. Alot of their stuff is alot more doomy and down-tempo than most, and while there is a bit of a forward-thinking attitude to them, you won't find the sort of stuff played here that the more adventurous bands play. In any case however, Moonspell is a talented band, and they show it through some very solid songwriting and thoughtful arrangements. While alot of this album is pretty dry and has a fair share of flaws, an above-average sense of songwriting ties the album together and makes it whole. There a a large dose of gothic flair here, thrown onto a death metal pallette. The singer constantly switches between a skilled growl and a basso profundo that can get extremely dry at times but after a few listens, it really dawns that this isn't the sort of metal that would benefit from having four-octave wails.

The title track is arguably the strongest track here, although alot of the songs are memorable in their own right. 'In & Above Man' segues seamlessly into the dark almost jungle-sounding percussive intro of 'From Lowering Skies.' 'Capricorn At Her Feet' has one of the most beautiful guitar solo segments you could possibly find on this album, although the rest of the song isn't quite up to par. 'Lunar Still' takes quite a while to get going but it's a dreamy segment that can be wholly enjoyable if you're in the mood for it. The final track, 'As We Eternally Sleep On It' is one of the tightest compositions, and something that doesn't adhere to songwriting convention. It builds up slowly- much like post-rock - and it leads into atmospheric guitar work that caps off the album.

'The Antidote' is tightly composed and produced, but it doesn't seem to really catch my attention in the way a really great album would. There are parts that are amazing, but it seems these are spread like too little butter over too much toast. A good album, but with not enough layering or ambition to make for a truly inspiring journey.

Report this review (#279387)
Posted Sunday, April 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Released in 2003, this album is spectacular from start to finish. Here we have the aggressiveness with the harmony that makes this band unique. Starting with "In and above men" and finishing with "As We Eternally Sleep on It", "The Antidote" for me is the pinnacle of creativity when it comes to moonspell. A hypnotic sound that fills the whole album. "Mike Gaspar" shows competence and do not let the stick fall into a single moment. "Fernando Ribeiro", a poet, lyricist, philosopher, no comments. "Pedro Paixão - keyboards" and "Ricardo Amorim - guitars" who are from the beginning the band already have the necessary linkage to plant this album as a milestone for the Moonspell. Without "Sergio Crestana" , who made an exquisite work on the previous album "Darkness and Hope", in its place called "Niclas Etelävuor" which also was not for the next album ... "From Lowering Skies" and "The Southern Deathstyle" require the ability to "Mike Gaspar" which increases the feeling of hypnosis at one time almost sublime. The first track until the fourth, it seems that the sky will fall ... "From Lowering Skies". The explosion happens with "The Southern Deathstyle" and then ... "Antidote" ... "Here is to Fear/For keeping us alert./And here is to Sleep/For making Understand". Although the sound becomes "softer" the majestic remains hypnotic time and a short but beautiful solo appears in the song "Capricorn at Her Feet". What to say about "Fernando Ribeiro" when he whispers in the final moments of that music to then emerge as an increasing breeze the sound of "Lunar Still" ... "I look outside and it's lunar still". "Pedro Paixao" managed to capture an atmosphere perfectly sombio, dark, mysterious on your keyboard to "Lunar Still". The awakening from a dream by vociferation of "F. Ribeiro" brings the eighth track on the album ... "A Walk on the Darkside". "Crystal Gazing" and "As We Eternally Sleep on It" are the last two tracks that keeps all the preciousness set by the band in this work. If the previous album clean vocals of "Ribeiro" has demonstrated maturity, then here the combination of clean vocals and guttural was excellent. Although not directly connected to an album "prog scene," the rhythmic variation exhibited by the band, the characteristic interpretive "Ribeiro" and the other members makes "The Antidote" an interesting album to listen. Experimentalism.
Report this review (#745235)
Posted Friday, April 27, 2012 | Review Permalink

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