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Moonspell - Irreligious CD (album) cover



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3 stars Boy, I love this album. It reminds of good ol' days of my youth, when I worshiped Gothic and Doom Metal, days when I played in a Doom/Death band, days when everything seemed so fresh and intriguing. Ribeiro's accented voice was so sincere, and songs like 'Full Moon Madness', 'Awake' or 'Mephisto' were so good, so powerful, filled with dark energy. I still listen to them from time to time, and the whole album is one of MOONSPELL's best, even yet good, a lil' bit out of fashion now, but a real revolution back in those times. A Must for every Gothic Doom Metal fan and a nice addition to almost any Metalhead collection, 'Irreligious' has little to offer to most Prognerds around, but I love it still. Nostalgia is the strongest feeling in every person's life, you know ;) 2.5 on Prog scale, 4 on personal one, 3 for PA as a result. Recommended anyway!
Report this review (#178662)
Posted Saturday, August 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars No doubt, one of the most awsome albums ever in the metal field, and one of my fav albums either. Great goth - symph sound with a lot of metal twists with dark tendencies. For me the best track is Ruin and mysery, just a great piece of metal with great vocals, and the main track from this album Opium, the rest are also good. So 4 stars for this great album, maybe their best so far, and far more better than the previous who was more black metal and better than the next ones who is more mainstream and polished.
Report this review (#178676)
Posted Saturday, August 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Irreligious is the second full-length studio album by Portuguese goth/ doom metal act Moonspell. The album was produced by Waldemar Sorychta and released through Century Media Records in 1996.

While there are still hints of Moonspell´s black metal past on Irreligious the music on the album is largely a departure from that sound. The goth rock/ metal elements that were already present on the debut album Wolfheart (1995) are much more pronounced on this album. The closest musical reference is probably goth/ doom metal act Paradise Lost ( from One Second (1997) onward) but Moonspell definitely have their own sound. Goth rock bands from the eighties like Sisters of Mercy and The Mission also comes to mind more than one time during the 42:39 minute long playing time.

The vocals are deep and occasionally semi growling with an obvious accent which in this case actually gives the music an exotic twist. It could have been a problem but isn´t. There are lots of keyboards in the music and they work to create a dark atmosphere. The guitar, bass and drums are good but nothing special IMO. They work well to create a whole though. But this is not the kind of music where you should go to seek technical musical challenges. There are plenty of dark goth atmosphere here so if that´s to your taste this album will certainly deliver.

The production is warm and professional.

Irreligious is the logical successor to Wolfheart IMO. A more mature and coherent album than its predecessor. 3 stars is deserved.

Report this review (#221664)
Posted Thursday, June 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars On this second album Moonspell seem to dial back the black metal and folk influences which had made their debut such an interesting cocktail and instead choose to focus on gothic metal with some symphonic flourishes. In most cases, I'd be bewailing the fact that their sound had shifted from something unique to something a little more generic, but the album is saved by the fact that Moonspell are actually damn good at the gothic metal game and are able to deliver a solid and enjoyable album in this style. Just don't expect another Wolfheart going in, because I honestly don't think we're going to get one of those.
Report this review (#1077634)
Posted Saturday, November 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars While many second wave black metal bands jumped on the bandwagon and rode the wave of the template set down by bands like Mayhem and Darkthrone like a surfer in the Hawaiian Islands, some bands that started out that way jumped in and felt more like Jamaican bobsledders so they decided the status quo wasn't quite for them. Such is the case for the Lisbon, Portugal based MOONSPELL that emerged in 1994 with the debut EP "Under The Moonspell" as a decent but indistinct black metal band but by the time they released the first full-length debut "Wolfheart" a year later, the band started to find its own niche in the quickly exploding scene. While still steeped in black metal, MOONSPELL laced it with a healthy dose of gothic metal inspired by bands like Tiamat, Type O Negative and The Gathering along with some various strains of European folk which together created a rather unique sound in the metal world.

Despite this early development of their own making, MOONSPELL abandoned this metal hybrid as quickly as it had established it and on the sophomore album IRRELIGIOUS, the black metal was totally jettisoned altogether with much of the folk music thrown by the wayside as well. What was left was a more gothic rock infused style that while tamping down the metal in general and replacing it with eerie Gregorian chants and symphonic organ sounds, still had enough metal mojo to qualify it as a metal band but in general, the gothic touches produced a more stylized production job that relied on a tapestry of instrumental sounds to create gloomy atmospheres and romantic visions of Romanian castles with blood thirsty counts on the hunt for another fix. The metal, while still quite abrasive at times had been reserved only for crescendoes and contrasts from the otherwise symphonic dominant melodrama.

The difference between IRRELIGIOUS and "Wolfheart" is stark and immediate as the album begins with a soundtrack sounding intro called "Perverse? Almost Religious" which takes spooky church organs and choral chants to evoke a full moon lit night journey into the graveyard and beyond. As "Opium" begins the nosedive into the world of everything goth, it's also noticeable that the black metal guitar distortion has been replaced by a slicker guitar fuzz that plays in tandem with a hypnotic bass groove and slowed down percussive drive. Likewise, vocalist Fernando Ribeiro almost abandons any harsh screamed vocals except for the most dramatic moments and opts for romantic spoken poetic prose along with the clean Type O Negative style that sounds like Count Dracula has decided to make a mini-opera about his perverse proclivities.

"Wolfheart" displayed a strong sense of melodic hooks and IRRELIGIOUS continues this trend with eleven strong tracks that create instant gratification but it's really the compositional flare that makes this such a strong album. The carefully timed developments of the dynamics, tones, timbres and bursts of aggression work out incredibly well and no moments feel like they wear out their welcome nor do they feel rushed. This is just one of those albums that teeters on the balance between too pop and too dark but somehow has enough elements of both sides of the spectrum to please. The tracks are diverse with some ranging on the slower side like "Ruin & Misery" which exudes a slow oozing use of keyboards, crunchy guitar riffage and nonchalant tempo changes. The musicians also show some extended range in their playing abilities. While the drummer simply known as Mike more or less just keeps a beat, on tracks like "For A Taste Of Eternity" he shows a flare for extremely complex polyrhythms and percussive dominance.

Overall the keyboards and samples of Pedro Paixão play the dominant role with the recording of Aleister Crowley reading his own poem "The Poet" on the track "Awake" which exemplifies the occult feel of the album as a whole. IRRELIGIOUS is a nicely paced album that is ultimately an atmospheric gothic rock album with metal touches that take it to heavy heights at key moments. The alternating forces of the symphonic rock and the more sonorous metal sections works quite well as do the stylistic percussion changes and guitar sounds that range from echoey clean to the intemperate unleashed loudness. MOONSPELL was one of those bands that couldn't quite decide where they wanted to stay for long and despite crafting a cleverly cool and wickedly wild ride with this goth metal classic, the band would change things up again and get more experimental on the following "Sin / Pecado" but for this one at least MOONSPELL proved that they had an incredibly keen sense of what it takes to craft the perfect sensual sensibilities that make a great goth rock / metal album.

4.5 rounded down

Report this review (#2167459)
Posted Wednesday, March 20, 2019 | Review Permalink

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