Moonspell - Memorial (SPV/Steamhammer) - Back
Well the year might confuse you, but yes, this is 2006 and Moonspell seem to have found the answer to "Wolfheart" that was so desperately leaving some early fans in the clutter with "Irreligious." Although as good as "Irreligious" was, this album brings Moonspell to a whole new level. "Memorial" is the title and encompasses 13 tracks and close to an hour of metal time. This is the first release that Fernando has utilized his black/death screaming and grunting more so than his vampiric, clean-style vocals. Although present on some choruses like on "Sanguine" and "Memento Mori," the clean vocals are left as an "extra." Now to the rest of the assets. The opening track, an instrumental called "In Memorium," is a soothing and hauntingly melodic black metal-like keyboard piece which is greeted at its end by the crushing "Finisterra" (track 2). This track hits you like a damned cyclone whizzing by your head! From there it gets good. "Memento Mori," "Blood Tells," "Upon the Blood of Men," all are very aggressive tracks. In fact, the lightest non-instrumental song is probably "Sanguine," but even that has a brutal chorus. The whole album is worth your while and does in no way get dull with overused vampiric clean vocals or leading keyboards that drown out the guitars. Actually, the keyboards are used more as a fill to the riffs this time. The riffs are typical of the early-Moonspell, but still as progressive as the material from "Darkness & Hope." Part of this is probably due to the fact that Mr. Paixão has picked up the guitar as well to assist Ricardo in giving the album a much heavier feel. One of the really good things I found out, as well, were the return of MORE guitar solos and some acoustic parts! A hail to Ricardo and Pedro! Hell, a strong hail to the entire band! Almost every track has one solo or at least a powerful enough rhythm that will satisfy the need for one. The bass guitar efforts (which I believe were done by long-time producer, Waldemar Sorychta) are of an almost progressive rock notion that makes this record feel very sophisticated and ahead of Moonspell’s competition in the dark & gothic metal world. The drumwork of Mr. Gaspar is nothing short of extraordinary. This album certainly gives you a glimpse of his capabilities with the double kicks and awesome combinations! All of this mastery is captured with a nice production (once again, handled by Waldemar Sorychta), but not overdone as a lot of albums are nowadays. The sound has that muddy, but very bass-friendly sound making Memorial a very heavy Moonspell album. On a final note... "Memorial" should reunite some of the early fans of the band as well as bring more death metal fanbase as this one is primarily death / black metal! A solid album thru n thru...

Rating:
94

Reviewed By: Thomas Mitchell