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...
Reviewed By: Thomas Mitchell