Moonspell - Night Eternal Review
Original Author: steiner666
Album: Night Eternal
Genre: Doom/Gothic Metal
Year of Release: 2008
Moonspell is a metal band (as to what, exactly their sub-genre would be, I'm not really sure... to me they're a bit of a mix of Doom/Gothic/Death metal) from Portugal. Formed originally under the name Morbid God in the late 80's, they changed their name to Moonspell in the early 90's. They are one of my personal favorite bands, and I've been listening to them almost daily for almost a decade now! (wow, I feel old!) Their music is very atmospheric... they frequently use keyboards and sound samples to set the mood for their songs, and many of their songs have a very distinct, Mediterranean sound to them due to their incorporation of some exotic scales and occasional classical/folkish acoustic passages. There's a lot of depth, and very good dark, nocturnal themes to pretty much all of their albums. Needless to say, I was VERY excited to get a chance to preview their upcoming album "Night Eternal".
I was able to listen through the album in it's entirety, and I will say now that it is a very strong album, quite possibly my favorite of the year!
1. "At Tragic Heights" - A very epic opening number... really sets the mood and scale for the rest of the album.
2. "Night Eternal" - I love this song, heavy and great. Probably my favorite on the album, strong double-kicks and trem-picking with some awesome vocals and probably the best guitar work on the album. It's been stuck in my head all weekend.
3. "Shadow Sun" - A good, doomy number.... I like the bass guitar in this song on the verses, as well as the vocals. The guitar is pretty good too, especially the rhythm part around 2:30. "Life is meaningless..."
4. "Scorpion Flower" - A song featuring some rather unusually-clean vocal styles for Moonspell... I have to admit, after hearing that this song would have female vocals, I got pretty worried. I wasn't a fan of "Luna" on the Memorial album, and I didn't really dig "Coil" on Opeth's new "Watershed" album, so I was kinda expecting to just skip through the song. Surprisingly though, it's a very strong song. Good melody, good duet! This actually got stuck in my head too, and my gf loves it, so I suppose it will appeal to a wider range of people than most Moonspell songs do... and it does so while still feeling like a Moonspell song, so I'm alright with that. The guitar kinda takes a back-seat here, but there's excellent vocals.
5. "Moon In Mercury" - A nice, fast song to kick the pace back up a bit after the last song. Some good guitarwork here, lots of tremolo picking.
6. "Hers Is The Twilight" - Another faster song with some really catchy riffs and fills, and good moments of harmony.
7. "Dreamless (Lucifer And Lilith)" - Another slower, pretty, vocal-centered song like Scorpion Flower. Very mellow and somber, lyrically especially.
8. "Spring Of Rage" - Some cool guitar riffs here, and the vocals are nice and dynamic and sound very good!
9. "First Light" - With this track, the album ends as epically as it began. Great guitar! Excellent beast & beauty sort of vocals also. There's a lot of... feeling, for lack of a better word, to this song.
I can't think of any reason to give this album anything but a 10 here, it sounds perfect the whole way through. Everything, instrument and vocal-wise, has been nothing but improved, and there's nothing that I would change about this album, sound-wise especially.
This is a really hard thing to rate, IMO, because Moonspell was never one of the bands that made me think "guitar!" as soon as I hear the name (like Arch Enemy, CoB, Carcass, and such). That's not to say that they haven't had some impressive riffs and catchy melodies over the years ("Opium" comes to mind), but their music is just something that I listen to on a much bigger scale.. There's good guitar, sure, and that's essential in music for me... but there's a lot going on vocally and with the keyboards, and those things are just as, if not more, central to that Moonspell sound
This album, I think the guitarwork has been improved. There's a lot more faster guitar passages, tremolo picking, and there's solos that are more complicated than what I've heard on most of their previous releases. Also, Moonspell know how to break it up with some cleaner, calmer parts to their music, guitar included.
The tone of the guitars is also awesome on this album. I'm not exactly sure what they used to record them, but they're sponsored by Mesa Boogie, so probably rectifiers, and they sound thick and badass.
Lyrics are one of the strongest points with Moonspell, just listen to one of their songs and you'll realize this.
This is a very strong album. Unlike a lot of albums being released, there aren't any songs that I skip through... I just hit play and sit back and relax. Moonspell is one of those bands you should listen to in a dark (smokey) room for maximum mind-trippage effect.
Overall, I would have to say this is one of my top Moonspell albums! A+
If you want to check out a couple songs from "Night Eternal" and/or check out some songs from Moonspell's previous releases, head over to the bands (rather impressive) myspace page http://www.myspace.com/moonspell , and be sure to check out one of my personal favorites "Tenebarum Oratorium" from the bands recent release "Under Satanæ" while you're there!