Moonspell – another band who can be compared to the likes of Paradise Lost, Samael, Tiamat, and all those other dark metal bands who emerged in the 1990s.
Who released genre defining albums, and then spent years experimenting with new sounds only to return heavier.
The differenceis that Moonspell’s recent material actually outshines their earlier stuff unlike many of the aforementioned.
They were gradually making their way back to heavier territory with ‘The Antidote’.
Then along came ‘Memorial’ and blew anything they had done previously out of the water -which was quickly followed by ‘Night Eternal’, in my opinion their strongest album to date.
And so onto the new one, ‘1775’ – a concept record about the Lisbon earthquake, which I will admit I know nothing about, and probably wont learn anything about through the lyrics as they are all in Portuguese.
I barely even noticed the language difference when listening to it so I don’t think that will dampen anyone’s overall enjoyment.
Things kick off in strange fashion though as we are treated to an orchestral version of ‘Em Nome do Medo’ which previously appeared on ‘Alpha Noir’. After about 1 minute in I even checked to see did I accidentally skip to the last song on the album. This goes on for 5 minutes and just seems like the oddest choice to open the album.
Then we are treated to the first proper track of the album which is also the title track of the album.
The first thing I noticed about this song was the orchestration. It’s much more prominent than on previous releases with more choirs and strings at the forefront of the song. Tasty guitar solo in it as well. But not that impressive as openers go.
Next up we have ‘In Tremor Dei’. This one has a cool groovy main riff and some cool additional vocals by a guy called Paulo Bragança who sings alongside Fabio in the chorus to good effect. The end of the song has some la-la-la’s which sound similar to Metallica’s ‘The Memory Remains’. Great track.
‘Desastre’ is up next. A short and snappy track with an excellent chorus that sounds really melodic at first but takes a nice dark turn half-way through and has deadly choirs floating over it. Another killer song.
It was only after these tracks that I noticed the production was not as full and meaty as on ‘Memorial’ and ‘Night Eternal’ which does take away from the heaviness of the songs.
Also what seems to be missing is the semi-thrash type riffs they had utilized on those albums which I loved. They seem to have concentrated more on the orchestral side on this album.
‘Abanão’ is fairly throw-away and is the first bit of filler we come across on the album. It just doesn’t do anything for me and I found my mind wandering while listening to it.
‘1 de Novembro’ hearkens back to ‘Under The Moonspell’ and ‘Wolfheart’ with its folky sound and shouted vocals from Fernando. Also ‘Ruínas’ has a nice Type-o-Negative sound to it and woludn’t have sounded out of place on ‘Omega White’.
‘Todos os Santos’ was the first single they released from the album and I can see why they led with that song. It pretty much sums up ‘1775’ in one song with an infectious main riff and throws in all the ingredients that can be found through-out the album.
Catchy riffs, Massive sounding choirs and strings and a chorus that will be with you for days after hearing it. Sweet little solo at the end then back into the chorus. One of the highlights of the album for sure.
Lanterna dos Afogados is the final track and it’s a cover song. A gloomy little track that ends the album on a bit of a downer, and not in a good way. This one bored me to tears and just goes nowhere.
So what we have in the end is 8 original songs with a bit of filler in the middle of the album and a false start to which was quite off putting at first.
But its worth getting for the tracks that are great on it. Because that is exactly what they are. The ones I dubbed filler don’t seem to be growing on me either and I’ve been listening to it quite a bit.
To be honest im a bit disappointed with this album considering the high quality of the previous ones. Im also a bit let down by the production and the lack of thrashy riffs and overall aggression.
Still, as I said the quality tracks are up there with their best.
3 / 5 – Ollie Gill ::: 11/12/17