By Loki, the 9th studio album Night Eternal of the Portuguese band Moonspell is hard chow. You really need to listen to this jumble of tracks a few times and apply some goodwill at first. And I mean really go for it!
To take it all in IS tough – blackened, darkly ominous Gothic Metal sounds emerging from my earphones. Brutal, technically very demanding, riffs and harsh vocals assaulting your eardrums and virtually marching through your brain. If it is not burned away – that is – after listening to this record repeatedly.
But then the vampire or the thing that dwells in the darkness inside you will wake and you start to like this harsh tune served with a metal hammer by our Southern friends. With some reservations. They do push the limits – but then again Moonspell are known to do just that and vary their tune from one album to the other. And you need to be in the mood to make do with all that screaming and growling in there.
And speak about deep, dark and dreary! The Portuguese gig Moonspell are without any doubt masters at painting that kind of picture. Right from the beginning, Night Eternal projects this image of vampiric horrors on a moonless night. This is by itself already a feat to be reckoned with.
The intro At Tragic Heights already sets the scene. This one hits like a thunderclap. Dark, magical, brutal – and difficult to digest. Showing you Night Eternal‘s dark and deranged soul already.
The next two tracks Night Eternal (title) and Shadow Sun contain some stellar metal moments in all their faux thrash splendor – in parts. These two are really for metal purists. Other metal fans abstain – a really tough and stony piece of work. Undoubtedly very flawlessly produced and hellishly complicated to write and play, but holy cow, this is pretty wild creativity.
With these stone crunchers out of the way, the good stuff starts with Scorpion Flower featuring Anneke Van Giersbergen (ex The Gathering, The Gentle Storm). It serves us with a mix of sinister, clear vocals and some really epic Gothic Metal, sprinkled with Anneke’s backing vocals in there. Typical Moonspell fare, by the way. Very nice, that.
Then, just to remind us what Night Eternal is all about, Moon in Mercury goes full Melodic Death Metal on you – no Anneke this time. Harsh, speedy, just good. Hers is the Twilight first tries to lull you into some clear voice texts, then all of a sudden goes rashly growly on ye.
Well, hells bells – this is how it goes on until the bitter end, but now get this: They go full Insomnium on you (well kind of…). In the last track First Light, a very powerful song with a stellar riff to boot. This one is – undoubtedly – my favorite track together with Scorpion Flower. And I had to wait for a very long time to get to the really good stuff.
So, Night Eternal is a real darkly ominous hammer blow. Thor’s mighty sledgehammer in use, no doubt. There is so much red meat in there, even a great carnivore gets overwhelmed. Whilst some of that stuff is really brutally hard as shit, the majority of the tracks are very rock solid Moonspell. Dark, brutal, complex and – again – flawlessly produced.
The whole album exudes a deep, dark and very aggressive flavor that is prevalent everywhere on all the tracks. Regardless if Moonspell deliver clear or harsh vocals. Night Eternal is most definitely darker than their newest album Extinct.
You really need to find the vampire in you to get to like this album. But once you do, you will find it darkly suitable to your newfound ethereal tastes. Do I feel my teeth growing or is it just me?