Written by: TL on 19/04/2006 00:26:14

Veteran goth-metallers ”Moonspell” are back with their ninth album “Memorial”, and after experimenting with electronic elements on earlier albums, a cooperation with a Portuguese ballet company (!?!?), a horror-movie soundtrack and lately a label-change to SPV, the quartet is continuing the trend of the two latest albums, going even further back to their gothic/death/black metal roots.

The first thing you'll notice about this album is, that Moonspell has a very theatrical and atmospheric sound. The production on the album is excellent, and you’re clearly able to distinguish vocalist “Fernando Ribeiro’s” angry growling/singing from the guitars and synth’s that are spouting out a dark and infernal mood that makes you think that this is either the soundtrack for apocalypse itself or for something going on in the dark hellish wasteland Earth has been turned into afterwards.

So everything seems to be alright.. Wrooooong! There is something wrong with this album, and it simply suffers from being incredibly BORING. Four of the songs on this record (“Finisterra”, “Memento Mori”, “Upon The Blood of Man” and “Sanguine”) follows the same, very uninteresting composition. Some rather quiet parts leading up to some fast and heavy drum-pounding with Fernando screaming the chorus (usually the songs name) repeatedly. Throw in a couple of guitar solos that really don’t seem that amazing to me and you’ve got yourself almost a quarter album that isn’t really worth your time. Add the fact that four more tracks are just instrumental mood-setting interludes that aren’t really that interesting by themselves.

That leaves us with five tracks. Question is if they're any good then. Well the good thing is that something noteworthy seems to be happening in contradiction to the four earlier mentioned ‘concept songs’. “Blood tells!” has the same rather boring type of chorus as the other songs but at least there are some interesting guitar riffs going on, and the drums are playing with a bit of variety. “Luna” features a woman singing the chorus (again the name of the song) instead of Fernando growling it as usual. To me this feels sort of like a gimmick, but hey! It worked! At least I was able to remember this song apart from the others!

The last three songs are “At the Image of Pain”, “Once It Was Ours!” and “Best Forgotten”. The two former aren’t really that much more thrilling, but they weren’t boring enough for me to categorize them together with the “Not so fantastic four”. The album is closed by “Best Forgotten” which I think is supposed to be the epic climax of the record, but I just think it sounds like a longer version of the other songs. Oh and it’s got 7½ minutes of weird unnecessary forest-like ambience added to the end of it. Yay...

Now, chances are I might just not understand this genre very well, but I really don’t see anything in this album worth my continued attention. This is a record filled with songs that are boring, and songs that are more boring. What saves it from complete and utter oblivion is the really nice production level and the fact, that after all, the atmosphere on the album is rather well done. Too bad it serves as background for such boring action.


Download: Blood Tells!, Once it Was Ours!, Luna
For the fans of: Tiamat, Theatre of Tragedy
Listen: MySpace

Release date 21.04.2006
SPV Records
Provided by Target ApS

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