Moonspell – Extinct (Napalm Records)

  Van Muylem    23 november 2015

Portuguese pioneers Moonspell first brought the dark flames to their native country – and then set the rest of the world aflame with milestones such as Irreligious or Night Eternal. Their eleventh studio album Extinct lets Fernando Ribeiro`s dark vocals collide with modern riffing, blackened melodies and operatic grandeur.  It’s a shot in the rose! Sure thing is that they didn’t played the easiest and the safest way, using Arabic influences and presenting us pretty prophetic lyrics!

Back to the music with the first track Breathe (until we are no more): it starts slowly with soft and very melancholic vocals and a symphonic sound. After a while hammering drums and grunting fully make it bloom, but pretty fast it slows down again and receives an American stadium rock sound.  The anger gets blown out mixed with Arabic instruments/sounds (kinda like violins). The chorus is pretty catchy. It’s already a first highlight as it feels like a pearl! Mind the lyrics! Extinct has a industrial goth feel and  a high drive with sharp roaring guitars. We hear more raging and some melancholy. This one is simply a well-crafted diamond and  a perfect title track for the album! Guitar lovers will also adore the solo’s!  Once again the melancholic and catchy sound gets into my head and calls it yet another highlight!

Medusalem can’t be anything else but a little wink to what’s happening nowadays or the biggest coincidence! Enjoy the Arabic feel and the lyrics, enforced by the symphonic sound! I feel it a bit like a marching order! The land of honey and pain, we shall free her from the chains … with common sense! Nice lyrics! Once again the guitars play an important role and lift it to a higher level! Domina brings us a softer side (vocal wise and sound wise). I would describe it as a mix between the vocals of Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode) and Xandria’s music: it’s a dramatic, symphonic and very melancholic dark heavy metal ballad! It’s yet another highlight! The Last of us is more a mix between Type O Negative/The 69 Eyes and The Mission/The Sisters of Mercy. I cherish the melancholic touch and the hopeful lyrics. The positive feel is not alone, there’s a sword of Damocles close by. Malignia is another soft one until the vocal outburst gives rage a red color! I hear more synths in it than in the previous tracks.

Funeral Bloom is yet another gothic Metal highlight, just as A dying Breed. Both songs are excellent reasons to see them live (they actually just played a sold out gig in Huy (Belgium), after a very successful passage in France (not afraid of terrorists at all, now that the highest alarm codes has gone off in France and Belgium). This last one brings us close to the reality with another ton of gold stuff called The Future is Dark. Yeah, it’s not giving much hope! Sometimes there is just not enough light! The guitars sound very into the 80’s, really into Gothic! La Baphomette  refers to a little statue that temple knights use to worship (it’s an occult item). The song is mainly sung in French, the music comes close to cabaret with early 1920’s influences and Bertolt Brechts! Well, it’s a bit a strange end, but that also means that they don’t want to be like all the other bands and choose the hard way and followed their own mind and own idea’s!

This album is simply filled with highlights, despite the fact that they choose to take risks. I can only bow for so much quality in the end result! Moonspell is here to stay!