MOONSPELL

Gothic Metal / Black Metal • Portugal
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Moonspell is a Portuguese black metal/dark metal band with death metal and doom metal elements. Moonspell was formed in 1989 as Morbid God. After renaming themselves Moonspell in 1992, they released their first EP Under the Moonspell in 1994, a year before of the release of their first album Wolfheart. The band quickly gained status and became one of the most recognizable metal bands from Portugal.

The early days (1992-1994) Although they had been playing since 1989 under the name of "Morbid God", the band became Moonspell in 1992, the same year they released the promo track "Serpent Angel". In 1993, singer Fernando Ribeiro , drummer Mike Gaspar and bass player Ares (not to be confused with Aires Pereira) released the demo Anno Satanae, which caught the attention of French label Adipocere. It was for Adipocere that Moonspell released in 1994 a mini-album entitled Under the Moonspell. The record was
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MOONSPELL Discography

MOONSPELL albums / top albums

MOONSPELL Wolfheart album cover 4.22 | 24 ratings
Wolfheart
Gothic Metal 1995
MOONSPELL Irreligious album cover 4.19 | 21 ratings
Irreligious
Gothic Metal 1996
MOONSPELL Sin / Pecado album cover 3.36 | 11 ratings
Sin / Pecado
Gothic Metal 1998
MOONSPELL The Butterfly Effect album cover 3.28 | 9 ratings
The Butterfly Effect
Gothic Metal 1999
MOONSPELL Darkness and Hope album cover 3.75 | 12 ratings
Darkness and Hope
Gothic Metal 2001
MOONSPELL The Antidote album cover 3.35 | 16 ratings
The Antidote
Gothic Metal 2003
MOONSPELL Memorial album cover 3.68 | 11 ratings
Memorial
Gothic Metal 2006
MOONSPELL Under Satanæ album cover 3.83 | 18 ratings
Under Satanæ
Gothic Metal 2007
MOONSPELL Night Eternal album cover 3.88 | 11 ratings
Night Eternal
Gothic Metal 2008
MOONSPELL Alpha Noir / Omega White album cover 3.68 | 9 ratings
Alpha Noir / Omega White
Gothic Metal 2012
MOONSPELL Extinct album cover 3.62 | 4 ratings
Extinct
Gothic Metal 2015
MOONSPELL 1755 album cover 3.67 | 3 ratings
1755
Gothic Metal 2017

MOONSPELL EPs & splits

MOONSPELL Under the Moonspell album cover 3.50 | 6 ratings
Under the Moonspell
Black Metal 1994
MOONSPELL Goat on Fire / Wolves From the Fog album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Goat on Fire / Wolves From the Fog
Black Metal 1994
MOONSPELL 2econd Skin album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
2econd Skin
Gothic Metal 1997

MOONSPELL live albums

MOONSPELL Lusitanian Metal album cover 0.50 | 1 ratings
Lusitanian Metal
Gothic Metal 2008

MOONSPELL demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

MOONSPELL Anno Satanæ album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Anno Satanæ
Black Metal 1993
MOONSPELL The Butterfly Effect album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Butterfly Effect
Gothic Metal 1999
MOONSPELL Finisterra album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Finisterra
Gothic Metal 2006

MOONSPELL re-issues & compilations

MOONSPELL The Great Silver Eye album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Great Silver Eye
Gothic Metal 2007

MOONSPELL singles (3)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Opium
Gothic Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Nocturna
Gothic Metal 2001
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Everything Invaded
Gothic Metal 2003

MOONSPELL movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lusitanian Metal
Gothic Metal 2008

MOONSPELL Reviews

MOONSPELL Irreligious

Album · 1996 · Gothic Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
While many second wave black metal bands jumped on the bandwagon and rode the wave of the template set down by bands like Mayhem and Darkthrone like a surfer in the Hawaiian Islands, some bands that started out that way jumped in and felt more like Jamaican bobsledders so they decided the status quo wasn’t quite for them. Such is the case for the Lisbon, Portugal based MOONSPELL that emerged in 1994 with the debut EP “Under The Moonspell” as a decent but indistinct black metal band but by the time they released the first full-length debut “Wolfheart” a year later, the band started to find its own niche in the quickly exploding scene. While still steeped in black metal, MOONSPELL laced it with a healthy dose of gothic metal inspired by bands like Tiamat, Type O Negative and The Gathering along with some various strains of European folk which together created a rather unique sound in the metal world.

Despite this early development of their own making, MOONSPELL abandoned this metal hybrid as quickly as it had established it and on the sophomore album IRRELIGIOUS, the black metal was totally jettisoned altogether with much of the folk music thrown by the wayside as well. What was left was a more gothic rock infused style that while tamping down the metal in general and replacing it with eerie Gregorian chants and symphonic organ sounds, still had enough metal mojo to qualify it as a metal band but in general, the gothic touches produced a more stylized production job that relied on a tapestry of instrumental sounds to create gloomy atmospheres and romantic visions of Romanian castles with blood thirsty counts on the hunt for another fix. The metal, while still quite abrasive at times had been reserved only for crescendoes and contrasts from the otherwise symphonic dominant melodrama.

The difference between IRRELIGIOUS and “Wolfheart” is stark and immediate as the album begins with a soundtrack sounding intro called “Perverse… Almost Religious” which takes spooky church organs and choral chants to evoke a full moon lit night journey into the graveyard and beyond. As “Opium” begins the nosedive into the world of everything goth, it’s also noticeable that the black metal guitar distortion has been replaced by a slicker guitar fuzz that plays in tandem with a hypnotic bass groove and slowed down percussive drive. Likewise, vocalist Fernando Ribeiro almost abandons any harsh screamed vocals except for the most dramatic moments and opts for romantic spoken poetic prose along with the clean Type O Negative style that sounds like Count Dracula has decided to make a mini-opera about his perverse proclivities.

“Wolfheart” displayed a strong sense of melodic hooks and IRRELIGIOUS continues this trend with eleven strong tracks that create instant gratification but it’s really the compositional flare that makes this such a strong album. The carefully timed developments of the dynamics, tones, timbres and bursts of aggression work out incredibly well and no moments feel like they wear out their welcome nor do they feel rushed. This is just one of those albums that teeters on the balance between too pop and too dark but somehow has enough elements of both sides of the spectrum to please. The tracks are diverse with some ranging on the slower side like “Ruin & Misery” which exudes a slow oozing use of keyboards, crunchy guitar riffage and nonchalant tempo changes. The musicians also show some extended range in their playing abilities. While the drummer simply known as Mike more or less just keeps a beat, on tracks like “For A Taste Of Eternity” he shows a flare for extremely complex polyrhythms and percussive dominance.

Overall the keyboards and samples of Pedro Paixão play the dominant role with the recording of Aleister Crowley reading his own poem “The Poet” on the track “Awake” which exemplifies the occult feel of the album as a whole. IRRELIGIOUS is a nicely paced album that is ultimately an atmospheric gothic rock album with metal touches that take it to heavy heights at key moments. The alternating forces of the symphonic rock and the more sonorous metal sections works quite well as do the stylistic percussion changes and guitar sounds that range from echoey clean to the intemperate unleashed loudness. MOONSPELL was one of those bands that couldn’t quite decide where they wanted to stay for long and despite crafting a cleverly cool and wickedly wild ride with this goth metal classic, the band would change things up again and get more experimental on the following “Sin / Pecado” but for this one at least MOONSPELL proved that they had an incredibly keen sense of what it takes to craft the perfect sensual sensibilities that make a great goth rock / metal album.

MOONSPELL Wolfheart

Album · 1995 · Gothic Metal
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siLLy puPPy
WOLFHEART is the debut album by MOONSPELL which incorporates a nice mix of metal styles. Following the approach of their earlier EP “Under The Moonspell,” we get a more refined blend of black and Gothic metal mixed with Celtic folk and symphonic touches. The transition from black metal to Gothic metal is taking place on WOLFHEART as the blackened touches are softened and the Gothic elements are increased. The intro with eerie synths and soft guitar sets the tone and atmosphere of a darkened land where blood thirsty wolves and Pagan rituals dominate with lunar madness.

This album really goes all over the place. It starts out in a symphonic black metal fashion but has tracks such as “Lua D’Inverno” that sound more like Pagan Celtic rituals. The vocals are heavily in the Goth department and Fernando Ribeiro’s vocals play the perfect part of a blood sucking romeo and bring other Gothic metal bands of the day to mind such as Type O Negative, Tiamat and early Paradise Lost. The song structures are well laid out with aggressive and the lush sensual symphonic parts working well together. The female backing vocals by Birgit Zacher are particularly haunting.

WOLFHEART is a very consistent album and it’s a testament to an era when various styles of metal were mixing with various forms of folk music and symphonic touches. MOONSPELL displays a strong command of this hybridity and becomes one of the most successful metal exports from Portugal. While some Gothic metal barely falls into the metal category focusing more on the romantic and sensual rather than the head banging aspects, WOLFHEART displays everything that makes a great Gothic metal album while retaining some excellent black metal aggressive fury as well without going as far as adding blastbeats or turning up the fury to up to extreme levels.

MOONSPELL Under the Moonspell

EP · 1994 · Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
If the cover of UNDER THE MOONSPELL looks familiar its because the album “Under Satanae” has a very close variation of the cover from this debut EP. That is no coincidence since that much more recognized release contains remakes of many of the tracks on this EP. Despite the fact that many of these tracks have been rereleased and improved upon that doesn't negate the fact that these first editions are fairly well constructed tracks themselves. MOONSPELL proved from the getgo that they were a talented and unique entity in the metal world by creatively fusing folk, black and gothic elements together to suit their own purposes. The result is a very successful hybrid that delivers melody, aggression and vampire inspired themes.

MOONSPELL is probably one of the most famous metal acts to emerge from Portugal and on this debut album they lay it all down without hesitation. We hear all the elements that make great metal music churned out in a carefully crafted format. This music really floats my boat as it takes all the elements of the aforementioned metal subgenres and blends them together into a satisfying cohesive whole. Despite the unintelligible lyrics we get the lyrical themes of dark folklore and macabre poetry in both English and Portuguese. In a country where I would expect influences from such homegrown music as Fado and the like, MOONSPELL surprises by integrating a more Celtic folk sound with their blackened Gothic metal in a way that is obvious as to why they have become a major force in the metal world.

MOONSPELL Under Satanæ

Album · 2007 · Gothic Metal
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Warthur
I tend to be rather sceptical of metal bands making rerecordings, but I'd make Under Satanae by Moonspell a major exception to this. Since the original Anno Satanae and Under the Moonspell demos, which these songs had taken from, the sound of the band had radically transformed from a black metal-dominated sound (with influences of folk and gothic metal beginning to emerge on Under the Moonspell) to a much more predominantly gothic sound.

The genius move Moonspell make here is in not trying to recapture their early sound, but instead adapting these old songs to their new sound, slowing them down, teasing out the gothic and folk metal flourishes that had already been there, and adding further layers of gothic menace besides. The end result is a radical reinterpretation of the material in question which retains a little more black metal fury than was typical for Moonspell at this point in their career but at the same time presents a fresh and new look at these songs, so the rerecording does not feel redundant or unnecessary next to the originals. It's not quite an essential part of their discography, but only because the material they are building on here was when always rather rudimentary compared to their more developed works.

Memo to any other metal band contemplating a rerecording: don't bother unless it's at least a major departure from the original versions as this one is.

MOONSPELL Irreligious

Album · 1996 · Gothic Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
On this second album Moonspell seem to dial back the black metal and folk influences which had made their debut such an interesting cocktail and instead choose to focus on gothic metal with some symphonic flourishes. In most cases, I'd be bewailing the fact that their sound had shifted from something unique to something a little more generic, but the album is saved by the fact that Moonspell are actually damn good at the gothic metal game and are able to deliver a solid and enjoyable album in this style. Just don't expect another Wolfheart going in, because I honestly don't think we're going to get one of those.

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