Moonspell – Alpha Noir
1995 saw the release of the excellent and inspirational debut album from Portuguese gothic metallers Moonspell and the emergence of a band that singularly forged their own path and sound to inspire rather than follow current trends. Through the equally impactful “Irreligious” the following year to their acclaimed eighth album “Night Eternal” in 2008, the band has trodden their own musical path to be one of the more important bands in goth metal. Their new album “Alpha Noir” keeps their presence at the fore of the genre with more sounds sure to inspire.
“Alpha Noir” is not a major change from its predecessor but does offer a rawer edge to its dark definition that equally intimidates and captivates. The release challenges with its distinct powerful dark world and intense inflammable energy. For twenty years Moonspell has brought forth provocative and openly catchy, melodies, inviting grooves, and a blackened intensity, and “Alpha Noir” is no different. Recorded with returning producer Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Dark Tranquillity, Halford) and the band’s first release on Napalm Records, the album consumes the senses with dark atmospheric class, deeply striking melodic creativity, and the formidable might and intent.
The album starts with the powerful ‘Axis Mundi’, a song which strides into view surrounded by a sonic atmosphere. Constantly building in intensity the song soon invades every corner with expansive creative imagination from guitarists Ricardo Amorim and Pedro Paixão and the prowling pulsating bass riffs of Aires Pereira. Driven by the mesmeric rhythms of Miguel Gaspar the song without being groundbreaking for the band is a great starter with the vocals of Fernando Ribeiro growling and scowling his lyrics perfectly.
The whole album is of great quality with every track from the excellent ‘Versus’ with its persistent scorched examination of the ear, through the Sisters Of Mercy toned ‘Love Is Blasphemy’, to the closing impressive atmospheric instrumental ‘Sine Missione’, leaving a distinct and satisfying impression. The title track is the best song on the release a muscular predator which strips and ignites the senses with heavy towering riffs, barbaric rhythms, and incisive guitar intrusions. Dripping essences of black metal it is an immense and explosive pleasure.
“Alpha Noir “is an excellent album and though maybe it does not have enough tracks to truly fire up the passions, the release is highly consistent and deeply satisfying with Moonspell still a band to lead the genre. (8/10)
Read Pete's full review here.
Band info: www.moonspell.com
Label info: www.napalmrecords.com