Released: 2006, SPV/Steamhammer
Upon first listen, I was not much into MEMORIAL for one main reason – almost all Fernando Ribeiro’s vocals are done in the abrasive death/black style. For my tastes, Moonspell are at their best when they combine the heavier elements and vocals with the deep, melodic, and clean singing of Ribeiro. That vocal style, while present, is in severely limited quantities on MEMORIAL and this is the albums big stumbling block.
Moonspell were at their best with IRRELIGIOUS. On that album, the vocals and music had more variety. After my first listen through MEMORIAL, I had to put it aside for a couple weeks since I was disappointed enough to give the album an even lower rating. After a cooling off period, I listened again with fresh ears, and with the knowledge that I wasn’t going to hear the vocal mixture that I wanted. When in that frame of mind, I did appreciate the album much more and I continue to find new things I like about it with every listen. A somewhat mellow song on here with clean vocals and female vocals called “Luna” is perhaps still my favorite on the album, but then again the heavy track “Blood Tells!” stands out big time and is the catchiest song on the album. There is still the downfall that the material is not as catchy as the IRRELIGIOUS or WOLFHEART (my other fav Moonspell album) but it’s still quite good and keeps Moonspell at the forefront of their particular metal genre. For MEMORIAL, the band once again worked with producer Waldamar Sorychta (IRRELIGIOUS, WOLFHEART, SIN/PECADO) and this in part gives the album a similar powerful sound. For those looking for the fast and furious Moonspell, and even moments of blastbeat drumming, check out “Finisterra”, although done well, it’s not one of my personal favorites on here but for some Moonspell fans, you’ll love it.
Those more into the atmospheric and goth-metal side of the band may be put off by the abundance of the more extreme sides of the band, but on the flipside, those more into extreme metal and black metal style vocals should love this. One thing is for certain, to be a fan of all of Moonspell’s work; you need to be open minded. From the extreme metal side to the dark pop/dance/metal mix of SIN/PECADO, you never know exactly what you’ll get from Moonspell. So in looking at MEMORIAL in context of the band’s discography, it fits in quite nicely.