Released: 2003, Century Media
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
This Portuguese band has been around for a long time. UNDER THE MOONSPELL came 1994 (MCD) while their debut came the following year called WOLFHEART. Now it’s time to follow up DARKNESS AND HOPE from 2001. I don’t think that this band needs any further introduction as this is their sixth album. They did the pre-production in their own Inferno Studio in Portugal. When it was time to record they went to my neighbouring country Finland and Finnvox Studio to record. Behind the mixing table sat Hiili Hiilesmaa (HIM, Sentenced) who made a terrific job taking out the more brutal approach of Moonspell.
Moonspell has had a few member changes trough the years. Their bassist has left the band so they borrowed Niklas from Amorphis so they could finish the album. Musicwise Moonspell plays gothic metal with some very gloomy vocals with the vocals and the keyboard lying very high up in the soundpicture. They have also developed their music on this record. They still play the same music but the speed is a bit faster on some off the songs with heavier guitars in the soundpicture. The music is very melodic and technical. Fernando impresses on vocals as well as Ricardo on guitar. Mr. Hiilismaa has helped Mike to create a very thick, heavy and full drum sound.
Moonspell has created 10 tracks for this new album. The first part of the album is very fast and heavy to be Moonspell. On the other half the tempo drops and they sound like they used to. On the question on what is Moonspell, Fernando answered, “I say we are representing a mixture of horror, beauty, heaviness and melody. The antidote starts off very brutal and ends very melodic” witch very good describes what THE ANTIDOTE is.
“In and Above Men” has a calm intro before the bands sets off. The rest off the song goes really fast for Moonspell with Fernando shifting between angry and gothic singing. The first song goes straight into “From Lowering Skies” with the drums and guitars in the intro and some sad vocals by Fernando. After that the tempo rises. “Everything Invaded” is heavy goth in the beginning of the song with some whispering vocals. The tempo is goes up and the band keeps the tempo all through the song. “The Southern Deathstyle” has guitar and drums in the beginning before it sets off. Mike works really hard behind the drums and there are some slower gothic parts in this song as well.. Niklas shows off his skills on bass here. “Antidote” starts with acoustic guitar and is a sad song before the band joins in. This song sounds more like the older Moonspell does. “Capricorn at her Feet” has a grinding gothic sound with sad vocals. Ricardo impresses on solo guitar. “Lunar Still” has an intro with keyboard and some whispering vocals while there’s keyboard almost half-way through the song before the other guys comes in. “A Walk on the Dark Side”, “As We Eternally Sleep On It” and “Crystal Gazing” are melodic goth metal with a lot of keyboard at the top of the mix. Fernando sings with a very dark voice here.
Moonspell has delivered a very strong and stable album. It grows on you every time you’ve listen to it. I liked the first 5 songs on the album where they showed their more brutal side. I don’t have any lyrics so I can’t say anything about them. On the limited edition there will be a novel featured with some short stories by the promising young portuguse author José Luis Poxoto with the same name as the album title. It will be released on both Portuguese and English.