Remember that first time you listened to Moonspell‘s Wolfheart or Irreligious? If you’re like me—or half of the other writers here at AMG—that was a hella long time ago. And, after over twenty years, those fucking albums still beckon me. Sure, tag me as a seeker of nostalgia, mark me as a purveyor of the past, label me as a connoisseur of memories. But, like it is with many classic records that have taken hold of me, it’s not just the quality of the music that planted the seed. No, it’s also the when, the where, and the what-happened that occurred the first time I listened to these albums. Never pleasant, never happy, the memories surrounding my introduction to Moonspell are dark. But the music was therapeutic. And, with each release, I crave that old Moonspell sound that had me squirming and tearing at my skin. Twenty-fifteen’s Extinct wasn’t quite it (nor was Alpha Noir or Night Eternal) but Moonspell‘re back with a new record and, maybe (just maybe), this will be the one.

Well… it sure is the closest they’ve come in a while. And a lot of it has to do with the album’s theme. 1755 focuses around The Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755—a devastating earthquake that hit the coast of Lisbon on All Saint’s Day, parting the sea and exposing the ocean floor before it unleashed walls of water over the city. And what wasn’t destroyed by the tsunami fell victim to five horrifying days of fire. Musically, 1755 is an album best enjoyed in its entirety—much like the band’s old material and less like the past few outings. On top of the unique concept, 1755 is also entirely in Portuguese—something the band has never done before. If anything, you can tell this new record means a lot to them.

Right away, opener “Em Nome do Medo” proves the need to settle into 1755. Though it opens up with a classic Moonspell vibe, this song (like the others) can’t exist outside the whole of the album. After Ribeiro’s haunting whispers and orchestration fill your heart with impending doom, it transitions to a title track full of Rotting Christ-like staccato riffs and a plethora of lush choirs. Midway through, the band lets loose a fine selection of folkish elements and instrumentation that ties the music to its story. Orphaned Land-like, this incorporation pulls you deeper into the history lesson and lends its weight to the song’s earthshaking build.

“Ruinas” has the chugging plod of the title track, chopping vocals and piano licks, and thick melodic layers that make it one of the best on the album. And “Todos os Santos” ain’t far behind—stretching its wings to incorporate the orchestral flourishes of the opener and borrowing the unforgettable moments of “Ruinas.” In front and behind these two top tracks, you’ll find “In Tremor Dei,” “Desastre,” “Abanão” and “Evento,” respectively. “In Tremor Dei” is a passionate piece that incorporates the crooning of Paulo Bragança and heart-wrenching keys, while the latter three keep up a heavy Moonspell pace—in particular, the crushing, headbangable “Desastre” and “Abanão.” All have those emotional elements that are as common to a Moonspell song as a beer is to a pizza lunch; spreading out massive choirs and orchestration across every surface of the album.

Between the heavy, the emotional, the orchestral, and the devastating, lie two oddities. The first is the upbeat and hopeful “1 de Novembro” and the second is the closing Os Paralamas do Sucesso cover. The former is an odd piece that showcases a combination of punkish Ribeiro spitting and thick choir support that quickly separates itself from the rest of the record. Like Extinct‘s “The Last of Us,” “1 de Novembro” is the album’s black sheep—standing innocently in the middle of the herd, waiting to meet your gaze. The latter is made to match the vibe of the album, but this interesting manipulation of Paralamas “Lanterna do Afogados” can’t help but sound out of place.

That said, 1755 is another quality outing from Moonspell. The concept is engaging and there is plenty of gothy emotion throughout the album. Though every track doesn’t resonate, the power behind “1755,” “Ruinas,” “In Tremor Dei,” and “Todos os Santos” make up for it. For those that adore the stand-alone pieces of albums like Night Eternal, you might not appreciate 1755. For those that have been craving a fuller, more textured outing, 1755 might relieve an itch. For me, there is still something missing but, though it’s taken a few spins to absorb, the character is there and 1755 is yet another quality Moonspell release.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: facebook.com/moonspellband
Releases Worldwide: November 3rd, 2017

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  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Ripped shirt sale at Target!

    • Eli Valcik

      oooooo kinky

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        The Joe Elliot line…

        • Eli Valcik

          Doesn’t ring a bell, but to be fair I never really gave a fuck about Def Leppard.

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            He was very ripped shirts and pants – y

          • Eli Valcik

            Cool….. so… uhg.. I guess this is what a deleted scene feels like…

    • Dammage

      I think they shop at the same store as Pink Mass

  • Danny

    I loveloveloveloveloved Extinct, so I’m pretty excited about this release. Extinct felt like a killer combination of HIM-style goth-metal-rock-pop (even though Moonspell did it first) with heavier, blackened elements that really worked well together. Great review!

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      I agree, I loved Extinct too
      This one is not as easy an album for me, less hooks and dammit I don’t speak Portuguese….foda isso

      • [not a Dr]

        Desastre has a Spanish version…

        • HeavyMetalHamster

          That’s not helpful I’m afraid.

          • [not a Dr]

            His Spanish is much better than his abominable French: it sounds ok to my out-of-practice ears. Can’t say for his Latin or Portuguese, though.

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            I speak ‘merican!

          • [not a Dr]

            taco, burrito, chili con carne, etc.

      • Rodrigo D.C.

        If by writing “foda isso” you meant “f**k this”, it’s actually translated as “Que se foda!” or “Foda-se”.

        • HeavyMetalHamster

          See? What do I know!

  • Rodrigo Figueiras

    For me its more a 4.0, i think this record its a Moonspell pure album…
    Its everything there, the old and the new Moonspell sound .

  • VenusAdonis

    Very well-written review, though it reads more like a 3.5 or a 4.0 to me. I don’t feel like I read that much criticism in the write-up.

    That being said, my introduction to Moonspell was through The Antidote and it was quite a journey going through their back catalog and listening to all of the releases since then, but I’ve yet to come across an album of theirs that I didn’t enjoy. This one included!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I don’t think so… not for me anyway. If it was a 4.0, I wouldn’t have complained about anything.

      • VenusAdonis

        That’s fair enough, though for what it’s worth your reviews are typically the ones I agree with most often. Especially with Sweet Hollow, that album is incredible.

    • Even The Butterfly Effect? No matter how hard I try, I can’t get through that album…

      • VenusAdonis

        Yeah, that’s definitely their worst album but I certainly didn’t hate it. I could appreciate the sound they were going for and the experimentation, even if it didn’t fully work out in their favor.

      • [not a Dr]

        It would have been a hard to love album, but someone wrote “Moonspell” on the cover. So it turned out pretty good.

  • seasonsinthesky

    This album has a terrible opening, imo. Beyond recycling a song from the last album, which makes it a terrible choice of opener alone, it’s also an entirely unengaging fake-orchestra piece that sounds nothing like anything else on the record. Where other bands would intelligently leave this to a bonus curio, Moonspell inexplicably open the album with it. Odd, unfitting, and then followed by midpaced stomping instead of energizing. I dunno what they were thinking – most of the same people are in the band that sequenced Wolfheart, Irreligious, Sin/Pecado and The Antidote: some of the best-paced albums I’ve ever heard, with so much careful thought for segues and ‘vibe contour’ (or whatever you wanna call it). They’ve been on a downward slope since the thoroughly-brilliant-if-front-loaded Night Eternal and it’s only barely starting to look up.

    • I was about to post that Night Eternal seems to be underrated to me is the best of their recent era output (although Memorial is pretty decent too), but I hadn’t thought of it as front-loaded until now.

      • seasonsinthesky

        NE is basically perfect until “Hers is the Twilight,” imo. That’s where it starts to wane. Not a diss to the back end of the album, really, just more of a ‘how do you compete with the opening 5?’ sentiment.

        Memorial gets a lot of praise but I really don’t understand why. For all the great moments, there seems to be a dud nearby to match. I dunno. Maybe I need to listen to that one again with fresh ears – it was a huge disappointment for me after The Antidote.

        • I love NE and I agree it it is heavily front loaded. I would definitely give 1755 a spin again though. I am thoroughly in disagreement with Doc on this one (we are hearing two different records).

          1755 has been on my rotation non-stop since it dropped and It is in fact the best thing they’ve done since NE. Though I do agree with him that Nov 1st and the cover are indeed oddities and definitely do interrupt the record’s overall flow. But other than that, I think this record just rocks from front to back. Obviously, and like Doc, YMMV.

        • Memorial doesn’t cut it for me, either. That being said, I prefer their Gothier stuff…which means Irreligious + Darkness and Hope + Omega White are my favourites.

          • seasonsinthesky

            D&H and especially Omega White are super underrated albums!

          • My favourite ever bad is Type O Negative, so my love for those two albums is not surprising in the least ;-)

    • Rodrigo D.C.

      Totally agree about the first track.

  • I love this record. I am surprised this isn’t at least 3.5 and as many said, a solid 4.0 on the AMG scale. This is an awesome record through and through.

    • Nukenado

      A 3.0 by Grier is like…
      We can fill in the rest.

    • Greg Hasbrouck

      I actually see it as being closer to 2.0 than 4.0.

      • Like I said, YMMV. I really dig this record though (minus two songs).

    • sir_c

      sure you posting under the right review?
      I do remember the first Moonspell and this is not anywhere near it.
      Some moments it sounds like a Portuguese Therion cover band.

      • I sure am. Depends on what you want. If you are looking for early MS, then yeah, this album is garbage. If you are more of a NE kinda gal, then I’d say 1755 is solid.

        • sir_c

          not sure, after their debut I more or less lost track of them. I liked their debut, but not much more than that either. So apparently it’s not for me

  • Those painted-on sunglasses may give you the desired look, but they aren’t going to stop those harmful UV rays.

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      They all look like Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner.

      • Feytalist

        There’s definitely a face-tattoo option in Skyrim that looks exactly like it, and I can’t shake that image.

  • Wilhelm

    The couple of songs I heard didn’t win me over – it’s exactly as I expected; rehashed, uninspired riffs with a too-clean and compressed sound. There’s no identity (beyond aping their old sound in generic form) or unique presence. I feel the same about the new Samael.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Seeing DR5 there is disappointing. I really enjoy their last effort despite its simply modern master. I will definitely be checking this out. Nice review Dr

    • kmanitou81

      It’s curiously a lot more tolerable than any other DR5 I’ve ever heard.

  • Jae_Aytch

    While I lack the vocabulary to describe precisely what I hear, suffice it to say that with exception to the choirs, this recording sounded very raw to my ears. The drums on Extinct seem more balanced with the other instruments. On 1755, the drums sound brighter than I was expecting.

    Other than that, I’m still digesting the album. I dig the choral additions, but in some ways, I feel like they are mostly there to give Ribeiro a break. The latest platter from Cradle of Filth is that way too.

  • Enrico Pallazzo

    Their weakest by far. Super uninspired.
    The orchestra doesn’t fits well at all, feels pretty much like the last Orphaned Land album. DISAPPOINTED

  • I’m really digging this album, though I love most of their stuff. In fact, The Butterfly Effect and Memorial are the only albums I can’t get into.

  • Feytalist

    Of their recent material, Alpha Noir/Omega White was the standout to me. Strange that it doesn’t get talked about much. Especially the more goth-rocky Omega White. Really not a single bad track on the whole double album.

    This album… hmm. Odd opening choice. There’s this weird disconnect between the vocal mixing and the rest of the instruments. Couple of pretty good tracks though. I dunno. More listening is required.

    • RuySan

      Another big fan of Omega White here. Alpha Noir was ok, it had some amazing songs (Lickanthrope and Em Nome do Medo), but it was also a bit uneven.

  • RuySan

    So far it’s a bit of disappointment for me. The loud mastering is obviously wrong, and i prefer when Moonspell is a bit smoother. Omega White is currently the album i most return to. It’s feels like an homage to Pete Steele and TON and completely nails that feeling without TON usual bloat.

    It’s disappointing that Fernando doesn’t use more his clean vocals., They’re pretty good IMO. There are some songs in this album where he rasps the verses in an almost rap-like way, which maybe it’s just me, but it’s kind of annoying.

    And recycling “Em nome do medo” for this album didn’t work. This version isn’t as good as the one on Alpha Noir and the orchestration feels very fake.

    On the other hand: Remember when you Listened to Amon Amarth’s “Hel” and wondered why they don’t do an entire album with Messiah? That’s the impression i get here with “In Tremor Dei”. Paulo Bragança’s sorrowful fado singing mixes very well with this sound, and i which i could hear more. Fado-Metal seems a great concept.

  • Rodrigo D.C.

    I’m still waiting for new Moonspell’s rev… wait… what?

    Only 3.0? I’d give it a 3.5 or 4.0, just for being sang in Portuguese!

    I can’t stop listen to it since it was released at least twice times a day, but to be fair I must say I almost always skip the first track. I like original version of “Em nome do Medo” a lot more and feels to me that the orchestration doesn’t fit.

    About “Lanterna dos Afogados”, I’ve got mixed reactions. The main problem is that Os Paralamas do Sucesso are very famous here in Brazil, and this song was (and still is) a huge pop success. It’s quite weird to me a metal version of it.

    This is the first metal album sang in Portuguese that I really like. All the concept of the album feels very strong to me by the fact I don’t need to mentally translate the songs. It just flows and that’s awesome!!

    PS: sorry my bad english.

    • Serjien

      Your English is fine. As a fellow countryman, I have seen worse!

      I agree with you about the Paralamas cover. Feels a bit of a reach and out of place.

  • Andres Pintos Nocerino

    sublime

  • h0ttentot

    I’m sorry, but being Brazilian this sounds goofy as hell. The “Paralamas do Sucesso” cover is ridiculous. It’s a pop rock song from one of the most generic bands that ever walked on earth.

  • Nukenado

    Aside from all the recycled assets, the embed video is pretty kickass.

    • RuySan

      Yes, it’s a nice concept, but everything loop halfway through the song is kind of silly.

  • Here’s Johnny

    Still to give this a proper listen but you have to give it to Moonspell, they don’t give a toss about appealing to a bigger crowd(do what they want). Can’t imagine this album will do that well outside of Portugal.

    • RuySan

      I think most metalheads are quite open minded about non-english lyrics. Just check the success of bands like Finntroll or Moonsorrow.

  • Javier McDrifter

    The orchestral bits on the first song didn’t convince me tbh, neither did the Paralamas cover. But the album overall is quite good, and interesting. Deserves to be heard.