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Moonspell - 1755 (2017) - Review

Band: Moonspell
Album title: 1755
Release date: 3 November 2017
Label: Napalm Records

01. Em Nome Do Medo
02. 1755
03. In Tremor Dei (feat. Paulo Bragança)
04. Desastre
05. Abanão
06. Evento
07. 1 De Novembro
08. Ruínas
09. Todos Os Santos
10. Lanterna Dos Afogados [Os Paralamas do Sucesso cover]
11. Desastre (Spanish Version) [Bonus]

It was with great anticipation, but also with kind of a restraint that I was waiting for this album to came out, mostly because Portuguese dark metal masters Moonspell were announcing it as something that will outclass everything we've ever heard from them before. So, something pretty different was expected from Moonspell, but that's not something that we are not used to get from them. Nevertheless, this time the things are still pretty much different. This is Moonspell in their most extreme, intense and most earthshaking form until now. Fans of their albums like Memorial or Alpha Noir will for sure be delighted, maybe they'll miss the black metal touch a bit, but those who liked Moonspell's romantic, more gothic side of Extinct, Omega White, Antidote, Darkness And Hope or Irreligius, to name a few, will miss the "Moonspell" like we know it, but no matter how you take it, Moonspell did a great job once again.

This album, which is a conceptual one based on the year of horror where a giant earthquake wrecked their home Lisbon and turned it into rubble, was in the making quite for some time, the idea started even before their previous album, the stunning Extinct released in 2015, and in the beginning Moonspell wanted to make a four song EP which then escalated into a proper album. I don't know if this is even to be counted as a proper Moonspell album to say so, it hugely differs from any other of their previous work, not only soundwise speaking, also aggressive and dense song compositions, artwork and album structure is on another level, as well it's the first one with lyrics sung completely in Portuguese, it's a standout one, it's a obeisance to their home city, kind of a commemoration and I believe that in the first place a gift to their loyal home fan base.

But musically speaking, 1755, is like I said before one hell of an intense album, also the most technical and also brutal. If compared to for example Alpha Noir, the songs are much more complex, atmospheric, with lots of symphonic elements and female choirs, it's a pretty lush thing, but in the background we can notice some gothic elements that enrich many of the tracks. From the introduction "Em Nome Do Medo" on we are thrown into a turbulent world of darkness and destruction, but also of hope for a new beginning. 1755 is an album where almost every single detail matters and this multilayered compositions will reveal to the listener in all its glory after some consequent spins. It has a lot of depth, songs are coherent, also dynamic and absolutely powerful.

The tension and drama escalates with every single track. The first highlight named "In Tremor Dei", featuring Portuguese guest vocalist Paulo Bragança, is so very dense, the dark sound together with intriguing symphonic elements, some gloomy gothy synths and female choirs, really brings us pictures of devastation and terror into our mind. Don't expect to hear Fernando Ribeiro singing here with his one of a kind deep and romantic gothic voice, he throws out so much rage through the whole album, just listen to the magnificient and vibrant "Desastre", with some mesmerinzing bombastic orchestrations and great company of female choirs.

The rhythmic line is constantly very strong and crushing, a fine example is "Abanão", with guitar lines and riffs that are as always in the case of Moonspell just fascinating, and it's nothing strange because Ricardo Amorim is in my opinion one of the best guitarist in the entire dark/gothic metal scene. Gloomy synths played by Pedro Paixão and amazing orchestrations arranged by British composer/producer Jon Phipps, who already worked with the band on their previous album Extinct, and with some other big names like Amorphis, Angra, Trees Of Eternity, Devilment and DragonForce to name a few, really enrich everything, and turbulent yet very technical drumming by Mike Gaspar is top notch, of course we can't forget the amazing bass lines played by Aires Pereira.

Some of the tracks, like the dynamic "Evento", which has some interesting acoustic insertions and mesmerizing guitar riffs, the devastating thrashing madness named "1 De Novembro", or "Ruínas" and "Todos Os Santos", both with an interesting oriental rhythm added, have some interesting crescendos and compositional structures that you can almost feel how everything is falling apart, you can almost see people run for their life and stones falling down on them, even though you won't understand a word. The story then ends with my favorite track up here, "Lanterna Dos Afogados", the only one which connects this album with the "typical" Moonspell, if I can say so, but paradoxically enough this one is not an original Moonspell track, it's a cover of legendary Brazilian reggae/rock band Os Paralamas do Sucesso, transformed into something extraordinary and purely Moonspell-ish, but more than being appropriate for this album it feels like being taken from their Antidote album.

1755 is absolutely not a typical Moonspell album, and while listening to it you must forget about their past records and concentrate on what everything 1755 has to offer. 1755 is absolutely emotional from start to finish, a bit theatrical so to say, even if there's a lack of clean vocals. Great production, like always in the case of Moonspell, adds a lot of depth and power to the whole thing. It's a standout album in the real meaning of the word, it's nothing alike we are used to get from these Portuguese kings of darkness. More and more that I'm listening to 1755 the more I admire it, but no matter how I try it simply doesn't beat the greatness of their previous monumental album Extinct and I resent a little to Moonspell that they left their gothic metal fans a bit thirsty this time.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8/10


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