The tenth full-length album by legendary Portuguese Extreme/Gothic Metal band.
After two years, Moonspell return with "Alpha Noir", an album that reinforces the idea that they are still, in fact, one of Metal’s premier acts. Over the last decade, the band have increasingly pursued the Gothic side of their sound to the point that many Metal fans simply walked away thinking the band had lost interest. Not unlike brethren Paradise Lost and Amorphis though, Moonspell dig deep and craft a much heavier album than anyone expected.
"Alpha Noir" is a welcome revisit to the band’s early works and probably their most ferocious sounding since their debut, "Wolfheart" (1995). This is due in no small part to the guitar work. Throughout this album the guitars offer face melting riffs and wild soloing that lasts more than a few seconds here and there. Additionally, there is a ton of lead work happening at all times and it just makes everything bigger and angrier.
"Axis Mundi", "Lickanthrope", the title track and "Love Is Blasphemy" are perfect examples of how rockin’ this album gets. While they still maintain a Gothic underpinning, the guitars and aggressive vocals that are at the fore command your attention. They have killer riff led verses with an explosive chorus that make you want to pump your leather studded wristband laden fist in the air and sing along.
"Opera Carne" is the centrepiece here. It has some really memorable lead guitar pieces and a vocal that sounds like its wordsmith is being torn to pieces as he sings. When the chorus hits, it blankets you in Rammstein-esque gang vocals that sound like a million angry oppressed.
Fans of the bands last few albums will find traces of things to enjoy as well. Most notably, "Sine Misssione" which has a very Atmospheric feel to it that reminds a bit of "Sin / Pecado"’s material (1998). "Em Nome do Medo" is another moment that leans more to the Gothier side, although its edges are still heavy...
Moonspell are one of those bands that always bring it but you will be shocked to hear such an aggressive album from them, as they seemed to have moved past this style a long time ago. If you are a fan of the first couple of albums and lost heart then you should come back ASAP! If you love the band’s output in the new millennium, you’ll still enjoy plenty of this!!
Napalm Records Handels GmbH, 2012 (NPR 425 CD). Made in Austria. Pressed in Germany. First press.
1. Axis Mundi 4:56
2. Lickanthrope 3:49
3. Versus 4:39
4. Alpha Noir 4:30
5. Em Nome Do Medo 4:27
6. Opera Carne 3:52
7. Love Is Blasphemy 4:31
8. Grandstand 4:53
9. Sine Missione 4:57
Total playing time: 40:34 min.