Sunday, May 31, 2020

Moonspell - "Under The Moonspell" [1994]

Artist: Moonspell
Title: Under The Moonspell
Genre: Folk/Gothic Metal
Country: Portugal
Year: 1994

Track List:
  1. Allah Akbar! La Allah Ella Allah! (Praeludium / Incantatum Solstitium)
  2. Tenebrarum Oratorium (Andamento I / Erudit Compendyum) (Interludium / Incantatum Oequinoctium)
  3. Tenebrarum Oratorium (Andamento II / Erotic Compendyum)
  4. Opus Diabolicum (Andamento III / Instrumental Compendyum)
  5. Chorai Lusitânia! (Epilogus / Incantatam Maresia)
Moonspell is another well-known metal band from southern Europe which also was one of the first bands I started listening to metal too. In my early teens, when I didn't have internet access yet, one of the local newspapers has published the translation of the lyrics for their song "Opuim". They seemed too edgy for me at the time, yet when I got the access to internet, I found that song in mp3 and managed to download it (which was quite a challenge since the speed was extremely low).

Much later, their famous work "Wolfheart" became one of my favourites in gothic metal. This EP, however, sounds quite different from it, even it was released right before it. It also doesn't sound like their early demos which were old school black metal: this EP isn't black metal (although certainly influenced by it). Most critics call it blackened folk/gothic metal strongly influenced by Morrocan music, which sounds about right to me. have a pretty good track-by-track description of it:
"This EP starts in a rather strange way for a metal album. Track #1 consists of arabic sounds accompanied by the Muezzin calls that are heard on mosques, to serve as a mystic intro to this EP.
Track #2 is my personal favourite of this cd, it combines a mystic oriental feeling with melodic symphonic black metal, the guitar melodies are eastern-tinged and even a gong is there!
The vocals aren't exactly black metal, but they're slightly harsh, and alternate with rather clean vocals and a few female words here and there.
The arabic influence is all over this track, with the keyboard and the guitar giving a sniff of Middle East. Finally, the last one and a half minute of this track is entirely based on a Portuguese acoustic guitar.
Track #3, with harsher vocals than the first, is at first slightly different, the lyrics being more satanist than on the first track, and the female voice gives a sort of horror-feeling to it. The final moments are again influenced by Mediterranean sounds.
As for track #4, this is slightly different than the previous ones, the sound is less heavy and the vocals are clean. The lyrics consist of two pieces, the first is a short poem written by the vocalist, the second is an extract of Marquis de Sade, followed by female orgasmic moans and a violin background.
Finally, track #5 is an instrumental track intirely on a Portuguese acoustic guitar and with sea waves in the background.
Overall, this cd is indeed interesting, and somehow hard to categorize, it's similar to black metal, but I guess it can't be considered as pure black metal, and it's different than the actual albums released by Moonspell. Feel free to give your own category!"
 I completely agree that this EP defies a single genre classification, and it might be one of the earliest examples of symphonic metal (along with the works by Therion from the same time) and oriental metal (along with early Orphaned Land). It's obviously not as good as "Wolfheart", yet it's still an interesting release that doesn't deserve to be forgotten:

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