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Moonspell - The Great Silver Eye (Reissue)

Moonspell
The Great Silver Eye (Reissue)
by Oil Gonzalez at 16 January 2022, 10:36 AM

“Hi Oli, good evening. Here is another pack for you”. I was scanning through the email with my latest assignments to review. “Wow, MOONSPELL, THE MOONSPELL!?” I thought! It’s pretty cool when you get to review albums from bands you’ve never heard of, and to discover new talent. It’s even better when you get to review bands as huge as MOONSPELL, a band I’m a genuine fan of. The Portuguese heavyweights have extensive touring pedigree and an enviable list of festival appearances. They truly are one of the more unique bands in the world of metal too. “The Great Silver Eye” represents a compilation of the bands best efforts, outlining the bands diverse talent and sound. Despite being a fan, I confess that I’ve never actually listened to this! Let’s get into it.

Don’t bother trying to confine MOONSPELL to one sub-genre! They’ll just smash out of that box and make you look the fool for trying. “Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade)” and “Alma Mater” lean heavily towards the black metal end of the spectrum, whereas “Opium” certainly has a gothic feel. “Full Moon Madness” and “Second Skin” have more slower groove and doom metal elements. I had to question whether I was listening to a new age album during “Magdalena”, with the use of synths and the soothing Gregorian style chants creating the illusion! I can’t quite put my finger on it but despite this huge variation in sound, there’s still a unique underpinning to the music that clearly is MOONSPELL. Perhaps that lies in the amalgamation of the musicians and the individual qualities they all possess combining to create their sound.

Aires is definitely not afraid to express himself on bass! Whereas the bassist is sometimes relegated to playing root notes or doubling up on the guitar riff in other bands, MOONSPELL seem to realise that this is a woeful waste of talent. Aires often holds down the lead melody with some infectious and hypnotic basslines, like in “Second Skin”. Check out the blastbeat in “Finisterra” for samples of Hugo’s talent behind the drums! The band and production team clearly know how to get the best out of Ricardo’s guitar. Whilst he’s perfectly capable of playing some highly technical leads, sometimes it better to just strip things down and prioritise emotion and soul over complexity. The guitar solo in “Capricorn at her feet” is the living embodiment of that. I felt compelled to rewind the track several times just to get another glimpse of that glorious soaring tone! That really is a thing of beauty!

Not to diminish the contributions of these three, but for me the key to MOONSPELL’s sound is in the keyboards and vocals. Pedro seems to have the power at this fingertips to transform the song’s overall texture from gothic, symphonic or even industrial themed! Fernando can utter the most evil KVLT shrieks and demonic growls, whilst seamlessly switching to his trademark lower bass clean vocals. He can do this in multiple languages too!

With this being said, I do wonder if, at nearly 80 minutes in length, the album may be difficult for casual listeners to sustain their attention long enough to endure listening to the album in its entirety. Likewise, some of the longer progressive songs may deter more casual listeners. However, I don’t think MOONSPELL will stray from this and will continue to stick to their roots and principles that have made them the household name that they are today. More power to them! I for one am glad that there are bands out there pushing and challenging the boundaries of what metal is and isn’t. If you think metal is dying and there’s nothing new and original, listen to “The Great Silver Eye”. That’ll prove you wrong!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship:9
Memorability: 10
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade)
2. Vampiria
3. Alma Mater
4. Opium
5. Raven Claws
6. Full Moon Madness
7. Second Skin
8. Magdalena
9. Soulsick
10. Lustmord
11. Firewalking
12. Nocturna
13. Everything Invaded
14. Capricorn At Her Feet
15. Finisterra
16. Luna
Lineup:
Fernando Ribeiro – Vocals
Ricardo Amorim – Guitars
Pedro Paixao – Keyboards
Aires Pereira – Bass
Hugo Ribeiro - Drums
Record Label: MDD Records
     


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