Moonspell - Wolfheart
Century Media
Atmospheric Gothic Metal
8 songs (43:54)
Release year: 1995
Moonspell, Century Media
Reviewed by Jay
Archive review

Ahh, the cryptic Moonspell. This band has produced several great and several terrible albums. Luckily, today, we will focus on one of the good ones. After their widely successful demo “Under the Moonspell,” the band was signed to Century Media Records and their first full length “Wolfheart” was released. This mix of death, black, gothic and even Celtic influences was a smash success for them and made them the temporary kings of the gothic metal scene. Their form on this album is spectacular and the songwriting is top notch.

Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade)” is a natural opener track. From the haunting opening chords to the screams, the track tears. The amazing tonal qualities of Fernando Ribeiro’s voice stand out. He can do death growls, screams and has a singing voice that can be rivaled in quality only by Till Lindemann from Rammstein and Peter Steele from Type O Negative. The guitars are in perfect harmony with the atmosphere provided by the keyboards. The bass is simplistic but manages to hold things together and have a major role in some parts. The construction of this song is similar to most of the songs on this album. “…Of Dream and Drama (Midnight Ride)” is a personal favorite of mine. The opening riff is incredible. The eerie quality combined with the heartbeat style bass drum and the chords being played on the keyboard are quite unsettling when taken in together. The beauty of the harmony is pure genius in arrangement. The track picks up-tempo quickly and becomes a galloping gothic masterpiece. Ribeiro has a thick accent but this does not detract from the music one bit. While the main riff is quite simple, Moonspell turn the simple into the complex with the arrangement. This is one of the striking features of this album. The songs may not be technical or super fast but it is arranged and mixed exceedingly well. The full keyboard slide may be unnecessary at the end of the keyboard solo but the song is so good, you don’t really notice.

Trebraruna” exhibits the Celtic influence I spoke of earlier. The intro again has the atmospheric qualities of a good dark band. The bass drumming combined with the rolls and the keyboards sets up the tribal style drumming and crushing guitar riffing. The chorus somehow fits in but not in perfect harmony with the verses. Maybe this discord allows the song to be so powerful. “Vampiria” is another atmospheric goth metal track. Relying more on the keys to carry the melody on this song, it is a calmer and down tempo song relying on horror movie style instrumentation to set the mood. Ribeiro’s dark whisperings are reminiscent of Vincent Price narrations. The female vocals also add another layer of ambiance. “An Erotic Alchemy” follows next. The bass on this track is spectacular. While simple, the song keeps coming back to that riff as a recurring theme. The guitar and keys combine to form an awesome melody. The dialogue between Ribeiro and the female singer adds another element of suspense.

Everyone always waits for Moonspell to close their live sets with “Alma Mater.” This song is a complete departure from the rest of the album. Forsaking the keyboards, it is a straight up metal song and has one of the best riffs ever written. It will get stuck in your head and drive you mad until you listen to the song several times in a row. The subtle backing chorus is a harmonious addition to the song. Ribeiro mainly does death vocals for the verses and then sings the chorus in his native Portuguese. The solo is nothing to write home about but the song is awesome lyrically and musically. If you are interested in this album, I implore you to find the edition with the extra bonus ninth track. “Ataegina” is the title, and you will not be disappointed. Drawing even more on Celtic influence, the song features a flutist. It is also sung in Portuguese and this helps maintain a sense of mystery. The guitar functions as support of the flute, which carries the main melody. It is a definite killer song.

Anyone seeking to get into Moonspell should look no farther than this album. It is better than much of the other material they have released (“Butterfly Effect” in particular). Any fans of goth metal should check this out if you haven’t heard it yet.

Killing Songs :
…Of Dream and Drama (Midnight Ride), Alma Mater, Trebraruna, Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade), Ataegina
Jay quoted 95 / 100
Crims quoted 95 / 100
Alex quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Moonspell that we have reviewed:
Moonspell - Hermitage reviewed by Goat and quoted 60 / 100
Moonspell - Extinct reviewed by Andy and quoted 81 / 100
Moonspell - Omega White reviewed by Cory and quoted 86 / 100
Moonspell - Alpha Noir reviewed by Cory and quoted 73 / 100
Moonspell - Night Eternal reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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