Moonspell - Night Eternal
Epic Blackened Gothic Metal
9 songs (44:15)
Release year: 2008
Moonspell, Steamhammer/SPV
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Like many, I suspect, it took me a while to get into Moonspell. The Portuguese horde has been making their individual sound for nineteen years and nine albums now; possessing a similar spark of eccentricity to British heroes Akercocke that makes them very much a love/hate affair. Although Moonspell have had their ups and downs like most, moving away from their harsh roots to experiment in the late 90s before returning to the source two years ago with Memorial, it’s hard to see how their star can be anything but ascendant after a few listens to Night Eternal, an album made with so much skill and bearing such an epic touch that few will be able to resist.

Merging all of the band’s past influences into one solid, shiny example of excellent songwriting, the album kicks off with At Tragic Heights, an orchestral intro with wailing female vocals and narration that reminded me of Cradle Of Filth’s excellent Damnation And A Day album, soon turning into a ferocious blast of Metal driven by guitars and Fernando’s growl. It’s big, it’s epic, and the keyboards are perfectly placed, firmly in the background yet loud enough to hear clearly. If only all albums could open as brilliantly… this grabs your attention and never loosens its grip. The title track follows, taking a slightly Thrashier path with a big solo and including some subtle Industrial touches towards the end, whilst Shadow Sun opens with spoken vocals and percussion, building into another torrent of Blackened fury.

Fernando puts in a wonderful performance, his snarled vocals rarely sounding harsher and his clean vocals having an atmospheric kick like few others. The latter are probably best on Scorpion Flower, a duet with Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering) that’s about as catchy and cinematic as it’s possible to get, without a trace of commerciality. Where others have to crowbar catchy sections into their songs in a frantic effort to stay relevant (Cradle Of Filth will have a hell of a job beating this) Moonspell make it look easy.

The album continues without a single filler song or poor moment, although towards the second half of the album catchiness is swapped for complexity, finale track First Light somehow managing to be equally as majestic as the previous songs yet bringing proceedings to a close magnificently. Night Eternal is pretty damn hard to fault all in all; everything, from the cover art to the musical performances, is as near to flawless as it gets.

We seem to have an emerging sub-genre with all these epic Gothic/Black bands: Rotting Christ, Septicflesh, Moonspell… all looking both forward and backward to ensure that whilst the progressive engine is kept alight it isn’t at the expense of the traditional forest groves. Each new release seems to be better than the last, and if you enjoyed last year’s Theogonia and this year’s Communion, then Night Eternal is the logical next step, and simply a kickass Metal album to boot. Here’s to these bands: they’ve paid their dues to the scene in their many years of existence, now let’s see them reap the rewards that they deserve.

Killing Songs :
At Tragic Heights, Night Eternal, Scorpion Flower, Moon In Mercury, Spring Of Rage, First Light
Goat quoted 89 / 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 - Memorial reviewed by Ken and quoted 95 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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