Moonspell - Extinct
Napalm Records
Gothic metal
10 songs (45' 38")
Release year: 2015
Moonspell, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Andy

With Extinct, Portuguese goth metal outfit Moonspell provides a somewhat softer, more introspective album than they did with Alpha Noir/Omega White a few years ago. Not that they've left their metal roots behind -- there's still plenty of guitar distortion and harsh-vocalled passages from Fernando Ribeiro. But it does have a quieter feel to it as well as a re-embracement of the post-80s goth rock sound.

As such, Breath (Until We Are No More) is much more a goth-rock song than anything else, with little chiming guitar bits and plenty of synth hiding back around the bassline. The title track is heavier, with a double-quick march that owes quite a bit to Depeche Mode, but the song has strong bones; the solo stands on its own and the chorus's melody is held up easily by Ribeiro's deep, powerful voice, and so is that of the Middle-Eastern-styled Medusalem. One of the things I always liked about Moonspell is their ability to make their particular brand of goth metal sound serious and poetic, which comes in handy when some of their songs (such as Medusalem) need a strong, steady hand not to sound ridiculous. Fortunately for us, they are more than up to the task.

And some of these songs are real gems. The Last of Us, a steady mid-tempo tune with a chorus drowning in dark atmosphere, is the best on the album in my opinion, and both the chorus and verse melodies, decorated with little echoing lead guitar riddles and yet more synth, are a finely honed culmination of the band's ability to write and produce a nice, pop-hooked goth song. Malignia is not so great -- Ribeiro tries his hand at harsher singing than his usual clean sound, but it doesn't come off well and the melody is rather aimless --, but Funeral Bloom's buildup (still with some harsh vocals for effect) and subsequently loud bridge is much more powerful than anything its predecessor could aspire to. The last few tracks, despite their metal trappings, sound milder and more meandering -- and even though the choruses are played just as heavily, the melodies and Ribeiro's voice just don't seem to have the same killing edge they did in earlier tracks. The last track, La Baphomette, is sung in French and has the sound of a traditional French folk song, even though I'm pretty sure they were the ones who wrote it. It is rather unusual, but not particularly memorable.

Not everyone's going to like the direction Moonspell has taken with Extinct, especially if their heavier albums have been more to one's taste. However, there are some great tracks on here, on which the band clearly accomplishes somewhat radio-friendly songs without losing their metal sound. It's probably not their best album, but it's a strong showing.

Killing Songs :
Extinct, The Last of Us, Funeral Bloom
Andy quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Moonspell that we have reviewed:
Moonspell - Hermitage reviewed by Goat and quoted 60 / 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
Moonspell - Memorial reviewed by Ken and quoted 95 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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