Moonspell - 1755

Moonspell - 1755

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(CD/LP, Napalm Records, 2017)

For a band like MOONSPELL, it must be rather easy to make music sounding as close as to the most popular albums and be in a position to satisfy those fans who believe that only the first LPs are the best. But if you want to be a genuine artist and you are strong enough to follow your gut and feelings, then you will attempt what MOONSPELL have done with “1755” which, by the way, I consider as the most challenging album of the band’s career. And the reasons? Well, you just have to keep reading...

If you check every album MOONSPELL have released, then you will understand that this is not a band that likes to stand still. Every record has something different to say and goes one step farther than the previous one, no matter what was its success. Yeah, the Portuguese band is fond of moving outside its comfort zone and in some cases has released some genre-shaping albums. Now with “1755” MOONSPELL did something that many consider as anathema; did not use the English language for the lyrics... This may sound like an overstatement but this is one of the biggest (and silliest) complains many metalheads make who apparently hate being outside the norm. However, wouldn’t be strange to have a concept album about the devastating earthquake that hit Lisbon in 1755 and not use the Portuguese language?

The album starts with the symphonic piece “Em Nome Do Medo” and you will feel your hair on the back of your neck standing up while listening to Fernando’s almost whispering singing as he feeds the dark atmosphere and welcomes the Gothic aesthetics. The Portuguese pronunciation works perfectly with the music that soon enough gains aggression without dismissing the heavy use of symphonic arrangements. At some point, THERION came to mind, and I think the way the music was mixed was having a movie soundtrack in mind. And then, you are ready to crank the volume up to underline the guitars’ appearance in the album’s title track. This is MOONSPELL alright and I am sure you’ll love Fernando growls as the rhythm is pounding its way and keeps building the tension. The balance between the symphonic and the Metal parts is constantly shifting but this is done in a smooth way with one style bleeding into each other. The mid-tempo does not take away any of the heaviness you (should) know from MOONSPELL and you can blame the guitars for this. Despite the slow start, “In Tremor Dei” is a headbanger with the guitar spearheading the aggression, while throwing some modern finishing touches on the mix. The main melody served by the guitars and supported by the choir will get stuck right away and, trust me, you’ll attempt to lip-sync no matter if you understand the Portuguese lyrics. But wait, there is more; Paulo Bragança makes a guest appearance here with his amazing singing tone and expands the melancholic palette with the climax being his vocalisms towards the end of this song. I am sure “Desastre” will immediately become a setlist favorite firing in all cylinders with the hard-hittin’ tempo and the aggression coming from the vocals (again, the accent works like a charm) and the awesome guitars. The same goes for the faster “Abanão” where you (should) enjoy the magical mix between Metal and symphonic / choir parts.

This is a demanding album, meaning that you need to really invest listening time to be able to experience everything MOONSPELL have masterfully added in their music. It would not be too much to say that this album sums up everything this band has produced over the years with all the styles melted together in a solid piece of fine craftsmanship. However, there are a couple of tracks that will immediately stand out during the first LP spins and for different reasons. First is my absolute favorite “Todos Os Santos” with the fantastic riffs that got imprinted in my mind from the get-go. And then, there is this hard-not-to-fall-for groove with Ribeiro’s strong and most expressional singing which is the perfect opportunity to have some fun with my attempt to sing-along in Portuguese - it is irresistible. The next one that caught my ear was the OS PARALAMAS DO SUCESSO cover on “Lanterna Dos Afogados”; my apologizes to the band because I think MOONSPELL’s interpretation with the different color palette has made this one a powerful and emotional album closer. The guitar distortion, the massive bass sound with another shivers-down-your-spine singing performance are some of the things that have already made this a MOONSPELL song.

I have already said too much but I feel that I barely scratched the surface of “1755”. This is the most mature, complete and confident album by MOONSPELL and if it was up to me, I would play the entire album live for an entire tour. This is totally deserved since there is no song inside that should not get the live treatment.

PS: Fernando posted in his FB page that touring the US is close to be impossible, but that’s ok since revisiting Portugal is in my bucket list, and this album seems to be the perfect occasion. Obrigado!





01. Em Nome Do Medo
02. 1755
03. In Tremor Dei
04. Desastre
05. Abanão
06. Evento
07. 1 De Novembro
08. Ruínas
09. Todos Os Santos
10. Lanterna Dos Afogados


Fernando Ribeiro - Vocals
Ricardo Amorim - Keyboards, Guitar
Miguel Gaspar - Drums
Pedro Paixão - Guitars, Keyboards
Aires Pereira - Bass