REVIEW: MOONSPELL – “1755”
I suppose it is safe to assume that music is always a challenge. The more you dwell and dive into the nuances of composition, playing and production, the more apparent the difficulties become. Add to this the desire to intensify and diversify a lot more within the extremes of heavy metal and symphonic music. As tedious as this endeavor sounds, Moonspell makes it harmonious, as though it was waiting to happen from the band’s end with its newest offering ‘1755’. The new record is the band’s finest yet, it’s an absolute treat to the ears. There is a certain sense of sacredness to this album. While many bands have in the past experimented with fusing metal and symphonic music, Moonspell presents this take with a strong sense of maturity and vision.
The album opens up with “Em Nome Do Medo”- which starts with a dark and eerie build up. Orchestral arrangements help build up intensity. While the vocals come with it’s own feeling and vibe, I find that the orchestral parts add more definition as far as the mood of the song goes. The choir creates an emotional build up as the song waits to open up. Folk elements are nicely blended.
“1755” opens with a phased and trance like mood before quickly transitioning into a folk influenced heavy metal setting, with the seriousness of the orchestral mood. The title track brings together heavy riff work coupled eloquently with symphonic and strings sections. The track is groovy at its core and its general composition seems to focus more on creating a heavy suspense before opening up to symphonic parts.
“In Tremor Dei is” journey through a multitude of soundscapes. The song reeks of power, sheer bloody power. The attention to detail is incredible. The bass is very prominent on this track. Paulo Bragança is featured on guest vocals on this track. His singing adds a haunting depth to the music that truly enables this song to start out. While this song sounds so powerful, the layered vocals does bring out a sense of fear in the music.
“Desastre” picks up from where “In Tremor Dei” left out in terms of intensity. The song utilizes fast tempos to create a sense of tightness with the symphonic elements. This song sounds very theatrical. “Evento” too does make good use of speed to create diverse textures the kind of music that the band has tried to present this time around. The work on the bass is marvelous here. This is certainly a very colorful track. The song keeps shifting between quieter and heavier moments in the music least when you expect it until it finally culminates in a fine ending.
“Ruínas” starts off as the essential headbanger’s anthem. The tasteful choice of scales on this songs makes this headbanger’s anthem full of elegance. The song breaks into a quieter strings and piano section that makes way for a melodic guitar solo that really captures a strong emotional moment in the album.
“Lanterna Dos Afogados” is a gentle yet sorrowful song with many beautiful piano sections. Heavy yet gentle music. It creates a sense of heaviness that is guided by a lot of groove while the symphonic parts give greater clarity of mood and emotion in the middle of everything happening. The singing only makes things a lot more human and relatable. Even for a person who isn’t familiar with the language, the music does convey the emotions that are otherwise also conveyed by the lyrics. The music certainly is the right context here.
‘1755’ by Moonspell is spellbinding. This album serves as a great narrative for symphonic metal. More than creating massive and devastating soundscapes, the album focuses on a more meditative sound which is composed with a ton of emotional and intimate orchestral parts. The metal side of the music is diverse and colorful enough but the symphonies take this to another level.
I really like how the album revisits some old, tried and tested and might I say timeless grooves, riffs and composition ideas with a newer and refreshing take keeping in mind with newer trends and their own artistic integrity. The band doesn’t merely visit their own musical past but at times explores the past of heavy metal as a genre, giving parts of it greater context today and presenting it under a newer symphonic and dark Moonspell touch. The production is absolutely top tier. A lot of detail is heard with definitive articulation. This album is a mark of musical maturity.