CD review MOONSPELL ‘Hermitage’

After the first single release, which was the title track, curiosity for Moonspell’s new album was aroused. But step by step.

The first time I ever listened to Moonspell was when the Portuguese opened for Tiamat in 1995. Impressed by the intensity of their music, the band’s sound has stuck with me to this day, which is certainly also due to the stunning vocals of frontman Fernando Ribeiro. Music like ‘Opium’, ‘Ruin and Misery’ and ‘Extinct’ certainly belong to the best that dark metal has generated to this day.

Moonspell have always remained true to their basic musical concept without ever considering it as a corset. The last album ‘1755’ with the references to the great earthquake in Lisbon shows the ability of the band to not only write music, but also tell stories. And now, at the end of February, ‘Hermitage’ will be on the shelves of record stores, a new and exciting dark metal endeavor.

One thing up front, ‘Hermitage’ is definitely one of the most mature albums penned by the five Portuguese and one of their most multi-layered too. With ‘The Greater Good’ the band starts the longplayer with a real musical highlight. The song is a typical Moonspell one, but also shows a modern attitude. Next is ‘ Common Prayers ‘. Equipped with a strong gothic vibe, the song is a bittersweet musical temptation that you can’t let go of.

‘All or Nothing’ is this highlight in which Moonspell shows in a powerful way that they can write epic tunes that impress with depth and soul. Soundscapes and a melancholic singing guitar take the listener into a world of its own. Overall, one can say that the band does not stick to conventions or standard recipes, which is evident in the dark but beautiful ‘Entitlement’ and the following ‘Solitarian’.

Darkness and bombast meet in ‘The Hermit Saints’, a song that makes you want to press the repeat button. Complexity and details are main features on ‘Hermitage’, which also becomes evident towards the end of the album when ‘Without Rules’ sends its dark clouds of fog into the living room. The journey through the abysses of humanity ends with ‘City Quitter’, which is described as an outro, but with three minutes playing time is an impressive way to end this album.

‘Hermitage’ is undoubtedly the most mature work of the Portuguese. The band’s compass clearly points towards authenticity and musical creativity beyond trends and standards. The band puts the main focus on the songs which leads to an impressive musical journey that you like to experience several times.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. The Greater Good
  2. Common Prayers
  3. All or Nothing
  4. Hermitage
  5. Entitlement
  6. Solidarian
  7. The Hermit Saints
  8. Apoptheghmata
  9. Without Rule
  10. City Quitter (Outro)

Label: Napalm Records

Genre: Dark Metal / Gothic

Release Date EU: February 26th, 2021

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