Portuguese band Moonspell is one of the most established bands when it comes to dark metal. They are also the first band of this genre that I encountered when I started my journey into metal a long time ago, and I guess I am not the only one to who has this experience.
The band is known to deliver high quality with every album they make and 1755 is no exception.
Where Moonspell previously found a balance between English, and their native language Portuguese, for the first time the entire album is done in Portuguese. This only logical considering the theme of the album; 1755 is a concept album about one of the biggest events in Portuguese history: the big earthquake in Lisbon in 1755.
The album starts with the great orchestral intro song Em Nome Do Medo (In The Name Of Fear). The orchestral on this song is done by Jon Phipps, who has worked with Moonspell before, and has a great build up. During the five and a half minutes you can feel the fear rising and the music is getting heavier and more dramatical by the minute. Then tTitle track 1755 sets in and already with this second song it is certain that this is going to be the most bombastic album that Moonspell has ever made. The strings and the choir are everywhere; it is heavy yet folky and Fernando his deep dark voice rises above all of this. It sets the tone for the rest of the album.
In Tremor Dei, with Paulo Bragança on guest vocals, it all calms down a little bit. The song literally gives you the feeling that this is just the calm before the storm. You can feel the tension, and Paulo his haunting voice prepares you for the horror that is to follow.
What follows is an explosion of bombastic songs and one big wall of sound, as could be expected after hearing the first two songs. Moonspell builds on where they left with Extinct. The sound is familiar, but they have raised the bar even higher, and have gone further than they ever have. The orchestra and choir are magnified and lead songs like Desastre and Todos Os Santos. They are the embodiment of the despair of the people who call out to God.
There are a few heavier songs, as 1 de Novembro, but also a lot of folk influences, that for example lead the song Ruínas.
The last song on the album Lanterna Dos Afogados is a cover song, originally brought out by Os Paralamas Do Sucesso and written by Herbert Vianna. Moonspell only uses the lyrics of the song which perfectly fit this album, and not the melody (thank god). They formed it into a fitting ending song for the album.
If you look back to Moonspell their history of album making, the sound of 1755 is only a logical development. With every album they make, their, still dark, sound gets more melodic and every new album tops the previous one. 1755 is no exception and is by far Moonspell their most bombastic and probably also most dramatic album so far. The production is really great and even though there is a lot going on in every song and there are so many musical lines woven into each other, it still sounds as a whole. They only small concern I have is how this is going to sound during a live show, and if the ‘playing along with a tape’ is going to do the songs their justice.
Most of us must wait a little longer before we can judge on that because the band will start touring in January, but until then I would highly recommend listening to 1755… a lot!
Review by Ingrid
Record label: Napalm Records
Release date: November 3rd 2017
01. Em Nome Do Medo
03. In Tremor Dei (feat. Paulo Bragança)
07. 1 De Novembro
09. Todos Os Santos
10. Lanterna Dos Afogados