Monday, July 27, 2015

Review of Moonspell's Extinct

Moonspell seems to have spent the better part of their twenty year career jumping between their roots in extreme metal and interest in post punk and goth rock. An album or two has come close to marrying the two styles but most seem to prefer one over the other to the point where 2012's Alpha Noir/Omega White was available as a double album with a disc for each style. Moonspell's eleventh full-length album isn't on the classic level of Wolfheart or The Antidote but it may be their most successful integration yet.

No matter what approach they're going for, there are always certain elements you can expect to hear when listening to a Moonspell album. The guitars go between clean melodies and aggressive chords, the rhythm section is more active than many of their peers, and the vocals alternate between rough shouts and Peter Steele style crooning. There aren't too many twists though the album seems to be split to where the first half is more upbeat while the second focuses more on mid-tempo brooding.
Predictably, the first half provides the album's strongest highlights. The building contrasts on the opening "Breathe (Until We Are No More)" and the rather bouncy title track provide the album's heaviest moments while "The Last Of Us" recalls "Herodisiac" with its infectious vocal layering and driving Sisters of Mercy beat. Fortunately the second half doesn't slouch as "Malignia" balances a symphonic bridge with a hard hitting chorus, "Funeral Bloom" has a smooth post punk hook, and "La Baphomette" closes on an almost jazzy note.

As someone who enjoys Moonspell's forays into goth rock about as much as their metal, it is quite nice to see the band mix the two styles in such a satisfying fashion. The band's usual talent for diversity is in great form and the hooks on "The Last Of Us" and "Medusalem" among others make this one of the year's more entertaining efforts. They'll never make anything as genre defining as Wolfheart ever again but Moonspell is still essential listening for goth fans of all trades.

"Breathe (Until We Are No More)"
"The Last Of Us"
"Funeral Bloom"

No comments: