Album Review – Moonspell – Extinct (2015)

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Breathe (Until We Are No More), the first audio single of this album, connotes a new direction for Moonspell since Night Eternal (2008), both albums emulating a mournful, melodic and symphonic gothic rock momentum, with influxes of metal in places. This will also be the fourth album to demonstrate clean vocals as the prime directive by Fernando Ribeirous, heard previously on Night Enteral (2008), The Antidote (2003) and Irreligious (1997).  Narratively, it is also a step away from the famous inclusions of mythology and folklore, including their favoritism of lycanthropy and vampirism with the outline of the Apocalypse and the entity Lucifer/Satan.  Until We Are No Less, the first of the bonus tracks on the deluxe edition of Extinct separates from the orchestral gothic number to venture to a more diverse montage of synthesizers, higher emphasis of guitars, percussions and Ribierious’s voice, coming across as a remix/re-imagining of the original track.

Extinct, the second single and first and only track with a music video, is much harder in distribution, returning to a metal emphasis with the temperament of heavy metal and hard rock, which gruffer vocals, similar to those on The Antidote. Again, it follows the chronicle of the ‘end of days’, the pending hours before the Apocalypse descends on humanity, and reuniting with a lost love. Medusalem’s construction is very similar to the direction of Irreligious (1997) with the involvement of including other ethnic cultures into the equation; for example, whilst the Irreligious album uses Gregorian chants and opera in parts, Medusalem incorporates Asian chanting, more similar to Hindustani, but the passionate energy of Carnatic music, with aspects of Middle Eastern instrumentation amidst heavy gothic metal.

Domina yields back to a melodic sound, again with a mournful undertone (thus the title of the track), and a strong preference to a rock ballad than a metal track, reminiscent to alternative rock in genre. Doomina, the reconfiguration of this particular song, transforms into a combination of psychedelic acoustic and orchestral/folk rock, and similar to Until We Are No Less, has inkling to the original conception underneath, only the vocals have a more vibrant presence; almost acapella.

The Last of Us, the third and final single of the album, is once more, more rock orientated; with light flecks of metal escorting the powerful emphasis on the guitars and drums. This is the track in particular that distances the band from their previous works, though not far away from their distinct sound, they have stripped away the heaviness, and are in fact much lighter as a whole. The Last of Them is the first of the bonus tracks, which is the closest to the original song; the only change is the laxer instrumentation, and introduction of operatic vocals. It in fact has a more distant feel than its predecessor.

Malignia takes the form of melodic death metal, which fuses symphonic and death metal into one genre, and the tempo of this track differs greatly from the previous; it is more uplifting, despite the lyrical content being of lost/unrequited love. This formation is very similar to Tears for Fears’ Mad World (1983), a song, though about tragedy and a pessimistic view on the world was disguised as an uplifting pop piece, and has since been covered as the woeful message that it is by many artists, the most famous being Gary Jules in 2001.  Funeral Bloom again takes the melodic death metal genre, with aspects of doom and alternative metal, and though following the buoyant feeling, it was less so than Malignia, relaying the true mood of the song. A Dying Breed chains, melodic, symphonic and gothic metal in an illusionary soothing entry, and rhythmic pace, whilst the narrative denotes a dark symbolism of human extinction.

The Future is Dark is a slow, harmonious track stepping back into the rock genres, specifically dark an alternative rock. The song’s plot is filled with acceptance of the end of days, embracing it with clarity and without fear. The Past is Darker, the last bonus track, has a bearing is that of percussion, isolated electronic guitars, and acapella vocals, like The Last of Them, with a distant approach. It gives the impression of heartened emotions.

La Baphomette, the interlude to the end of the album endeavors to a French vaudeville track, with mild cabaret instrumentation, once more talking about the respect of the entity known as Baphomet/The Goat of Mendes, a pagan deity.

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