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Moonspell, "Memorial" Album Review

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


Portuguese Gothic metal band Moonspell changes at least a little bit musically in each album without creating something 100% different. Such is the case with their 2006 studio album Memorial which might as well be crossing into the death metal territory just based on the style of the vocals alone which have been resumed from the previous Moonspell album. Usually, a title like Memorial may as well be given when they want to pay tribute to someone that has passed on from this Earth.


The Focus of This Album Review

For the purposes of analyzing this album, we will be taking a closer look at the digipak version which is one of three separate versions of this album. It seems that the nation of Portugal either usually has the band Moonspell or thrash metal but nonetheless, both alternatives are good for the avid metal music fan.

The Most Musically Diverse Album in Moonspell's Career Up to This Point

From the eerie and dark nature of Sin / Pecado and then to a concept album like The Antidote, this album Memorial has black metal influences, death metal style vocals and a more progressive metal kind of feel do this is what we men when we say that Moonspell puts out a different type of album every time without making it a 100% total departure. Moonspell still maintained their metal music approach but with Memorial, the vocals just became heavier to sound like a true death metal band. Performing on this album as a guest performer is producer Waldemar Sorychta who is from Poland. For the second studio album in a row, Moonspell has a person that is not from their country of Portugal play bass guitar on one of their albums. Since Moonspell is one of those bands that is exotic yet an acquired taste at the same time, unless we listen to an album several times it is tough to state with absolute certainty which album their best work is. Memorial is a Moonspell album that has progressive guitar work in it, death metal style vocals, black metal style riffs, and beautiful instrumental songs. One such instrumental song is the first track of the album called “In Memoriam” where after a sort of ominous style of play it builds up into a heavier ending before the second track Finisterra which in terms of its style isn’t too radically different from Unleashed Memories era Lacuna Coil. Do any of you remember the heavy song 1.19? “Mare Nostrum” is another short instrumental song that has guitar play that resembles the older Swedish melodic death metal such as In Flames because the sound on this song sounds very much like 1994 or 1996 style Swedish melodic death metal. Then, in addition, there is the sound of wind blowing in the beginning as well. Then as part of this digipak edition of Memorial, there is a minute and 27 seconds of just silence followed by a six minute conclusion to the album with the sound of howling wolves. This is yet another way that Moonspell tried to offer something different for the listener and you could say that they reinvented themselves and explored too. The last track is actually called “The Sleep of the Sea.” Typically in several metal albums, there is an intro, setting the stage for what is to come and then in the end there are outro kind of songs which instrumental guitar players have included in their albums. To this point in the career of Moonspell, Memorial is their most musically diverse album but not their darkest feeling one. It is experimental while at the same time not feeling like an experimental album and this might sound contradictory but Moonspell really showed how skilled they really are as a group and they put everything on the musical plate for listeners to be exposed

"Mare Nostrum"

© 2022 Ara Vahanian

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