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Moonspell, "the Antidote" Album Review

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


Another Concept Album by Portugal's Moonspell

The Antidote is more than just the 6th studio album by Portuguese Gothic metal band Moonspell. The album was released with a book of the same name by author Jose Luis Peixoto. In a sense, this album is a concept album based on that book. The Antidote is said to be a heavier kind of album especially compared to their previous releases. Fernando Ribeiro’s voice is rougher in this album when compared to the vocals on Darkness and Hope. The Antidote might as well be a reminder for some of us at least on a symbolic level that there is an antidote to our problems associated to gloom, despondency, and depression.

Just like they say that you should never judge a book by its cover, it can be said that don’t judge this album by the way that its cover looks, having a skull in the cover. Sometimes, a skull can also represent poison as well as part of a skeleton but this album is far from toxic to the ears.

Amorphis's Bassist Niclas Etelavouri Plays Bass Guitar On This Album

Both the book and this album share a single concept and the same story. Doing the duties on the bass guitar for this album is former Amorphis bassist Niclas Etelavuori. I think that the decision to involve a member from a different country could have been the different perspective that Moonspell was looking for. So, for all intents and purposes, you can look at The Antidote as being a dark and heavy album that involved band members from two countries.

About the Musical Style of "Antidote" and Songwriting

Besides that, Moonspell came out of the early 2000s and created a dark yet interesting album because it is a concept sort of album based on a book. The drums play a more prominent role on this album compared to earlier Moonspell albums and something like this can show that the band was growing as a unit. As good as this album is, there is still not a song on this album that is as good as “Firewalking” or “Disappear Here” two of the finest songs in Moonspell’s career. Even so, Fernando’s dual vocal approach and drumming make this album a nice one to listen to especially on rainy days.

By this point in their career, Moonspell had shown that they could be heavy and make it stand out as a solid release (Wolfheart). They had also shown that they could make good experimental albums such as we have previously discussed in previous album reviews for this band. What is one very challenging point for the average listener trying to digest the music of this album is the very dark and enchanting song “Lunar Still” which sounds more like a Cradle of Filth song that could as well have come out in 1998-1999. Then there are songs such as “Crystal Gazing” which are dark in terms of the melody but the relaxing mid-tempo guitar work can make the listener feel as if they are impressed by it. The Antidote begins with The Gathering influenced song “In and Above Men.” Listening to the song again and again reminds me that the beginning riff is similar to something that The Gathering would write in the 2009 album The West Pole. Then there is a transition into the next song “From Lowering Skies” as it begins with what seems like a long and extended drum part or drum solo as the exotic guitar riff comes in. Fernando Ribeiro shows that he can do a great vocal job in the chorus line as his thundering vocals can be heard. To a degree, he also sounds like Tuomas Saukkonen in the song “Everything Invaded.”

© 2022 Ara Vahanian

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