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Review of Moonspell’s 3rd Studio Album "Sin / Pecado"

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

Sin / Pecado Represents a Turning Point for Portugal's Moonspell

Sin / Pecado (yes that is exactly how this album title is written and it may be weird for some of us to comprehend) is the 3rd studio album by Portuguese Gothic Metal band Moonspell released in 1998 and this is the album that sees the musical style and approach for Moonspell to shift into what was then going to be like uncharted waters for them. The album immediately presents something vastly different than what you may have heard from these guys after two albums.

The Album Begins In a Most Unusual Fashion

This album starts with a 39 second brief track called “Slow Down!” It is just one line and it is very industrial in nature. I wonder if such a track was necessary given that it was so brief and having an industrial sound to it. Perhaps the band did this to lead into the second song called “HandMadeGod.”

Musical Style and a More Analyzed Approach to the Songwriting in Sin / Pecado

It is difficult to decipher what the band’s intent may have been. In this album, there is much less or none of the rough growls that we heard on the first two Moonspell albums and it is more of a raspy growl. In this album, there is much more of a clean vocal style which dominates the majority of the album. The band didn’t slow down their riffs but rather made a transition into pretty full Gothic metal by 1998. Lyrically, the album is about how humans sinned against GOD and about how demons or forthcoming heroes each both have a role and a name. It may or may not be a coincidence that the album’s first part has the word sin in the title. The band may have written that first track to show us what happened to the first man and the first woman. Instead of slowing down and taking the time to enjoy paradise, they were tempted by a serpent that caused them to eat the fruit of a forbidden tree. Adam and Eve basically rushed into temptation. This is not an article about religion but to try and show the lyrical themes of Sin / Pecado in a rather analyzed way. The album also has that lyrical theme of forgiveness, something that we could all practice and try to implement into our daily lives but that’s beyond the scope of this album review. Can miracles be promised to anyone? It is said that miracles are always out there in this world and that we need to work on expecting them. This album also has a very dark, ominous musical feel to it and one such example is the song “Flesh” where lyrically the song is about seduction with a woman which only leads to being traded or discarded by the woman. The snake in this album is lyrically a metaphor because it symbolizes the root of human temptation.


Musical Influences and Final Observations

This album has a mishmash of influences ranging from early 2000s Amorphis to late 1990s and 2000s Paradise Lost. Unlike Paradise Lost though, Moonspell has that quality that really draws you in and you won’t be willing to hit the stop button on a CD player or the back button on a web browser. Sin / Pecado has that Gothic Metal plus progressive rock influenced sound that makes it a refreshing change from the black and death metal sound of their debut. If it was said that The Butterfly Effect was different than what they had done before, Sin / Pecado is also different because of how dark the album feels with Fernando’s mostly clean vocal performances. Even the more progressive influenced song “Eurotica” shows this dark feel to it as the song lyrically talks about being in a special place where everyone is under possession or control.

© 2022 Ara Vahanian

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