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Review of the Album "Wolfheart" by Moonspell Perhaps Portugal’s Most Famous Metal Band

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

A wolf which is on the album's cover and symbolizes a creature that is focused on going after its prey.

A wolf which is on the album's cover and symbolizes a creature that is focused on going after its prey.

Basic Information About Moonspell and the Band Lineup for Wolfheart

Country of Origin: Portugal

Length: 43 minutes and 52 seconds

Style: Gothic Metal with a touch of death metal as well

Band Members that played on the album Wolfheart:

  • Fernando Ribeiro: lead vocals
  • Duarte Picoto: guitars
  • Joao Pereira: guitars and backing vocals
  • Joao Pedro Escoval: bass guitars
  • Pedro Paixao: keyboards and backing vocals
  • Miguel Gaspar also known as Mike: drums

An Album With Several Different Influences

Wolfheart is the 1995 debut studio album by Moonspell perhaps the most famous Portuguese metal band and the cover of their debut album is similar to something that we would see from the band Catamenia. I had heard about this band’s second studio album Irreligious way back in the day but had never really made an effort to listen to their music. You will be very glad if you listened to this debut because it is well, in a strange way a sort of soothing Gothic and death metal album. Stylistically I would say that Wolfheart is one of those albums in which it may sound like a combination of bands such as Paradise Lost, Opeth, and Novembre. It wouldn’t be totally accurate to call Moonspell strictly a Gothic metal band because there are still death metal raspy style vocal parts and there is even a bit of an Iron Maiden influence in the song “Love Crimes.” One part of the song sounds like it is metal and punk style from Iron Maiden’s earlier years.

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Another Reason Why Moonspell is an Interesting Band

Producing the album is the band Moonspell along with Waldemar Sorychta, a well-known music producer that also produced Lacuna Coil’s 1999 debut album In a Reverie.

"Alma Mater"

Analysis of the Songwriting in Wolfheart

There are also songs in this album such as “Trebaruna” that have that orchestration in it and this one has Portuguese lyrics in it. The way that this song sounds like may resemble the band Rotting Christ as well as early Theatre of Tragedy. Then there are songs such as “Alma Mater” which kind of sound like the band Rotting Christ’s mid-career works and there is some Portuguese lyrics in this song as well. It would be a good time for us to introduce a metal band from Portugal since there are so many other nations on the globe that have become well established in the genre. If Rotting Christ and Nightrage are two of Greece’s most well-known metal bands it is fair to say that Moonspell is as close to being the most well established metal band to come from Portugal. The song Alma Mater is kind of operatic in its approach and structure without actually sounding like an opera. The beginning of this debut by Moonspell is the song called “Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade)” starts with a sort of exotic guitar creation similar to Italy’s Novembre before the heaviness of the guitars kick in. Pay attention to the riffing style and you will indeed see that it is similar to Rotting Christ and Novembre. However, Moonspell also is one of the oldest Gothic and death metal bands in the music business going as far back as 1989 when they were under the name of Morbid God. This first song is about a creature that is half wolf and half female that is focused on feasting on her prey. Then there are also songs such as “Vampiria” which have this really atmospheric soft start to them as they slowly build into a song about a beast that has the power to fly away to a faraway place. There are also female style chants in this song which give it even more of a Gothic metal feel.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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