Originally posted on January 12, 2005 in my old music review blog.Moonspell
- http://www.thragedium.cjb.netThe Temple
I was first introduced to Moonspell by Lonewolf, who owns a couple of their CDs including Wolfheart
. He played it for me and I fell instantly in love with the heavy, gothic metal sounds that were blasting from his trucks speakers.
The album starts out with a very somber and mellow intro with just a clean, chorused guitar and some synth strings. Then suddenly it kicks in with this full, hard-hitting sound of metal with some excellent haunting guitar licks and epic sounding synth chords. The double-kick drum is the fucking balls!Fernando Ribeiro
's vocal work is incredible. It reminds me to some extent of Pete Steele
of Type O Negative
fame. He can do the deep melodic vocals with excellent precision and then get the growling death-metal-vocals going without sounding like a smoker on a bad day. His screams smack of an agony you can feel. As a suitable complement there is often a female backing vocalist that adds morbid vocalese melodies to the background texture.
The dynamics of the songs on this album are incredible. About four and a half minutes into Wolfshade
, the first track, listen for a mellow bass lead with some subtle synth work behind it. This is sandwiched between some hard-hitting metal but the transitions in and out are so smooth. You'll often hear breaks with synthesizer textures that send you floating on a melancholic mind trip. There are also moments that remind me a lot of the finer points that made Sisters of Mercy's album Floodland such a timeless treasure. For an example of this, check out the intro to Of Dream And Drama (Midnight Ride)
, track three on Wolfheart
The guitar work is so phenomenal! It harkens back to the days of bands like Iron Maiden
who actually used melodies and guitar textures to drive a song instead of power chords or power chords with the fifth on the bottom. The use of two-note intervals to imply harmony and letting the whole band build a sonic canvas instead of placing all harmonic responsibilities on the guitar is masterful. That's not to say there isn't use of power chords or harmonically rich moments for the guitar, but all in its place and time. That's the key. This band has a strong compositional sense which places it high above most modern mainstream metal bands.
If you like happy metal, don't listen to this album. It is very haunting. It is loaded with the occult. It has avery dramatic, theatrical, gothic sound. It is rife with anguish and torment and sadness and angst. At the very least it is somber and subtle, such as the short instrumental Lua D'inverno
. This truly is a collection of dark metal durges. The closest you'll get to upbeat is Trebaruna
Listen for the main guitar riff in An Erotic Alchemy
for what I believe is an homage to the late Randy Rhoads
. It bears a striking resemblance (almost note for note) to the main riff of Ozzy Osbourne
's classic Crazy Train
As a word of warning, you'll have trouble buying anything from their site. If you go to the Century Media Records site directly and search in their shop for Moonspell you'll find their albums. At $10 a piece for CDs or $11 a piece for vinyl you can't beat the price.
I found out about Thragedium through Moonspell's site. You can visit Thragedium's site and download their entire album "The Isolationist" from their website. The links are halfway down the main index page after you click in from the splash page (click on "Lusitanian Essence").
Much like Wolfheart
, "The Isolationist" starts with a very beautiful and crisp acoustic guitar intro. It immediately hits hard with the metal sounds. The sound of the first track, Breeding Thought
, has a sound that is close to a combination of Queensryche
and Iced Earth
. I was especially fond of the acoustic outro at the end of the first track.
In fact, the use of acoustic guitar is really a signature sound for Thragedium. They even use the Portuguese fado guitar, which is an unconventional touch of tradition that makes the album so much more appealing. You'll find this acoustic touch throughout the album. It makes an excellent contrast to the cutting metal distortion it is placed against, around and between.
In contrast to Moonspell, the harmonic focus of this album is placed on the guitar. There is only a touch of piano here and there for added texture. Even still there is a comparable level of sophistication that places it in a superior position to modern mainstream metal. The harmonies are complex and not limited to power chords. There's also a degree of orchestration on the guitar that has a very Iron Maiden
-like soundscape to it.
Another forte of this band is their tight rhythms. They make a good deal of synchopation and time changes that are tough for a unit to accomplish. Still they manage to pull them off in a seeminglessly effortless manner. This is espacially evident in Bloodline
is comparable to Lua D'inverno
in that it provides a small, instrumental break to the album that is somber and subtle.
Perhaps you may find some moments that sound like Moonspell. You wouldn't be entirely wrong. Moonspell's Fernando Ribeiro
makes a few appearances on this album, including backing vocals on Breeding Thought
and lead vocals on Bloodline
, to offer his impactful death growl vocals. It's great to see the level of comraderie that the Lusitanian metal bands share.
Unfortunately I only had little tastes of The Temple
from their website. They do have one full song from Diesel Dog Sound
, available for download. There are also a handful of other songs available on the site for download.
The Temple's sound is certainly more akin to the power chord driven likeness of modern mainstream metal. Much like Moonspell, the use of tight, rapid-fire double-kick is aggressive and appealing to the metal lover's ear.
The music is good but certainly not as sophisticated and dark as Moonspell and Thragedium. It's more just angry. It's still worth a listen. I'm not sure if it's something I would like to purchase, but I didn't dislike it.