Originally written for Valkyrian Music.
I’ve never been quite comfortable in calling MOONSPELL “gothic metal” as that’s too much of a specific term to grasp all aspects of their music; “dark metal”, covering a broader range of said aspects, sounds more fitting. Especially now, given that “Hermitage” is probably the most somber album the Portuguese band has ever released.
They claim to be aware they’re approaching their final years as musicians and I remember Fernando Ribeiro saying, at Vagos Metal Fest 2016, how he hoped MOONSPELL would play like HELLOWEEN (headliners of that edition of the festival) when reaching their age. The Germans were in their early fifties at the time, so either that’s what MOONSPELL consider “final years”, or something has shortened the expiration date of their careers. Something like this pandemic, I believe. This whole situation has changed everybody’s perspective on life and “Hermitage” is supposed to be an album where MOONSPELLl put their hearts out and bring them closer to the fans “in these times of distancing”.
Their bass lines have always been intense – more so since Aires Pereira joined back in 2004 – and the groove of “The Greater Good” is quite a highlight among those lines, enhancing the whole omen vibe of its lyrics.
Ricardo Amorim has long proven his ability to make his strings weep (“The Future Is Dark”, out of “Extinct”, pops to mind, but there are others) but the bluesy foundation upon “All Or Nothing” was built simply excels. “Solitarian”, an instrumental track, follows suit in terms of emotional guitar work, but the drums and keys set up a more jazzy rhythm. Now the gloominess of “Entitlement” is endorsed – not solely but mainly – by Pedro Paixão’s piano, in such a seductive way that I found myself in some film noir scenario listening to it…
I hope “The Hermit Saints” is chosen to be played live: the choir of voices in the chorus will certainly give goosebumps when sung along by the audience. But in all honesty, this record is so rich that pretty much everything will work out live – and I promise it’s not my longing for concerts talking…
Label: Napalm Records
Producer: Jaime Gomez Arellano
- The Greater Good
- Common Prayers
- All Or Nothing
- The Hermit Saints
- Without Rule
- City Quitter (Outro)
- Darkness In Paradise (deluxe box bonus track)
- The Great Leap Forward (deluxe box bonus track)