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Requiem

Moonspell - Portugal's Finest

While the recent threads I've started about specific bands haven't really threatened to break any discussion records, it would be remiss of me to not begin something about the mighty Moonspell. 

They are one of those bands that I've been following closely for exactly 20 years now since 'Irreligious' came out in 1996 (my favourite year for metal). They have consistently produced interesting, atmospheric and sophisticated albums, passing through that ubiquitous 'rock' stage caused by Paradise Lost's 'One Second' before returning to metal with 'Memorial' in 2006. 

A fantastic band. Here is my list of their albums from Best to Least Best: 

'Irreligious' (1996) 

'Wolfheart' (1995) 

'Memorial' (2006) 

'Night Eternal' (2008) 

'The Antidote' (2003) 

'Sin/Pecado' (1998) 

'Darkness and Hope' (2001) 

'Extinct' (2015)

'Alpha Noir/Omega White' (2012) 

'The Butterfly Effect' (1999)

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I don't think the "rock" phase was all down to Paradise Lost - lots of bands outside their sphere of influence in the mid to late 90s were simplifying their songs, losing some of the harshness, and going for a more commercial sound.

Anyway I did listen to Moonspell quite a bit when I was in college. I've put them on occasionally since then for old times' sake; I went through a long period of not being interested in that style, but the ice has thawed a bit. I saw them several times and once wound up talking with one of the guitarists outside the club while he was having a cigarette; he expressed some bewilderment that the population of NYC was larger than that of his entire country. They really put on a great show, Fernando is an excellent frontman.

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8 hours ago, FatherAlabaster said:

I don't think the "rock" phase was all down to Paradise Lost - lots of bands outside their sphere of influence in the mid to late 90s were simplifying their songs, losing some of the harshness, and going for a more commercial sound.

Anyway I did listen to Moonspell quite a bit when I was in college. I've put them on occasionally since then for old times' sake; I went through a long period of not being interested in that style, but the ice has thawed a bit. I saw them several times and once wound up talking with one of the guitarists outside the club while he was having a cigarette; he expressed some bewilderment that the population of NYC was larger than that of his entire country. They really put on a great show, Fernando is an excellent frontman.

I can't speak for every band's rock phase but certainly there was a very conscious push into electronics, rock and experimentation by bands who have acknowledged PL's influence on them after 'One Second' came out. 

Paradise Lost's 'One Second' came out in 1997, then we had: 

Moonspell's 'Sin/Pecado' in 1998 with electronic elements, more refined rock sounds.

Theatre of Tragedy's 'Musique in 2000 with total electronics and a pop sensibility

Amorphis's 'Tuonela' in 1998 that lost the growled vocals and went straight ahead rock (with PL producer Simon Efemey no less)

My Dying Bride's '34.788%... Complete' in 1998 had electronics and massive experimental elements. 

I was there at the time and it was a very tangible, openly discussed phenomenon in the media. They are also my favourite bands and it was a difficult time of adjustment hahahaha. These bands who were always PL's contemporaries and were never afraid of admitting influence from them.  Obviously they also did it because they wanted to do it too. 

As for meeting the Moonspell guitarist (who is an amazing and underrated player!) that's awesome! 

I'm just amazed by these bands that have been going for 20+ years. They're a part of my life and I can't imagine them not going anymore. I'm still gutted that Sentenced retired, but there's obviously no way for a reunion now! 

 

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I mean, look no further than the black album for the archetypal radio-rock simplification that seemed to typify the idea of commercial viability back then, right? It's hard for me not to see a general shift towards simpler riffing and verse-chorus-verse song structure as being driven by market forces. Whether it was for commercial reasons or not, so many bands shifted away from the chaos of extreme metal and towards a more coherent rock and/or electronic sound to some extent - off the top of my head, Carcass, Entombed, Dismember, Grave, Amorphis, Convulse, Xysma, Tiamat, Katatonia, Dark Tranquillity, Beyond Dawn, Satyricon, At The Gates, Fear Factory, Rotting Christ, Sepultura, and I'd argue Slayer, Deicide, and Cannibal Corpse at least in their song structures... others will come to mind, but you get the idea. One point being that Paradise Lost was firmly in the middle of that, I wouldn't really call them a driver so much as just another exemplar of that trend. But also, I do remember being there, and at the time some of it felt like a good thing: validation! Our bands were finally growing up! Writing "real" songs! Looking back on it, at least for myself, I can only shake my head.

This isn't to discount what you're saying, just to place it in what I think is a relevant larger context. 

I was surprised by how chill the Moonspell guitarist was. I didn't even realize it was him for a little while, we just happened to be hanging outside the club at the same time. I think this would have been on the Darkness And Hope tour. I like some of their more rock-oriented material, but that album has aged pretty poorly IMO. I keep meaning to go back to the first two albums and then forgetting.

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57 minutes ago, FatherAlabaster said:

 

 

57 minutes ago, FatherAlabaster said:

 I wouldn't really call them a driver so much as just another exemplar of that trend. But also, I do remember being there, and at the time some of it felt like a good thing: validation! Our bands were finally growing up! Writing "real" songs! Looking back on it, at least for myself, I can only shake my head.

 

So at the age of 17-18 you were glad bands were finally growing up? You must have been significantly more mature than me, because I didn't get it at all at the time.

I still really enjoyed aspects of those new albums I mentioned earlier, but none of them matched my love for those bands' previous releases, and I felt that in many ways bands were copping out. I knew 'One Second' was cool, but I remember turning to my friend and saying, "Is this dance music?" Then I listened to the new albums by Moonspell, Theatre of Tragedy and My Dying Bride and said, "IT IS DANCE MUSIC!!"

While it's obvious now, back then I didn't really understand the whole Black album controversy - I just enjoyed it as another Metallica album. Once 'Load' hit though...

(Grand)FatherAlabaster, your palate moves much more quickly than mine as I'd only just settled in to the mid-90s gothic and doom metal template (largely created by Paradise Lost) before Paradise Lost contributed in specific ways but not exhaustively to the mellowing and introduction of electronica into a small number of bands in that scene who, but a year before, had nothing like it in their sounds.

Of course I accept they are part of a broader cultural zeitgeist and in no way do I state, implied or otherwise, that PL invented mellowing out or were moving in isolation from the influencing musical trends of the day.  

We should be posting all this stuff in the Paradise Lost thread. This conversation is certainly more organic than late 90s gothic metal amirite.

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Don't misunderstand me, I'm not going after you here, it's just something that's been on my mind. :) And yes, my taste has always been mercurial, and not particularly under my control - I'm often surprised to find how much it changes - but it seems to tend toward greater inclusivity over time, so I'll take it. Music has been a hugely important part of my life for decades, and I wonder how much of my personal development through music during those formative years was at the mercy of much broader forces that I couldn't even conceive of.

We do tend to let threads go where the conversation takes them, but if you'd like to keep this thread focused on Moonspell, that's fine.

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One thing I've noticed about Moonspell is that they're often mentioned as a yard stick for other bands. For instance on a couple of the Septicflesh (hail) rereleases the sticker adorning the jewel case says "For fans of Moonspell, Cradle of Filth, Type O Negative, (early) Paradise Lost". 

They're one of gothic metals great constants. Long may they reign. 

Edit: New Moonspell album coming in 2017!!!

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MMM, so, new Moonspell is coming--is about time---Night Eternal is my favorite album of theirs...Moonspell is such a classic metal band, been a fan of theirs forever....

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14 hours ago, JadedErotika said:

MMM, so, new Moonspell is coming--is about time---Night Eternal is my favorite album of theirs...Moonspell is such a classic metal band, been a fan of theirs forever....

'Night Eternal' is a great album! I can't wait for the new album, and it's good to see another Moonspell fan around here. 

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