Trampled, Scratched and Covered in Cobwebs but Still it Spins

Trampled, scratched and covered in cobwebs but still it spins
Moonspell
Wolfheart
Magic arts / Century Media 1995
moonspell digipak front cover
 Track Listing:
Wolfshade (a Werewolf Masquerade)
Love Crimes
…Of Dream and Drama (Midnight Ride)
Lua D’Inverno
Trebaruna
Vampiria
An Erotic Alchemy
Alma Mater
Ataegina
Let me start this review by openly admitting that my decision to buy this CD was based solely on the album’s artwork alone. I know to never judge a book by its cover, but sometimes the curiosity is so great and the urge so overpowering that you have no choice but to part with your hard earned pennies.
The CD folds out to display stunning artwork and photo imagery. The first fold displays a pair of wolves on either side, one pair in a standoff position, the other are at each others throats. Another turn of the CD’s packaging show wolves in a more serene and relaxed state. Does this contrast in pose perhaps allude to the musical content of the album one wonders.
The digi pack cover’s artwork (I paid extra for it) depicts arctic wolves fighting for dominance. Fangs are bared, feral eyes are blazing with purpose and thick fur is mated with sweat from exertions. At further glance you may, as I did, notice the wolf’s two legged stance and think that it looks rather human, does this give suggestion to the lyrical content and theme of the album?
Again my curiosity is aroused, only one way to know for sure…spin the damn thing!
Track one starts slow and laden in atmosphere courtesy of a slow strummed guitar and moody keyboards. After forty five seconds it breaks into something very different, a mid tempo heavy melody overlaid with somewhat black metal vocals. As the track continues it overflows with dark mood and a near palpable Gothic and erotic feel. The lyrics and vocals certainly add to the feel, varying from a near blackened style to a heavy accented clean style of singing which is quite unique and enjoyable. At over seven minutes long this track is captivating and truly an impressive start to the album.
“Love Crimes”, the second track, does not disappoint either. Starting with a guitar melody and beat you might find on an earlier Danzig album it again showcases Langsuyar’s vocal style. Female angelic vocals are used as part of the atmosphere to great effect. Spoken vocal passages and an emotional soundscape breakdown finishes this track making it another gothic track to remember.
The melody in Trebaruna strangely reminds me of Skyclad (a British folksy metal band from the 90’s) It utilizes both keyboards and what seems like a wind instrument. With the drums adding to the heavy Celtic feel. This track is sang in Portuguese adds further to the track’s overall mystic and mystery.
A heartbeat ties this in nicely with …Of Dreams and Drama. This track is decidedly more upbeat and bouncy than the last. At the 3:20 mark you may notice a Danzig riff? Again? Just me? I happened to peer at the lyric sheet while listening, it deserves a read, outstanding gothic prose, this song tells of immolation and suicide upon a burning pyre, certainly not a family dinner table conversation.
Track six is possibly my favourite track on the album. The softly spoken, heavily accented whisper of ‘Vampiria’ raises goosebumps. The spoken lyrics that follow bring to mind visions, perhaps that of a Hungarian count recalling past deeds or lost loves. A very powerful song complimented by an angelic soundscape and enough tempo changes to keep one interested.
The next track has a very hypnotic keyboard riff that strangely reminds me of a rock style that She Wants Revenge is famous for. Spoken female vocals add to the overall enjoyment of this a track that called be deemed a little dance-y in parts.
A chilling ”Would you die for this” finishes the track and ties in nicely to the next. An upbeat melody make this my absolute favourite and a song I hum for days after each and every listen…”Alma Mater!”
The last track (bonus) is entitled Ataegina. It has a very traditional feel to it, another sang in Portuguese.
If I were pressed to compare it to anyone else’s style one band I would mention is Type O Negative. Both have similar gothic themes with unique vocals and slower melodies hinting at doom at times. Another perhaps the diverse Swallow the Sun with a little less emphasis on the epic “black” feel and vocals. The last band I would mention is Danzig. (I’ve mentioned them enough times in this review) Some of the melodies could be classed as more traditional hard rock and both are heavily vocal based with lyrics of a darker erotic slant. This album relies heavily on classical themes of vampirism, witchcraft and lycantrophy and mixes it with emotional, moody vocals and mid tempo-ed melodies for an outstanding end result worthy of anyone’s collection. In conclusion, if you enjoy music with a dark and gothic feel minus the growls, grunts and musical brutality of more traditional horror themed metal give this a whirl.
I have a number of other Moonspell albums but I will always treasure this the most. Ironically enough it’s their first album, a fact I was only recently made aware of, that’s not to say the others aren’t good, they are impressive also though lack the emotion I personally believe this one has.
moonspell alternate art
Give this a spin, I do believe you will be pleasantly surprised.
Cult
On a side note in 2003 Moonspell recorded a track “I’ll see you in my Dream” for a Portuguese short horror movie (dir. Miguel Angle Vivas) of the same name. Included with the dvd is a promotional video the band shot, based on the same song.