Cult’s Milestones in Metal: Slayer Hell Awaits

Trampled, Scratched and Covered in Cobwebs…

But it Shall Spin Forever
Slayer
Hell Awaits
1985 Metal Blade records
 imagesG3EBOLQY
Track Listing
Hell Awaits
Kill Again
At Dawn they Sleep
Praise of Death
Necrophiliac
Crypts of Eternity
Hardening of the Arteries
I was just a young and naïve lad when I discovered this album, and boy, did it transform my adolescence. It is the prominent guilty party, among a few others, of shaping my musical tastes dramatically, which at the time consisted of Adam Ant (I swear the infamous Prince Charming music video will have a prominent place in an endless musical loop awaiting me in my own personal hell), Terence Trent D’arby and other popular acts that died dramatically within the early eighties. [Didn’t you ask to do the review of the Flock of Seagulls reunion CD?- Ed. (Renfield)]
Suffice to say the first time I heard Slayer my mind was literally blown! Before this experience I had only heard snippets of some Guns N Roses tracks and various AC/DC songs, which I had rather taken a liking to, but nothing even close to, or resembling the deviant screeches, break neck rhythms, double bass drums and hellish chants and lyrics that this thrashing foursome from Huntington Park, California would soon be recognized the world over for.
The cassette tape I owned very quickly wore out. I would use the excuse I needed to run to the store so I could press play on my walkman in order to lose myself (again) in its splendor. For me Hell Awaits was a new fascinating, exciting and rather wicked audio experience.
I became hooked faster than a starving fish and like any gateway drug worth its weight, it introduced me to a world whose existence I had never known before. This was my introduction to metal, and I haven’t looked back since.
Hell Awaits was originally released in 1985. It had notable competition at that time, including thrash and metal standout albums from such acts as Possessed, Celtic Frost and Anthrax.
Also worthy of a mention is the Freshman release from Megadeth, Killing is my Business… Worthy of a brief mention is the fact that Kerry King joined the Dave Mustaine’s stable for a short while (following the Haunting the West Coast tour -1984 – supporting the Haunting the Chapel EP) only to return before the recording of Hell Awaits citing that Megadeth was “taking too much of my time”. To think that the Slayer legacy could have been severed short and that this genre defining album may never have been made!
The cover of this release by Albert Cueller, depicts the damned and their journey to the very depths of hell. Three figures are escorted by demon like figures and captured in various poses including dismemberment, evisceration and decapitation.
The album’s title track describes the grisly art in one of its final verses…
“Warriors from hell’s domain,
Will bring you to your death,
The flames of Hades burning strong,
Your soul will never rest”
 images
Onwards to the music.
Kerry King cites Mercyful Fate as an influence for this release (and Slayer‘s first – Show No Mercy) and primarily the reason for the running times and variation of riffs in many of the longer tracks.
The title track is the first up. It is introduced to us by the screeching of guitars and a chanting of sorts. Recent internet research has helped me solve the puzzle of what the chanting actually is. The phrases “Join us” and finally “Welcome back” are reversed and repeated to great effect.
Over the years this introduction has become one of the most recognized album introductions within the metal scene, surpassing even Venom’s infamous introduction to Black metal, a chainsaw upon metal door hinges.
The track itself picks up from an initial ritualistic drum beat into a mid tempo gallop that breaks into a riff that sets the pace for the remainder of the track. Frenzied solos filled with fret picking madness are masterly provided by both Hanneman as well as King and hint at the sonic brilliance and insanity the rest of the album contains.
Tom Araya’s vocal style is hardly a singing style, it has more of a shouted approach (which is more commonly found in earlier punk music) which fits the music perfectly. In this, the opening track, the vocals seem a little rushed at times though are still decipherable only cementing his worth as a competent front man.
The lyrics in this track touch upon the descent into hell, damnation and the struggle between the forces of light and darkness, in which darkness has the upper hand.
“Angels fighting aimlessly,
Still dying by the sword”
Of course the last line may be a nod to a track from their first release, “Die by the Sword”.
Nonetheless, a standout track to start the album.
The next track, Kill Again, takes no time whatsoever in building to a great rhythm within a breakneck pace. The lyrics revolve around an overbearing lust and need to kill. This is admittedly one of my personal favorites and a track I am guilty of singing along to even without it playing between my ears.
At Dawn They Sleep is a track based upon blood hungry beings, vampires of sorts. It’s worth mentioning this track was Tom Araya’s first lyrical contribution to the band although he is also attributed for Crypts of Eternity. This track boasts great breaks in both rhythm and pacing and even a short drum solo from Dave Lombardo.
Necrophiliac, the fifth and shortest track on this album, has lyrics that could so easily have been pulled from the darkest depths of an insane mind and this is probably the reason why it is my favorite Slayer track. Coitus with the deceased [Yeah, I’m surprised here too folks!– Ed. (Renfield)] and the desire to go to the …fiery pits…through most nefarious deeds certainly make this a track to remember. Of all the tracks on this album I would imagine this one, from the lyrical content and subject matter, to be predominant in the influence of up and coming bands in the death and black scene.
Crypts of Eternity, up next, has a chilling, frenetic and remarkable introduction oftentimes seeming like something pulled from a Morbid Angel release, but of course this had to be an influence for them as it was released four years previous to their first major effort (Altars of Madness in 1989).
In my opinion this track reeks of the influence of Venom most notably the Seven Gates of Hell track, even to the point of Tom Araya sounding like Cronos when he sings “spell” in the chorus. Venom was a huge and reported influence on Slayer, especially within their first two releases.
The longest track on the album Crypts takes the listener on a remarkable journey narrated by chaotic and mesmerizing riffs it tells of the insanity within the unfathomable nature of the underworld.
At the five minute mark there is a riff that is quite possibly my favorite on this album that leads to a truly memorable and outstanding riff laden finale. The final words spoken “My kingdom, my domain” are chilling and bring about a great conclusion to this epic song.
The final track on the album is Hardening of the Arteries. Maniacal musicianship, melodic rhythm and head banging riffage are showcased here that which also burst at the seams within the entire album, the final minute however hints at the dark majesty of mid tempo mastery more commonly found within a future Slayer release entitled South of Heaven.
I will argue that this album shows more finesse and variation than Slayer‘s follow up release which is widely considered their milestone. This album is longer, while Reign in Blood (1986) runs barely over the 29 minute mark, and delves more into technical at times slightly twisted and bizarre, hellish mid tempo riffs rather than the all out speed Reign is known for. It was light years ahead of Show no Mercy and propelled Slayer into the forefront of the speed/thrash metal scene where they have reigned (pardon the pun) for now close to thirty years.
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image;arstechnica.com
If you haven’t already, and I can’t fathom why, give this chunk of legendary metal history a spin, it has stood the test of time, there’s only a handful of releases that can boast that! Closing your eyes the names of countless other bands flash across the backsides of your eyelids those who have emulated the same style, even current bands that still do. The impression Slayer has left upon the metal scene is huge, and they continue to inspire new talent with each and every release. A legendary band and a formidable release, I present to you…Hell Awaits!

December-The Lament Configuration-another Cult review

Trampled, Scratched and Covered in Cobwebs but still it Spins
December
The Lament Configuration
Earache recordings 2002
lament configuration#1
Track Listing:
Icenine
Vertigo
Waiting for Rain
Host
Trail
The Sleeping Throne
Token Gesture
By Example
Play Dead
Quiet Cold
For this week’s installment I will be reviewing a CD that arrived unsuspectingly in the mail within a package bearing an Earache logo, it was quite the pleasant surprise I am pleased to admit. This is the first time I have been sent a physical disc to review and I am honored to be able to do so.
If one were to Google or YouTube the name of this release (I’m guilty of it) you will find a screen filled with images and/or clips of puzzle boxes, prominently displayed is the “Box” from the Hellraiser series of movies. This is the ultimate Lament Configuration a collection of shapes that when manipulated into certain positions will indeed deliver both grief and sorrow.
The CD’s cover is very unassuming, the band’s title and the name of the CD may be the only possible thing that gives this release’s overall theme and musical style away, and I’m very curious as to what that might be.
The cover depicts (an unprofessional guess here) a piece of art in both watercolors and chalk. The character is outlined with very dark highlights and is looking upwards, the throat is bared perhaps suggesting “You’ve taken everything else, now take me. I’m through with this world, I have nothing to live for anymore.”
The name of the band, December, is a month known to be very dreary and lifeless and part of this release’s name – Lament – means to mourn deeply, to express sorrow or regret. I am to only assume, therefore, that this may be a CD with an overall dark theme, and perhaps even a doom style, but I can’t for the life of me think of another band on the same label who specialize in this particular genre. That being said, Earache are a label renowned for signing and promoting acts that don’t quite fit into any specific genre but rather bands that prefer to carve their own music niches. They have famously released some very unique and genre defining acts over the past twenty five years, Napalm Death’s Scum was their first major release (in 1987).
Onward to the music.
 lamwnt configuration#2
image:wallpaper5.com
The Lament Configuration was recorded in 2001 and released in 2002.
The person responsible for the torturous vocal cord salvo, and (I’m thinking) a closet packed with throat lozenges, is Mark Moots. He cites influences from such acts as Burnt by the Sun, Napalm Death, a plethora of others I haven’t even heard of and The Deftones (he added as an afterthought in an email exchange). I can distinctly recognize both the Napalm Death and Deftones influences (the Adrenaline release especially).
The first track, Icenine, fades in from white noise and immediately propels you unapologetically into a cyclonic fury of musical intensity.
The music style is tricky to define. It is hardly death or thrash metal, or even grindcore, although it does seem closer to this than to any of the aforementioned in my opinion. It is the structure of the songs and playing style within this release that keeps the band out of the realms of death or thrash. Many of the riffs have more of a choppy and frenzied feel rather than a repetitious fast gallop or break-neck pace.
The vocal style is harsh and unforgiving, they range from a grunt and growl attack (which often times sounds like two people) to a banshee screech of such intensity it can be likened to that of a fighter jet taking off (believe me I live perilously close to an airport!).
While listening to this release I’m often reminded of bands such as Brutal Juice and even at times Chum (a band with a disappointingly short lifespan who were also very genre-indefinable) the riffs in the beginning of track four, Host, remind me a great deal of those used in their Dead World release (1996). At other times I can close my eyes and it’s easy to believe I am listening to a strange grindcore hybrid beast, perhaps a bastard offspring spawned from the combined loins of Pig Destroyer and Commit Suicide.
The seventh track, Token Gesture, is one of many that displays their unique style, talents and influences prominently. This track especially, in my opinion, relies heavily on a Napalm Death type vibe, I actually expected a cameo from Barney at some point within the track (sadly didn’t happen!) The definite groove, vocal brutality and (slight) homage found nestled (comfort in a brutal track?) in this track make it my favorite, another standout among many.
No expense was spared in the production department, which is impressive every instrument is clear and unmistakable. Devon Townsend (of Strapping Young Lad) handled both mixing, production and engineering.
At no given point throughout the album did I hear clean vocals or anything resembling that of a more traditional singing style. I also failed to locate anything a keyboard or anything even remotely resembling an introduction to any of the tracks, be it instrumental guitar, atmospheric soundscapes, old movie sound clips or otherwise.
The sonic barrage rarely slows down, and it’s not until the final moments of the album that something hints at being less chaotic and even perhaps tranquil, but it’s only the merest of glimpse, before the CD stops spinning and it’s time to rearrange the furniture back to where it was before the unmistakable urge to move possessed you into something resembling an uncontrollable spastic and nuclear fueled appendage revolution.
In conclusion, if you are up for something a tad heavier than usual, something that may have passed you by …a mere thirteen years ago!
You might want to consider giving this release a spin. I can’t guarantee it will keep you awake on long road trips, but it will make driving a little more enjoyable. It will, however, ensure your in-laws will leave (at last!) if it’s played at high volumes at family gatherings which seem to last (forever!) longer than perhaps they should.
I quite honestly don’t know how this release passed me by, but hey, it’s all good we got to discover it together.
Go on, piss off granny, buy this and play it loud!
I wholeheartedly recommend it without any reservations or guilt whatsoever!
Cult

Opera Diabolicus – A Cruelty and the Beats review

 

Trampled, Scratched and Covered in Cobwebs but Still it Spins

 

Opera Diabolicus

1614

Metalville Recordings 2012

 

 

opera diabolicus front cover

 

 

 Track Listing:

 

Overture

The Gates

Blood Countess Bathory

The 13th Guest

In Memoriam

Mythos Lamia

Forbidden

Stone by Stone

 

In this review installment I would like to introduce Opera Diabolicus.

This outfit is a Brainchild and collaboration between (composer) David Grimoire and (lyricist) Adrian de Crow, who both hail from Gothenburg Sweden. If you have been paying the slightest attention to the metal scene within the past twenty or so years you might immediately think (as I did) of bands such as Dismember, At the Gates or Entombed (there are a myriad of others). Gothenburg is famous within the metal scene for having a unique heavy, dirgy and thick ‘sound’ which arguably started around the time of the release of Entombed‘s, genre defining, Left Hand Path (in 1990), and has taken on many variations in form since then, I’m thinking Wolverine Blues as a prime example.

 

Before I find myself veering dramatically off course upon a wild tangent, sure to find itself on the cutting room floor (smirk – Ed), I will admit that this is one of the only times a mere album cover’s artwork has piqued my interest enough for me to think about writing a review. Upon seeing the interesting artwork upon this album cover I had to learn more. My fingers immediately alighted upon the landscape of several search engines and upon reading several reviews my curiosity only continued to ceaselessly gnaw at me more.

What follows is my take and overall opinions on this release.

 

The cover of this release depicts a Renaissance residence hallway/foyer type setting in which a gown wearing maiden takes center stage. Behind her and displayed beyond the open doorway are, what I presume to be, overturned carriages indicative perhaps of the aforementioned title’s historical time period (1614) and the violent clashes within that period. Surrounding her are two characters looking like masked Highwaymen.

The female character is the only one with any type of vibrant color, appearing prominent and perhaps also within the overall theme of this release. The masked characters are openly handing items to the gowned maiden; knifes and a cross, which is upside-down perhaps again an indication of the theme and lyrics apparent within this album. This is a fantastic image appearing aged just like it might if it was an authentic painting from the period in which this album pertains to.

 

Onwards to the music…

 

Overture is an instrumental that starts the release off to a nice start.

After this introduction you might be still on the fence as to the style this album might adopt. The second track, The Gates, sets the pace and the theme nicely. If this is any indication of what’s to follow smiles will form on the faces of fans of bands such as King Diamond, Tristania, Theatre of Tragedy and perhaps even the more obscure and underrated The Project Hate MCMXCIX (several of the female vocal parts are very reminiscent of Ms. Mia Stahl female vocalist for a short while). Female and male vocals intertwine resulting in fantastic results, both Gothic and atmospheric. At times they verge and hint upon, but are never guilty of, blackened screams.

 

A vocal style used prominently in this track reminds me of a style perfected by Nevermore‘s front man Warrel Dane. Very dramatic and theatrical, some might say an ‘over the top’ style. It’s also a style frequently utilized by the British band Hell (featuring Andy Sneap formerly of Sabbat).

 

Within this song there is a lyrical passage that made me chuckle, the words “magical moments”, sang very clearly, takes me back to when I was a child watching ‘assorted chocolate’ commercials which for some reason always made me grin like a lunatic, again I digress.

 

The riffs are impressive and at times choppy though never boring.

The style thus far leans more toward thrash with an overall album theme, I’m thinking Sabbat‘s Dreamweaver but with more of a classical style, though also very similar to some heavier power and epic metal I’ve heard.

 

The third track immediately made me think of Cradle of Filth and their Cruelty and the Beast release (heavily themed around the Countess and her lust for blood and beauty in the middle ages) if only for it’s title alone.

 

I will admit I have become leery lately of any tracks hinting at this overused theme that has become quite tiresome. I’m of the opinion that the aforementioned band did a fantastic job and that few others have even come close in their attempts to do this darkened slice of bloody history any justice. I’ll digress for another moment in my diatribe like musings if only to mention that Venom‘s track (Countess Bathory) still holds an esteemed place in any, and all, of my ‘Countess’ themed play lists.

Opera Diabolica’s take on this theme is a song that’s a whooping ten minute plus opus. That I am pleased to say I enjoyed very much.

 

An outstanding track which held my attention with great riffs, eerie atmosphere and effective male and female (in this case the Countess) vocal duels. At times several (male) vocal passages reminded me of (Cradle of Filth) Dani’s delivery that of a rapidly “barked” approach, used to great effect.

 

I am very tempted to talk in length about every track, they all deserve a mention in my opinion, and this review would then be ten pages long, tuning into more of an essay really. I will however state for the record (intended pun) the beginning to Mythos Lamia sounds very much like Candlemass. It uses a reoccurring chant like melody theme throughout (voices both male and female). A great deals of the riffs also used in this track and the album could also claim influence from that same band famous for the huge impact they left upon the doom and metal scene.

 

Another track I’m going to mention is In Memoriam a very sinister instrumental complete with cackles of laughter with enough atmosphere to put a smile upon even the most hardened of a Hammer Film enthusiasts face.

 

Throughout the album there are guest appearances from renowned musicians. One I’d like to mention is Snowy Shaw (of Mercyful Fate, Dimmu Borgir, Therion). amongst a handful of others. The influence from every one of the aforementioned bands shines through, most notably the creepiness, sinister themes and atmospheres associated with the works of King Diamond more so than anyone else; while a great deal of the operatic themed parts and passages feel very much like Therion.

 

There are a number of reviews regarding this release and a plethora of different opinions within each. I for one enjoyed this album. It is not at all a run-of-the-mill collection of tracks but rather a themed collection of tales put to music and done very well. I appreciated the fact that the music was very melodic, well produced, rarely repetitious and not overly heavy. The pace rarely gets “fast” enough to claim a speed metal moniker. There are times this release veers towards a Cradle of Filth type style. I am blaming the composition, classical introductions and structure of many of the songs likening it again (more so because of it’s overall theme) to the Cruelty and the Beast CD.

 

This was a pleasant surprise especially because I took interest initially from a piece of artwork and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone with an openmind for releases that are slightly different, slightly veering towards experimental, whose muic spreads across many definable genres.

 

Go on take a chance…give this a listen. Believe me if this had King Diamond style vocals throughout, as many reviewers claimed, I would have had absolutely no problem whatsoever in decorating the side of the highway with it. (Admittedley I’m not a fan, I’ve kept his album listening experiences to a minimum).

I had my reservations, I will admit, many sprouting from a number of online reviews. Though fear not this release should keep you interested enough to want to listen again and probably again and again.

 

 

opera diabolicus skull

image :Metalarea.org

 Nine ‘nails on a chalkboard’ vocalists, who didn’t show up for the Ball, out of ten.

 

Cult

Yet Another Cult indie review – Werewolves in Siberia

Taking a Stab at the Scene – Yet another Cult Indie Review
 
Werewolves in Siberia
Beyond the City of the Dead
Graveyard Calling Records
2014
 
werewolves in siberia logo
 
 
 
Track Listing:
 
Everything is Gone
Lycanthropic Dreamscape
Broken Souls
Showdown with a Ghoul
Island of the Dolls
The Woods
Revenge of the Zombi
Dance of the Dead
Street Vengeance
A Hole in the Space–Time Continuum
 
I’m back again, and delving deep into the seedy underbelly of indie releases.
 
This week’s installment tells of a band, a release, I have been eagerly anticipating since I first heard of them amid a related buzz within the horror community on Twitter. This release is from a smaller label, who specialize in cassette tapes. Is this considered “retro” or maybe, “hipster”? You decide, regardless, the label, Graveyard Calling, who it appears enjoy taking risks…nothing ventured, nothing gained. I wish them only the best.
 
The band, Werewolves in Siberia (I’m going to shorten their name to save on digit and keyboard damage) and the album takes much influence from horror soundtracks more so than from anything else. For the record W.i.S. is a one man outfit which only peeks my curiosity more. I can only imagine how rare live shows must be. Although I recently saw Necrophagist, a technical death metal one man outfit, that utilizes session musicians for live events. I wonder if perhaps W.i.S. does the same?
 
The cover to this release is a picture of a classic graveyard scene hued in red tones stamped with the band’s logo. It looks like an official file folder photograph that a government entity might conceal in an undisclosed location. The real kicker is the splatter of blood upon the “document” giving it an eeriness and dark sense of foreboding.
 
Onwards, my anticipation fueled fingertips are poised over the play button.
 
Before I mention the music itself I will be totally honest and admit that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, the most recent logo for the band is a black and white snarling wolf eclipsing a full moon. A lot of black metal bands (especially) have used similar, and more primitive black and white artwork as album covers such as Dark Funeral, Bathory and Venom to name but a few.
 
My thoughts that perhaps W.i.S. may be a black metal band fade and immediately dissipate as I begin to relax and embark upon this new and unfamiliar audio journey that unfolds between my ears.
 
The first few seconds of the opening track briefly reminded me of the intro to Bolt Thrower’s Warmaster. But when three notes from a piano, an infrequent, mournful and slow melody, are played the comparison is swiftly forgotten.
 
Lycanthropic Dreamscape, the second track, kicks up the pace.
 
If you are a fan of the horror genre, in its many forms and guises throughout recent years like myself, you can immediately feel a definite presence, an influence if you’d prefer, within the synth melodies, drum and electronic beats. The feeling very quickly becomes a sense of recognition which only seems to fester and blossom as the album progresses.
 
Certain tracks trigger memories of the many times I saw specific cult movies. Most notably european ones, with titles like Suspiria, The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue or ever lesser known titles from genre masters (Lucio Fulci’s name immediatley springs to mind) such as City of the Living Dead. Or even John Carpenter titles of American classics such as Christine, Escape From New York, The Fog and Big Trouble in Little China. I’ll be lambasted and thrown to the wolves if I forget to mention Halloween. This album has quite the strange effect on me, it makes me wish I had actually paid more attention to these aforementioned genre gems, without skipping through to get to the juicy bits. 
 
There are several stand out tracks displayed here such as, The Woods. It isn’t admittedly one of my favorites though it is very effective in leaving an “aftertaste”. The beats in this track build to a quick and lasting crescendo that scream tension and malevolence. So vivid and but yet so far away of a familiar movie soundtrack from long ago that I can almost see the movie and scene it belongs to in the back of my mind.
 
Showdown With a Ghoul is a stand out and one of my favorites for great reason. I don’t think I’d be wrong in the assumption that it could be associated with The Gates of Hell (aka City of The Living Dead). A great track that bounces along nicely that I’m sure even the original composer Mr. Fabio Frizzi or Goblin would be proud of.
 
Revenge of The Zombi is another standout, in an album devoid of filler, obviously the title suggests the classic that gorehounds everywhere celebrate for good reason (eyeball upon a splinter scene in slo-mo, anyone?) I’m trying my hardest not to conjure up images of sluggish, at best, paced flesh eaters on yachts abandoned close to the New York harbor, but to no avail!
 
Street Vengeance brings to mind the 1979 classic street warfare film entitled Warriors, or even Lucio Fulci’s Warriors of the Year 2072 (there’s a lesser known gem for ya!) A soundtrack from Riz Ortolani infamous for the chilling theme most associated with Cannibal Holocaust (my personal fave “Nasty”) and lesser known for Mondo Cane.
 
I will openly admit I have listened to this soundtrack homage, synth masterpiece at least eight times now. I will not hesitate to suggest it to anyone interested in exploitation and cult movies especially those from the late seventies and early eighties. Let’s face it, it wasn’t just the gore that attracted fans. It was also the unique, often very enjoyable and quite different sounding audio recordings that complimented most of those memorable scenes.
 
werewolves in siberia cover
 
 
 Werewolves in Siberia have surprised me for this was not at all what I was expecting, though I am pleased to say I am ecstatic that it now has a place in my laptop’s audio files. Here’s hoping they don’t fall to corruption from over-usage, I’ve been known to wear my favorite CD’s down to a mere sliver of indescribable material.
 
Again, Bravo! This is an outstanding acheivement, this release deserves and demands a listen, or two.
 
Cult
 
Werewolves of Siberia can be found on Twitter @Werewolves_I_S .
Graveyard calling Records can also be found on Twitter @GraveyardCallin

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.