Alpha Noir / Omega White by Moonspell (Napalm Records)
Dark Metal masters Moonspell return with their ninth album Alpha Noir / Omega White. The Alpha Noir CD opens with Axis Mundi, evil Latin chanting and angry guitars clawing skin from your chest. There’s a brief respite towards the end of the song with Fernando Ribiero’s soothing melodic crooning in English. Moonspell know how to get your blood boiling, and keep up the energy for Lickanthrope. Moaning and animal noises merge with a sinister swinging rhythm and chugging guitars as Ribiero growls about Little Red Riding Hood and night swallowing the day followed by some truly frightening howling.
On Versus Ribiero snarls about a primal man-to-man battle at the end of times while keyboards and strings elevate the song with beauty. After the out-there disco beat and orchestration of Versus, The title track grabs you by the throat from the get-go, Miguel Gaspar’s kick drums propel the song at a break-neck pace as the guitars squeal and chug, Ribiero layering various vocal approaches, making one long for more of his baritone crooning. Aires Pereira’s bass pounds your skull at the start of Em Nome Do Medo, then Pedro Paixão’s choral keys soothe as Ribiero growls in Portuguese. There’s some amazing guitar solos from Ricardo Amorim stabbing like a sword further into your heart.
Opera Carne stays rather straightforward and unpretentious, Ribiero gruffly singing “Our flesh burns in mysterious ways”. Here the keyboards are quite accomplished and the melodic guitar solo is enthralling. Sine Missione, an orchestral instrumental closes Alpha Noir on a dramatic note, sounding for all the world like the theme to a heroic epic, horns and strings begin the song creating suspense, then the band joins in with jagged guitar chugs and pulverizing percussion adding more muscle to the proceedings, rising in intensity to a climax of deep horns and wailing guitars. Simply stunning.
Omega White is the companion album to Alpha Noir and is a more textured, contemplative but no less impactful album for its slower pace. Ribiero croons and sings, the guitars are strummed and are under less distortion and the keyboards are more distinct. Because the vocals are intelligible, Ribiero’s lyrics express their meaning more directly, coupled with the cleaner performances and arrangements, the songs on Omega White are just as accessible and successful in expressing Moonspell’s strengths as anything on Alpha Noir.
(by Bret Miller)
Moonspell Official Website HERE