Moonspell is pretty much the Portuguese metal national treasure; you won’t find a more important metal band from that country. It’s also worthwhile to know that Moonspell is one of the few bands that did venture in other sonic sounds and styles, rarely releasing the same album and yet retaining their identity mad credibility as a band.
Formed in 1992 and releasing the cult album Wolfheart in 1995, a black/folk metal masterpiece with a lot of influences from their native country. Just a year later, they departed from their old sound and landed Irreligious, embracing their gothic metal sound which stayed to this day.
Sonically they had their ups and downs, was it the Butterfly Effect which was an industrial metal album or Night Eternal and Memorial where they brought back their more aggressive sound it is Moonspell. Just in a different format.
So after Extinct which was in a way a calumniation of their softer albums like Irreligious and Darkness and Hope, 1775 marked their return to more aggressive sound with a lot of other elements added.
First started as an EP, 1775 had outgrown into their next full-length. Their first concept album that revolves around 1755 Lisbon earthquake that nearly destroyed the city. The aftermath of it is even more interesting in how the climate of the city had changed; from religious point of view, scientific and even given birth to modern seismology and earthquake engineering.So kudos to the band for taking such an original theme and awesome concept.
Now here’s the issue; it’s sung entirely in Portuguese. I will be very frank; on the first listen I did not like it. It’s not surprise that Moonspell adds Portuguese here in there in their songs and that element mostly hits the mark with their whole vibe. But this is Fernando on Portuguese all the way through the record and it takes a lot of listens to digest the language.
The music however is superb; it sonically captures the event adding a lot of musical elements like violins and keyboards. It is a more aggressive record then the last and yet more atmospheric and mellow at the same time. Ricardo knows to put emotional guitar parts which just bring the song on a different level and again punch it with furious parts when the song calls for it. Same goes to Fernando on the vocal part which beautifully carries the vibe along with the keyboards and other elements.
Like any other good concept album it works at its best if you listen in whole because it has throwbacks to some melodies from past songs, similar to a movie soundtracks. It feels like a love letter to the Portuguese fans which is in a way fair for them but rest of us will kinda feel isolated by this.
It’s kind of like watching an awesome Portuguese movie that has a great production, cinematography, acting and has no subtitles so most of us don’t understand shit what’s going on. Other than that, Moonspell had delivered us another good album worth many replays.