Archive for conceptual album

Moonspell – 1755

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 18th October 2017 by Pieni

Moonspell
“1755”
Dark Metal
Release: 3rd November 2017
Via Napalm Records

1755

Whether one likes it or not, Moonspell have changed the way Portugal’s metal scene is looked at. It’s been 25 successful years, so they’re not releasing now a conceptual album, in their native tongue, because they need to prove themselves; they’re doing it because they just can.

As you probably know by now, 1755 was the year when the Great Lisbon earthquake took place, on All Saints’ Day, resulting in the near-destruction of the city and a death toll of tens of thousands. That alone gives you an idea of the emotional weight of this record, which goes much beyond the lyrical content depicting such tragedy. There’s the obscure orchestral arrangements (courtesy of Jon Phipps) in the new version of “Em Nome Do Medo”, the operatic female voices throughout the album enhancing its epic imprint, the brazenness of “Desastre”, the weeping guitar solo in “Ruínas” – a song otherwise quite brisk. A similar contrast occurs in “In Tremor Dei”, between that bold melody and the riveting voice of fado singer Paulo Bragança. In case you don’t know, fado is a Portuguese classic music genre, of a sad and longing nature – after all, it literally means “fate” -, sung in heartbreaking intonations. If the idea of Moonspell featuring Bragança is somewhat shocking, the outcome is simply mind-blowing.

Marquis of Pombal, the Prime-Minister at the time of the earthquake, said something like “now we bury the dead and take care of the living”. Maybe a bit cold, but a positive vision nevertheless. And that’s also how Moonspell finish “1755”: originally performed by Brazilian rockers Paralamas do Sucesso, “Lanterna dos Afogados” is a song of hope and being there for one another, now with a much darker vibe – very Moonspell-ish. Come to think of it, there isn’t really any new trait here; it’s how the band now combines and tweaks those traits, accordingly with its bleakest theme, that makes “1755” a memorable masterpiece.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

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Heavenwood – The Tarot Of The Bohemians

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 6th March 2016 by Pieni

Heavenwood
“The Tarot Of The Bohemians – Part 1”
Gothic metal
Released: 22nd February 2016
Via Raising Legends Records

 photo tarotbohemians_zpsn82wl87l.jpg

For the first time, Heavenwood venture into the land of conceptual albums. That’s not, however, what makes “The Tarot Of The Bohemians – Part 1” their boldest record so far. Heavenwood is one of those bands that manages to reinvent themselves with each release but keep their essence intact, and this time frontman Ricardo Dias enhanced every treat and entwined them with orchestral arrangements, in an exuberant outcome.

Ricardo has always taken care of the clean vocals, but the role of his strong pitch is now as leading as Ernesto Guerra’s growls’. Such balance between them bears a refreshing dynamic. And while featuring female guests is nothing new to them, one song – “The Hanged Man” – solely sung by Blame Zeus-Sandra Oliveira (well, almost solely – there are a few male backing vocals) was quite a surprise. Her deep, firm voice couldn’t fit better in such fused melody.

Speaking of melodies, these are overall heavier. The guitars are somewhat more elaborate – hence the lengthy tracks – and a tad less somber. Still within what can be considered as “gothic metal”, but there’s such a vibrancy to the more melodic parts and such a rage to the most aggressive ones that once again the adjective “bold” comes to mind.

It was the previous record that featured “masterpiece” in its title, but it’s “The Tarot Of The Bohemians” that’s living up to that name.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino