Moonspell
Under Satanae


3.5
great

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
December 7th, 2007 | 36 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This re-recording proves what the few of us that have the original EP already knew… that “Under the Moonspell” would have been one of the strongest releases of Moonspell’s career if it wasn’t for the weak production.

For those that are unaware of this album’s background, a little information might be in order. This CD is the total re-recording of Moonspell’s first EP, Under The Moonspell, their Anno Satanae demo and the song “Serpent Angel” which was originally written when they were still known as Morbid God. Not only were all the songs re-recorded, but according to the band, they also updated them as well. For those familiar with the original recordings the changes will be easily noticeable, but not in a negative way; most of the changes actually make the songs better and one just seem a little suspect.

Originally I had devoted two full paragraphs to the differences between this album and the originals, but keeping in mind that the EP was released in minimal numbers and that the demos are in even shorter supply, those paragraphs were deleted. Instead the review will focus less on the changes and more on the album itself since most have never heard any of the originals anyway. Overall, the sound of the album could easily be summed up as Black Metal that is heavily influenced by Doom and Gothic Rock. Basically, the songs are generally mid-paced affairs with a few faster and slower sections. While that description might not sound like anything too different or special, the quality lies in the details.

On the musical side, Moonspell have included a variety of diverse elements such as classical instrumentation, female vocals, acoustic interludes, and even Middle Eastern influences. When those diverse elements are used within the framework of the songs, they are able to give them a unique edge despite the fact that without them a lot of the music would seem “familiar”. Vocally this is Moonspell’s most diverse offering as well. Fernando uses the black metal rasp that he is known for as well as the deep gothic vocals too, but he also includes some very deep guttural death metal vocals and even hardcore shouts. For those that have heard Fernando’s vocals in the past, it should also be noted that this is his strongest performance to date. His vocals sound full and powerful and never fall into the “cheese” that he so frequently succumbed to on past albums.

The songs, “Tenebarum Oratorium (Andamento I)” and “Tenebarum Oratorium (Andamento II)” are both good examples of a lot of those influences at work. “Andamento I” is basically a metal song with Black Metal influences, but by containing a lot of different sections that use everything from flutes and sitars, to female vocals influenced by melodies commonly associated with the Middle East they’re able to give the song its own unique personality. “Andmento II” is roughly similar in influences except musically it has even more of a Black Metal edge to it, but instead of using the vocals usually associated with the genre he uses a hardcore shout through most of the song, which gives it a power that the original song (which used Black Metal vocals) never had.

Thanks to the great sounding re-recording, the demo songs now sound as fresh and powerful as anything that was actually written and released today. The songs from the demos are even more aggressive then the ones from the “Under the Moonspell” EP, and feature a lot of the guttural Death Metal vocals mentioned earlier. These songs are also a lot more linear then the songs on the EP as they don’t feature a lot of the extraneous instruments or female vocals, instead just sticking to the typical Metal instruments (and keyboards, of course). That doesn’t mean that they are simply generic songs that a demo would be thought to contain though, as there are still a lot of different influences that they incorporate into each song, it’s just that these influences are all limited to various genres of metal.

This re-recording proves what the few of us that have the original EP already knew… that “Under the Moonspell” would have been one of the strongest releases of Moonspell’s career if it wasn’t for the weak production. If you’re not normally into Moonspell because of the weak gothic turn they’ve taken through most their career you may find that this album is a redeeming factor in their history. If you’re already a fan of Moonspell or at least enjoyed Memorial then this album would definitely be another one worth looking into. For those that are just into Black Metal but have never heard Moonspell, this album or their latest album,Memorial, would be a good place to start.



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user ratings (39)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
December 7th 2007


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I just got called away so I'll have to do the last minute fixes in a few hours (I always catch things on here that I missed on Word).This Message Edited On 12.24.07

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

rasputin
December 7th 2007


14546 Comments


I have The Antidote by these guys, and it's pretty good. Good review. I love the harsh vocals.

Willie
Moderator
December 7th 2007


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That is a decent album... you should really check out "Memorial" or this one, as they are the top two albums from Moonspell (in my opinion, obviously).
If you love his harsh vocals then you should check out Daemonarch. It is a side project that features all the Moonspell guys except for the drummer. They're heavier, darker, and more aggressive then anything Moonspell have ever done (there's a review on this site).
Looking over this, does anyone think that I should just delete the second and third paragraphs? Are they really necessary or do they just make the review overly long for no real reason?

rasputin
December 7th 2007


14546 Comments


They aren't necessary, but it's good to have a little history in your review for those who are interested. Your call really. And that band sounds good, the vocals would suit some really dark music. I'll check them out.

Willie
Moderator
December 7th 2007


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Fair enough... they're gone. They made the review too long, and probably only applied to less then 1% of anyone that would ever read it.This Message Edited On 12.07.07

freudianslipknot
December 7th 2007


803 Comments


interesting. I really enjoyed memorial and not much else - so yeah. In the light of memorial I was thinking of giving their earlier stuff another chance, but I think I'll get this first. good review.

Willie
Moderator
December 7th 2007


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Technically this is their earliest stuff, it's just re-recorded with a great production. It's also easily the next best album to get if you have "Memorial". As far as any other album by them, I can't reccomend anything as they all have more faults then positives.

Oh yeah, if you like "Memorial" check out their Daemonarch side project.This Message Edited On 12.07.07

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2007


16410 Comments


Good review. I bought "Memorial" by these guys and it's ok, nothing fantastic but its not terrible. I'll look into this maybe.

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III ? Saturnian Poetry

Willie
Moderator
December 7th 2007


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, Moonspell have never been phenomenal (in fact most their albums are pretty average), but "Memorial" and this one are at the top of their game. Like I've told everyone else, their Daemonarch side project is the best Moonspell album they never made.This Message Edited On 12.24.07

ReturnToRock
December 7th 2007


3448 Comments


yaaaaaaay for Portugal!!!

«Glória perdida/volta para nós/Alma Mater!!»

jrowa001
December 7th 2007


8750 Comments


the only album i have of them is Memorial and its pretty good. ill check this out

Willie
Moderator
December 7th 2007


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the only album i have of them is Memorial and its pretty good. ill check this out
This is the only other album they have that is as good as "Memorial"...

BallsToTheWall
December 7th 2007


44482 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Missed this review. I mispelled the name of this album so good to see it corrected. Don't know much about Moonspell really although Luna from their last album is amazing. Solid review again.This Message Edited On 12.07.07

Digging: Tove Lo - Queen of the Clouds

Willie
Moderator
December 7th 2007


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh, you were the one that posted this album? You know that you can modify albums you've posted through the same screen that you can edit your reviews; right?This Message Edited On 01.28.08

BallsToTheWall
December 7th 2007


44482 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, I found how to do that a while back with the excpetion of v28. First, I put it as the real name, V:28 which kinda doesn't let you go on the page so I did it again as V 28. Checking songs now.

Wizard
December 8th 2007


19444 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Amazing review once again Willie. You honestly should become a journalist or something of that nature. I've always enjoyed Moonspell's new stuff, The Antidote, Butterfly Effect etc.. I'm quite intested in checking this out as well since I'm not familiar with their older albums.

Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

lospokey
December 9th 2007


87 Comments


Good review, sounds like a album that i will have to get in the near future.

Willie
Moderator
December 11th 2007


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm quite intested in checking this out as well since I'm not familiar with their older albums.
If you've only heard their newer stuff you might be in for a slight shock... let me know what you think if you get a chance to check this out.

rasputin
January 27th 2008


14546 Comments


Just bought this today and listened to the first two tracks, it's sounding good.
I love the vocals.

Willie
Moderator
January 28th 2008


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Awesome... his vocals are some of my favorite growling-type vocals. I only wished he used them more...



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