Moonspell
Wolfheart


2.5
average

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
May 17th, 2008 | 36 replies


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the more amusing albums I've ever heard, too bad it wasn't supposed to be taken that way.

Moonspell are kind of a strange band to me. I’ve heard every album in their back catalog and most of them have been extremely inconsistent with more bad traits then good. It’s not that I don’t like this kind of music because I really do, and it’s not that I can’t stomach over-the-top cheese-goth lyrics because I count myself as a Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir fan, so I definitely can. The problem is that on this album the different elements are so hokey that they almost feel like they’re supposed to be a satirical take on the whole genre, but the band doesn’t mean this as a joke at all. What’s worse is that this album, Wolfheart, is supposed to be the one that started all the hype surrounding them, and while it is one of their more creative outputs, it is also one of their worse.

While no one element is entirely responsible for the laughable nature of this album, a large part of the blame can be placed on the vocals. The problem doesn’t lie with all the vocal styles because the black metal growls are great as always; it’s the deep goth vocals that are the joke here. The vocalist tries so hard to sing in a deep voice that they end up sounding forced, flat, and, hysterically bad. If you could imagine someone trying to jokingly emulate Peter Steele of Type O Negative then you’d have a good general idea of what to expect. Great examples of this can be found on most of the songs, but especially “Midnight Ride” and even more so on “Trebaruna”.

“Trebaruna” sounds like Moonspell’s attempt at a rock opera. Musically this song isn’t bad, it is mid-paced with a ripping main riff, rhythmic percussion, a catchy guitar melody during the verses, and a unique sounding keyboard melody, but the vocals ruin it all. The vocalist attempts to sing in a deep, operatic, style and fails miserably. It’s not just the bad vocal pitch that ruins this; it’s also the rhythmic way that they’re sung which makes them sound like some pirate sing-along. When that song mercifully ends it seems to be readily apparent that it will end up being the worst of the album, but it’s not.

The worst track on the album goes to the hilariously over-the-top vampire song called, “Vampiria”. The stage is set from the beginning with oh-so-scary keyboards and the vocalist doing his best deep Transylvanian accent. It should come as no surprise that the chorus introduces backing female vocals while the vocalist continues saying “Vampiria” in his best accent. There is a break from the terrible goth parts in the form of another mid-paced black metal section, but it’s too little, too late and is still plagued by juvenile vampire lyrics (are there any other kind?). The song ends with a woman’s scream which finishes off the checklist of required stereotypes for a goth song.

The only reason that this album receives a 2.5 instead of a 2 or possibly lower is because a lot of the music is ok despite the bad vocals and cheesy keyboards. Most of the music takes the form of mid-paced gothic rock songs with a heavy black metal influence. The riffs and guitar melodies are generally catchy and the drummer is very rhythmic in the way he presents the beats, rarely ever sticking with a typical rock structure. Also the last two songs are actually pretty good with “An Erotic Alchemy” consisting of nothing but keyboards, drums and vocals (with rare guitar parts). The keyboard melodies are expertly done, and the female vocals are very operatic, leaving only the same issue with the deep vocals that have already been discussed earlier. The closing track is really good due to it being almost entirely black metal-based with minimal clean singing. It has a catchy main riff, more rhythmic percussion, and the only good vocal style on the album.

While listening to this album I can’t help alternating between cringing and laughing at the music, and especially the vocals coming out of my speakers. I can’t see how people thought that this album was any kind of peak in quality within the realm of goth or black metal. This album is full of almost every stereotype that has ever ruined a black metal or goth album from over-the-top cheesy lyrics, to scary B-movie keyboard parts, to exaggerated vocals. Even if you’ve heard any other album by Moonspell I’d still recommend that you stay away from this one as it is the low point in their melding of gothic rock and black metal.



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user ratings (155)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Pizzabakker5 (4)
Moonspell’s first album – Wolfheart – is worth its reputation as one of these classics you jus...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
April 16th 2008


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

After reading it, the review feels kind of "off" so I am going to take an hour and come back to it (I didn't notice the issue until I posted it or I wouldn't have).

Digging: Necropoli - I

BallsToTheWall
April 16th 2008


44360 Comments


Nice review, I've been on the fence with Moonspell, cool name, mediocre music. I have Under Satane, it's not bad but the clean vocals suck. I've also thought about getting Memorial because Luna is an awesome track, is that worth getting?

Digging: Pharmakon - Abandon

Poet
April 16th 2008


5933 Comments


is this a band to even check out?

Altmer
April 16th 2008


5652 Comments


not really

Willie
Moderator
April 16th 2008


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Under Satanae" and "Memorial" are pretty good, but they're nothing special.

I've also thought about getting Memorial because Luna is an awesome track, is that worth getting?
If you liked Under Satanae then this might be worth getting but set it at about "medium" on your priority scale (unless you're just going to acquire it, then, yeah get it now).

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2008


16390 Comments


This band isn't that great. I agree wit the review.

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

beans
April 16th 2008


2332 Comments


i need to hear more of these guys, i've only heard memorial and i didnt think too much of it at the time, good review anyway

freudianslipknot
April 16th 2008


803 Comments


Good review - I agree with your take on this - I could never take Moonspell seriously with the vocals. Memorial was quite cool cos it didn't have any of those rediculous baritone vocals. I give that a spin now and then, but that's about it as far as Moonspell goes.

deroeckj
May 12th 2008


69 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with the last 2 songs being the best of the album, especially "An erothic alchemy" with its hugely addictive proggy-passages.

It's also not their best, that would have to be "the antidote", also "the butterfly fx" and "darkness and hope" are imo substantial better than this one.

Where I don't agree at all is that Moonspell is average at best, they play in the same league as Type O- and tiamat. Moonspell has much more variation between their songs and CD's and is much more creative, open for experimentation than Type O-, which makes them a more complete band for me.
sure young people love bands who stick thru thick and thin to their evelopped style; but once you get a little older one appreciates the more the versatility and genre blending elements of bands like Moonspell.

Also don't forget they are from Portugal. The times good metal or gothic bands only came out of only US/UK is far behind. To be more accurate, metal-bands from US/UK are mostly hugely overrated compared to bands coming from other parts of this world, this even counts for household names like "Sepultura" or "Soulfly" !
The difference is that the industry (in us/uk) still puts a lot of money in marketing plans and media-streamrollers pushing forward mediocre bands like "Linkin' park" or "Evanescence", really Moonspell is way better than that.This Message Edited On 05.12.08

Willie
Moderator
May 13th 2008


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's also not their best, that would have to be "the antidote", also "the butterfly fx" and "darkness and hope" are imo substantial better than this one.
I like "The Antidote" and "Butterfly FX" is ok, but my favorite is "Memorial" and "Under Satannae" (with "Sin/Pecado" having some of my favorite songs though).
they play in the same league as Type O- and tiamat. Moonspell has much more variation between their songs and CD's and is much more creative, open for experimentation than Type O-, which makes them a more complete band for me.
I'd agree with that statement except I think that Type-O get boring fast and the majority of Tiamat albums are bad, so it's easy for Moonspell to be considered more creative (and they are creative, it's just not always good).
sure young people love bands who stick thru thick and thin to their evelopped style; but once you get a little older one appreciates the more the versatility and genre blending elements of bands like Moonspell.
I don't mind bands that change their style at all, but it should be a good change, and most their changes were good because getting away from stuff like what is on this album was good for them.
Also don't forget they are from Portugal. The times good metal or gothic bands only came out of only US/UK is far behind.
I don't generally care where a band is from, as long as their music is good.

fireaboveicebelow
March 30th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

uh oh, I'm starting to like this a lot

Willie
Moderator
March 30th 2009


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

When I first heard this I enjoyed it too, but it was because I'd never really heard any gothic black metalish-type stuff so it was new and interesting. But even while listening to it back then, I'd still think to myself that there has to be band doing the same sound that won't make me giggle like a stoned schoolgirl while listening to it.

fireaboveicebelow
October 23rd 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is growing on me like gonorrhea

Wizard
October 23rd 2009


19402 Comments


that won't make me giggle like a stoned schoolgirl while listening to it.

That just sounds hot Willie hahaha.

Still need to get around to this.

Digging: Khonsu - Traveller

CrazyFool84
December 2nd 2009


1080 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

haha nice review, sums up this band very nicely, can't believe I spent as much time as I did sifting through their discography

Willie
Moderator
December 3rd 2009


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, almost every album has a few good songs. It's just that they're usually out numbered by crap. The band's latest album was really good, though. I still can't believe this has a 4.2 average rating.

BallsToTheWall
November 16th 2011


44360 Comments


Listening to Vampiria. It has the cheesy gothic atmosphere and constipated Dracula vocals that I was hoping for. Downloading and rating a 5.

SylentEcho
December 21st 2011


1570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Decent review, but I totally disagree with it.

The 2007 reissue of this album has a second CD with all these songs sung in a more Black Metal style live. Worth checking out.

Willie
Moderator
December 21st 2011


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

There are some moments of excellence here, but the cheesy parts just destroy this album.

fireaboveicebelow
December 21st 2011


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm surprised at the last paragraph, it's pretty easy to point out the amount of influence their first two records had, and the "cheese factor" I feel is exaggerated



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