Moonspell
Sin/Pecado


4.0
excellent

Review

by Pizzabakker5 USER (14 Reviews)
July 3rd, 2014 | 13 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Moonspell radically change their sound from black/gothic metal to experimental rock, but somehow manage to pull that off perfectly. An unusual but excellent album.

What a difference a mere two years can make. In 1996 Moonspell managed to establish them as a force within metal to be reckoned with – especially in Portugal – and were one of the most promising black/gothic metal bands out there. Here we are in 1998 and Moonspell return with their third full-length release – usually a crucial one for bands trying to separate them from the rest of the bunch – that is called Sin/Pecado, yet they almost seem like a complete other band. Gone is João Pedro – who is replaced by Sérgio Crestana on bass – and gone is the black metal, or rather more or less every element that categorized Moonspell as a heavy metal band. Instead, were are dealing with an experimental gothic rock band with sparse metal influences that only seems unchanged in the sense that their music still has a Portuguese air to it. Have they gone mainstream here hoping for greater commercial success, are they merely following the example of related bands such as Anathema and Paradise Lost or are they just spreading their wings creatively"

The first thing that is apparent when listening to Sin/Pecado is that it’s quite a lot less heavy than their earlier albums. Miguel Gaspar’s drumming rages fiercely at times still and Ricardo Amorim’s riffage somewhat reminds the listener of Irreligious, but all instruments serve a much more timid and emotional atmosphere than the rather aggressive and pagan one on former albums. What has changed most in order to achieve this is Fernando Ribeiro’s singing: aside from the bridge on “2econd Skin” (note the numbers cleverly placed instead of letters as proof that we’re truly dealing with a ‘90s album here) his screaming vocal style has completely disappeared. Instead he once more greatly improves his clean singing; back on Wolfheart he was an inconsistent singer while improving himself to a decent one on Irreligious, and now he is transformed to a truly excellent vocalist on Sin/Pecado. He truly makes the best out of his deep and rich voice, reminding us at times of Till Lindeman from Rammstein.

“Slow down… God can hear you” is the short intro with which this unorthodox Moonspell album opens, setting the eerie and pensive mood for the rest of this album while “handmadeGod” kicks in. Normally we would expect from Moonspell a taking-no-prisoners ball-to-the-walls metal epic that initiatives excessively adrenalin production, but nothing of the sort here. “handmadeGod” is a slow and fragile song, invoking sadness and melancholy with texts such as: “They promised me a miracle, someone to really love. Can you forgive me"”. Unsettlingly different, but it actually works. The catchy “2econd Skin” follows, which was released as a single together with a music video and is the only track that has Fernando lashing out fiercely with his grunted vocals, adding some much-desired aggression to this otherwise introverted album. “EuroticA”, “Flesh” and “Dekadance” are highly electronically focused songs that make use of drums that sounds like a ‘computer drum beat’ rather than regular rock band drumming, and all kinds of technical samples to set a subtly unsettling mood. However estranged the average metalhead may be from the sound of these tracks, they are crafted quite well and make for decent to good numbers. However, “Magdalene” and “Mute” as full-fledged ballads might be most unsettling for fans of the old and traditional Moonspell, though again an open-minded listener can do nothing else but admit that a Moonspell ballad works out well. “Abysmo”, “Mute”, “Let the Children Cum to Me” and “The Hanged Man” sounds most like traditional gothic rock (with sparse metal elements). These tracks see Moonspell at their best on Sin/Pecado, reminding us of the dramatic qualities of their first two albums whilst effectively sounding melancholically emotional yet sincere.

Sin/Pecado (Pecado is the Portuguese translation for the word ‘sin’) is an album that may not musically sound like a logical follow-up to Irreligious, but thematically and lyrically it really is. Sin/Pecado’s main subject is once again religion – just like on Irreligious – and they concern themselves about forbidden love, child abuse, serpents (the mythological representation of sin), hypocrisy and questions regarding the meaning of life and God. The album makes use of quite a number of electronic elements – much more so than Moonspell did on previous albums – that together with the minimalistic instrumental approach set the mood fantastically for the heavy themes the album discusses.

To get back to the three motives I mentioned in the first paragraph of this review for Moonspell to change their sound so dramatically for this album: they may have aimed for commercial success, because admittedly it DID work out for them quite well in the end to make their music more accessible for a greater audience. They may also have gone with the flow of the late ‘90s: many metal bands similar back then either tried to incorporate nu-metal, alternative rock or something related into their sound and Moonspell may have just been inspired by their peers to do the same. In the end, though, it matters not why Moonspell ‘gone soft ‘ and delivers an album completely devoid of black metal; because it works. This Portuguese quintet dares to experiment and manages to deliver a mature, skillful, emotionally intense and highly innovative album that is most amazing on “Abysmo” and “The Hanged Man”. Moonspell deserve nothing but praise for shifting 180 degrees and accomplishing to create an album that does justice to their older catalogue quality-wise but is so different in every way.



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user ratings (133)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Pizzabakker5
July 3rd 2014


69 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you for reading my third review into Moonspell’s discography!



For streaming the full album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrPdaWNHrpM&list=PLDFE9999FA81B2315



Wizard
July 3rd 2014


20208 Comments


Well informed read dude. I like factual reviews quite a bit (I do them all the time). Still need to go through Moonspell's back catalogue. I still love The Antidote to death.

Hawks
July 3rd 2014


67670 Comments


Yeah I need to get more Moonspell too. Only have The Antidote, Memorial, and Night Eternal. Really enjoy them all.

Digging: Cara Neir - Part III / Part IV

Pizzabakker5
July 4th 2014


69 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys! I'm aiming to do a review of every album they've released here (Wolfheart and Irreligious I also discussed already) so maybe that'll help you guys decide where to start

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 4th 2014


8191 Comments


Still need to go through Moonspell's back catalogue

That goes for me as well. I have only heard Irreligious.

Digging: Sordide - Hier Dj Mort

piroga84
July 4th 2014


361 Comments


hallelujah brother
pos from me, excellent review and album

Pizzabakker5
July 4th 2014


69 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man!

Wizard
July 4th 2014


20208 Comments


Thanks guys! I'm aiming to do a review of every album they've released here (Wolfheart and Irreligious I also discussed already) so maybe that'll help you guys decide where to start

Please stick around, I love reviewers who will blow through discographies and fill in the albums that badly need reviews.

Pizzabakker5
July 4th 2014


69 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Will do! I've done one review every day thus far, but I won't be able to keep 'em coming that quickly (quality over quantity right). However, I plan to review The Butterfly Effect sometime during this weekend and Darkness and Hope early next week!

KriegdemKriege
July 4th 2014


1544 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I love Moonspell, but I'm not a fan of this album or the Butterfly Effect.



Great review though.

KriegdemKriege
July 4th 2014


1544 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Hawks and Voivod, you need to check out Wolfheart.



Under the Moonspell also way good.

Pizzabakker5
July 4th 2014


69 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ KriegdemKriege: I can understand your position well since Sin/Pecado and the Butterfly Effect both are really odd albums in Moonspell's discography, and may lack the atmosphere one usually likes in Moonspell. I am personally a sucker for most of their releases, though I have my preferences (I've reviewed the first three albums now which happened to be among my favorites, but the next albums I'm reviewing might receive a lower score).



Thanks a lot for the praise by the way! It's nice to see people here are enjoying my writing!

CamiloG
October 11th 2015


2473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

What a great record this is. A very tough decision to make, taking in to account the style showed in the previous two releases, but the results here are as outstanding as Wolfheart and Irreligious.



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