Moonspell From Inferior to Prime: 9-7

I was quite intrigued and later inspired by AMG's excellent "From Worst to Best"-section he did with Iron Maiden, that I decided to the very same with some of the bands who's discography I am familiar with (more so than Maiden anyway). So this is my extremly personal "From Inferior to Prime" (since I assumed AMG copyrighted that other sentence. Anyway, I'm not the least ashamed to borrow stuff this blantantly. Also, I now linked to the guy's site twice, so he should actually be glad.

This is my personal From Inferior to Prime 9-7 feautring the pride of Portugal. 

#9. The Antidote (2003)
1. In and Above Men
2. From Lowering Skies
3. Everything Invaded
4. The Southern Deathstyle
5. Antidote
6. Capricorn at her Feet
7. Lunar Still
8. A Walk on the Darkside
9. Crystal Gazing
10. As we Eternally Sleep on it

Together with "Darkness and Hope", this album is also very uneven, although slightly better than it's predecessor. After two more "experimental" albums in -98 and -99, Moonspell tried their best to return to a more similar soundscape that they had in their beginning. "Darkness and Hope" was the first careful baby steps back into that southern combo of black- and gothic metal that only Moonspell can do. "The Antidote" is basically it's big brother - harder, darker and more complex - yet still plagued by the problem that it's an uneven album.

Things start off on a positive note with the amazing opener "In and Above Men" which is a real smash to the jaw. It continues on a positive note with tracks 2-4 and one is soon lured into believing that this album will turn out real good. Unfortunately, the title track is a letdown and cannot raise itself above mediocrity, "Capricorn at her Feet" will bore you to tears and "Lunar Still" is just cringe-worthy. Although being a bit repetitive, "Crystal Gazing" is OK, but far from being in the same league as the first four tracks.


#8. Under Satanæ (2007)
1. Halla Alle Halla Al Rabka Halla (Praeludium/Incantatum Solistitium)
2. Tenebrarum Oratorium (Andamento I/Erudit Compendyum)
3. Interludium/Incantatum Oequinoctum
4. Tenebrarum Oratorium (Andamento II/Erotic Compendyum)
5. Opus Diabolicum (Andamento III/Instrumental Compendyum)
6. Chorai Lusitânia! (Epilogus/Incantatum Maresia)
7. Goat on Fire
8. Ancient Winter Goddess
9. Wolves from the Fog
10. Serpent Angel

Before Moonspell signed to Century Media, the band released a MCD in 1994 on Adipocere Records called "Under the Moonspell", before that a demo called "Anno Satanæ" and - when the band was simply known as Morbid God - a track called "Serpent Angel". The 6 tracks from the MCD, the 3 from the demo and the oddity before they became Moonspell, are here re-recorded and released under the monicker "Under Satanæ" in 2007.

Re-recordings are bound to be met with skepticism. I can think of plenty experiments gone wrong (here's looking at you Dimmu Borgir) but I can understand why certain bands want to showcase what they did in their youth with a better production and a tighter performance. I have of course heard all these original recordings before and believe me when I say that the "production" the band had in the early 90's was dreadful beyond belief. Perfomance-wise, one can really hear that these are very young guys sometimes playing beyond their skills. On the other hand, the atmosphere and the sheer emotion on songs such as "Wolves from the Fog", "Ancient Winter Goddess" and "Tenebrarum Oratorium I" are to die for and even though the song-writing goes all over the place, it just adds to the youthful charm.

But what about this re-recording then? To be honest, I'd much rather listen to the originals. But like I mentioned earlier, some of these songs are so damn good on their own, that it can be refreshing to hear a new take on them. The musicianship is of course 100% tighter compared to the originals, but sometimes that is not something that the songs benefits from. On the contrary, the more "modern" and polished sound sometimes takes away the youthful "evil" they once had. Still, "Under Satanæ" is far from being a disaster, it's more an interesting oddity that might serve as an introduction to those people still skeptical of the band from it's pre-"Wolfheart" days.


#7. The Butterfly Effect (1999)
1. Soulsick
2. Butterfly FX
3. Can't Bee
4. Lustmord
5. Selfabuse
6. I am the Eternal Spectator
7. Soulitary Vice
8. Disappear Here
9. Adaptables
10. Angelizer
11. Tired

This is definitely one of the bands' most scorned albums and also the album that is the most far away from Moonspell's contemporary sound. The album suffers greatly from the "millenium-fever" when, if you remember, around 1998-2001 about a billion metal bands decided to change their logo, change their music style and use ugly-ass album art. And Moonspell was no exception (except perhaps art-wise) when they proudly proclaimed that they weren't going to Germany to record their 4th album. No, this time they were travelling to the UK to get a more "urban sound". "The Butterfly Effect" was the result...

It is the most industrial-sounding album from the band. Period. It has no warmth and lacks severly in any sort of atmosphere. The songs usually have a bit more "laid back" approach in the verses and Fernando mostly uses clean vocals, then the chorus comes and he screams. Rinse and repeat. The lyrics have had a major overhaul as well; from lost love, werewolves, vampires and nature to cringe-worthy lines such as "Then I'll come in my own mouth to feel what it's like" and the downright embarrassing "My right hand rebels and chops off the left. (The) hairy ape walks into stage. He tries to stay erect". I mean what the fuck?

And with all of the above in consideration, this is still far from being the band's worst effort. Why is that you ask? Well, for start I applaud the band in doing something (at the time) entirely different. I like the soothing calm of "Can't Bee", the midtempo of "Soulitary Vice" and the insanity of "Tired". The album as whole is severely lacking and some of the songs should most definitely been left at the drawing board. And even the songs that I don't find particularly interesting such as "Soulsick", "The Butterfly FX" and "I am the Eternal Spectator" are more like guilty pleasures for me. They get stuck to your head and they won't leave - even in all their crappiness. Why!?!


Moonspell From Inferior to Prime: 12-10
Moonspell From Inferior to Prime: 6-4
Moonspell From Inferior to Prime: 3-1

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