Moonspell - Aura Noir Pure Wickedness

I've always been a Moonspell fan. I was introduced to them in 1999, some seven years after they began, with the album The Butterfly Effect. They have a brand of dark angst that speaks to my soul. Their newest release, Alpha Noir, is molten. They retain the darkness and intensity but add an element of "metal" to their already impressive arsenal. This album has the feel of Sisters of Mercy and Fields of the Nephilim kicked up a few notches.

Axis Mundi opens the album and is just gobsmackingly awesome. Everything about this song is perfect from Ricardo Amorim and Pedro Paixao's guitar playing to Aires Pereira on bass and Miguel Gaspar on drums. They are all in perfect harmony. As usual, Fernando Ribeiro on vocals makes your heart alternately ache and bleed. Lickanthrope is a speed metal frenzy; darn near thrash song. Another amazing composition is Versus. It has the pacing of some of Henry Rollins' later band work, a groove that you can't get out of your head. Aires Pereira's bass is prominent in the mix and it's he that propels the song forward. Not to be outdone, Ricardo and Pedro contribute some awesome guitar riffage.

Alpha Noir may be the most widely accessible Moonspell album to date. The title track is wicked, just pure wickedness. It's heavy and putrid and then gets chunky and all Rammstein and Ministry like. Woven through out are these killer heavy metal guitar riffs. Love is Blasphemy and Em Nome Do Medo are just wicked blistering tracks. Have I mention this album is just full of wickedness? Let me reiterate how wicked and heavy Moonspell's Alpha Noir is. Miguel kills it on drums. He's a beast. Opera Caine has more awesome riffage from Ricardo and Pedro. The song has a bit of a Euro Metal tinge to it while Love is Blasphemy is the perfect heavy metal song. Grandstand is just a wall of sound. Moonspell definitely blow away the competition and the listener with this album. Aires on bass is just amazing in Grandstand. The beginning is just Aires and Fernando, spine tingling it is.
Moonspell do get a bit spacey and trippy with Sine Missione. It's a nice nod to Ridley Scott. The song is atmospheric and foreboding. Miguel creates some ominous tribal sounds on drums. At 2:16 the metal kicks in via Ricardo and Pedro on guitars an that over lays the IMAX larger than life Alien / Prometheus vibe. Sine Missione is a killer way to end an album.

Moonspell have come up with yet another kick ass album sure to please long time Moonspell fans and garner new ones around the world. Alpha Noir is a cracking album from start to finish. This is a must buy!

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