Moonspell’s first double album utilizes both sides

Moonspell’s first double album utilizes both sides of the sound to great effect.

In a period when CD sales are down and almost everyone in the music business is convinced the album format is dead, it’s quite refreshing to determine bands putting more effort into their special edition releases. But while groups like Star One and Symphony X are only adding on 4 or 5 bonus tracks to create double albums that aren’t exactly mandatory listens within the grand general scheme of things, Moonspell’s ninth studio release plays using the format. In addition to being the band’s first album since 2008’s Night Eternal, Alpha Noir/Omega White shows off each side of their style and reinforces their status as one of the most unique goth metal bands around.

Alpha Noir

As indicated by the title, Alpha Noir may be the leading half of the release and also the one that metalheads is going to be quicker to embrace. However, this half is placed apart by removing just about all of the group’s goth influences and keeping close to their extreme metal roots. It goes without saying that the resulting half features a few of their most straightforward tracks up to now.

Going combined with the style, this guitar rock band members’ performances are quite aggressive with the guitars in a near constant charge and the vocals being almost entirely delivered in a borderline black metal rasp. Like all other Moonspell release, the other instrumentalists get their opportunities to shine because the drums are prominent in spots like “Love Is Blasphemy,” the bass includes a steady rumble on tracks like “Em Nome Do Medo” and “Grandstand,” and the keyboards stay on for ambience and even gets brief standout point on “Versus” and “Sine Missione.”

Omega White

Alpha Noir’s heavier styling creates a chuckle listening, but the bonus assortment of songs that comprise the Omega White half is how things really start getting entertaining. Predictably, Omega White serves as an effective contrast to the darker twin because the extreme metal is dropped in a favor of a vaguely heavy brand of goth rock inspired by, amongst others, Type O Negative and The Sisters Of Mercy.

True to form, the performances undertake another method for this patch of tunes. Most notably, the vocals go for a clean but deep style within the vein of Andrew Eldritch and touches of female vocals provide some effective backing harmonies. Additionally, the guitars and bass tend to be more melodic with the occasional crunch, the drums are slightly scaled back, cellos appear occasionally, and the keyboards lead many melodies with their smooth piano and synth work.

And while there isn’t a bad song on either half, there is no denying that the goth rock leanings allow for more focus on songwriting skill. “Herodisiac” is my favorite song by far because the upbeat tempos and catchy vocal layering are certain to remain in your face for days. Additionally, “White Skies” works with a solid mid-tempo groove and “Sacrificial” earns a slight metal flavor using its muscular guitar and blasphemous lyrics. “New Tears Eve” is also worth noting as its restrained vocals, somber keyboards, and steady beat provide a creepy resemblance to “One Second” by Paradise Lost…

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    Moonspell may never top the greatness of Wolfheart, but this album does show the album with the two sides of their sound with strong results. It makes me wish more bands would give this dual format a try. With that said, each side doesn’t stand quite as well without the other so getting any version with under both sides on it is really selling yourself short for me. Either way, metalheads and goths combined with the usual Moonspell listeners will be able to expect great things out of this release.

    Current Highlights (Disc 1):

    “Lickanthrope,” “Versus,” “Alpha Noir,” “Opera Carne,” and “Love Is Blasphemy”

    Current Highlights (Disc 2):

    “White Skies,” “New Tears Eve,” “Herodisiac,” and “Sacrificial”

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