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Moonspell: Extinct

With the new Moonspell album dropping soon, I finally got the chance to check out the full-length. I don’t really want to go into much detail about it, but I did feel I should talk about my first impressions of the new outing to brace fellow fans for what’s to come. Extinct definitely wasn’t what I was expecting, but, then again, Moonspell never has been a band to really approach with preconceived expectations other than quality music. So, without farther ado, here’s some thoughts on the new venture…

Long time fans know Moonspell kind of has two modes of attack: Casual and Bug-Up-the-Ass. Most will remember the former from their early Post-Black Metal days (the time after, not the genre) as found on albums like The Butterfly Effect, which actually was my introduction to the group. I didn’t care for it too much personally, but I appreciated it for what it was. And then there’s the latter, which started coming out around the time of Memorial, and the critically acclaimed Night Eternal. In short, Extinct is more like the former than the latter of those two extremes.

This isn’t to say the band doesn’t show off their hostile side at all. “Breath (Until We Are No More)” has its heavier moments with a great deal of symphonic atmsosphere from the keyboards. But a good majority of the track stands as a pretty standard Gothic Rock style with an early Goth overtone due to the dull synth rumblings. It’s catchy, but just didn’t really stick with me at all. In fact it wound up more the ugly duckling the deeper I got. “Malignia” falls into this group as, but winds up sounding like a complete mess. There’s atmospheric pieces that try to be orchestral but are limited due to the keyboard’s capabilities, the aggressive pieces sound fairly boring outside what the keyboards manage to give extra strength to, but the mid-range singing a little after the aid hits sounds horrible and completely out of character for the band. That kind of singing hits in “Medusalem” as well, but it at least has the excuse of being woven into the background a Middle Eastern environment.

What really stuck with me were the very eighties sounding tracks. “The Last of Us” came off more like it would better fit the soundtrack to a feel good eighties Romantic Comedy, which isn’t bad at all. The group’s poetic lyrics really suit this sort of thing. There’s the title track “Extinct”, another heavier cut that just sounds a bit barren due to how light the album sounds in general. The chorus, however, is just downright addictive to where I found myself singing anlong to the chorus, though not as bad as “Domina”, which is, hands down, my favorite off this album. It just speaks to me on a very personal level. I found myself connecting with the empowering lyrics and beautiful music the second it all hit, especially at the end with the additional harmonized vocals in the background. I must have hit the back button about ten times, singing along more and more before finally caving and moving along.

So far, Extinct is just throwing hit or miss songs at me. It just seems like there’s n middle group at all be found. Normally I love the aggressive side of Moonspell, but here those areas just sound weak and unconvincing, whereas the softer side along the lines of bands like H.I.M. and The 69 Eyes with a hint of eighties flair are what end up the most addicting. I’m not gonna put the CD away just yet because of it, but I’m definitely going to be jumping around to the songs that have become instant favorites. So, as it stands, all that can really be said is wait for Napalm Records to load a full album stream of Extinct somewhere closer to release, or at least sample the songs through Spotify of iTunes first, especially if you’re expecting another entry like their last few.

Moonspell
Moonspell

Digital review material for this article provided by Napalm Records
via Freeman Promotions.