By Alivia Lopez
Portuguese gothic metal band Moonspell proves on their eleventh album, that they are not defined by their genre of music and are able to venture out and explore other styles of heavy metal. Moonspell’s newest release, Extinct (Napalm Records), incorporates elements of symphonic metal and melodic death metal, while keeping with the dark, lyrical motifs of gothic metal, producing a refreshingly unique sound.
Though each song on Extinct has its own individual sound, the ten songs on the record are connected lyrically by the common theme of fading away and being lost forever—the notion of becoming extinct. The diversity of the record keeps it captivating and prevents it from sounding like one continuous song, while the band’s willingness to go outside convention makes for a standout effort. Although, the use of violins in the opening track “Breathe (Until We Are No More)” is standard for gothic metal, the eastern vibe, which the violins create, adds a unique and pleasant twist—complementing the moderate tempo of the song. In the title track, the use of classical instrumentation, common in symphonic metal, and the use of quick melodic guitars often found in death metal—combined with Fernando Rebeiro’s intense growling vocals creates an exceptional mash-up.
Even though Moonspell isn’t afraid to incorporate elements from outside genres in their music, songs like “Domina” and “Funeral Bloom” stay true to their identity as a goth band. The slow tempo and wailing guitars, along with Rebeiro’s whispering vocals, gives off a haunting, melancholy ambience, while “Funeral Bloom” is reminiscent of classic 80s goth rock.
Rounding out the record is “La Baphomette,” an eerie, carnival like track, which although is in French needs no translation, and ties all the songs on the album together.
After twenty-three years Moonspell has continued to evolve. From their early black metal days to now, they continue to flourish. Although the lyrical focus of Extinct is on the idea that at some point we will all inevitably cease to exist, it’s clear that a band of this nature has the ability to avoid extinction for many years to come.