Moonspell - 1755 review



Reviewer:
8.5

174 users:
7.60
Band: Moonspell
Album: 1755
Release date: November 2017


01. Em Nome Do Medo
02. 1755
03. In Tremor Dei [feat. Paulo Bragança]
04. Desastre
05. Abanão
06. Evento
07. 1 De Novembro
08. Ruínas
09. Todos Os Santos
10. Lanterna Dos Afogados [Os Paralamas do Sucesso cover]
11. Desastre (Spanish Version) [bonus]


Moonspell have returned with a concept album sung entirely in Portuguese language and focusing on the massive earthquake that took place in Lisbon in 1755, resulting in a devastating number of human casualties and a city turned to rubble. But you already know all that because the band has made quite an effort to promote these certain traits of their new album and this is called good marketing. The question is if 1755 lives up to the great expectations it created as soon as it was announced.

If you are going to build up the hype for a new release the way Moonspell did, you'd better deliver something exquisite and original. With this in mind, imagine my disappointment when I saw that the best track of Alpha Noir / Omega White, "Em Nome Do Medo", was 1755's opener. I initially perceived this choice as a sign of lack of inspiration, but my guess couldn't have been wider off the mark.

A looming catastrophe is foreshadowed in this new grandiose version of "Em Nome Do Medo" ("In The Name Of Fear"), where the orchestra is brought to the fore and Ribeiro is whispering the lyrics as if he hopes that his low voice might appease the nature's eruption. Intensity gradually builds up, the orchestra becomes more and more dramatic and screaming vocals try to warn the people about this impending tragedy, which is perfectly portrayed by the saudade-evoking performance of fado singer Paulo Bragança in "In Tremor Dei" ("In Fear Of God").

The songs in the middle of the album are structured in such a way that you can feel the earth move under your feet, producing crescendos and sonic patterns analogous to seismic activity. "1 De Novembro" ("November 1st") finds Ribeiro screaming at the top of his lungs for the calamity, while the wailing guitars throughout "Ruínas" ("Ruins") illustrate the song's title; a city in ruins, which - ironically enough since the earthquake itself occurred on All Saints' Day - all the saints ("Todos Os Santos") could not save.

The melancholic piano melody in the outstanding cover of "Lanterna Dos Afogados" ("Lighthouse Of The Drowned") found me immersed in a sea of mournful joy, watching from afar Lisbon's scorched earth and lamenting the death of loved ones, but at the same time noticing little green stems sprouting up from the ashes and a glimmer of light breaking through the thick grey smoke.

1755 must be listened to in its entirety for the full story to be unravelled. The band has paid much attention to detail; the instrumentation, the song structure and sequence and the production are near flawless. Valid points of criticism, such as the vague feeling of repetition in song-writing at times or the near total abandonment of clean vocals, are overcompensated by the overall breathtaking atmosphere. As Fernando Ribeiro stated in one of his interviews, "it's more constructed as a kind of a tragedy, like with a choir, like a Greek tragedy, more of a theatre play with music."

Portuguese metalheads will definitely relate with it at once for obvious reasons, but what distinguishes a special album from an ordinary one is the amount of emotions it arouses as well as the different elements it possesses that make you delve deeper into it in order to find out more about its specific details. 1755 compelled me to look for the lyrics translated in English, to read about this earthquake and its multiple consequences, to get acquainted with an interesting Brazilian band called Os Paralamas Do Sucesso, to discover fado music and the amazing vocalist Paulo Bragança and, in the end, offered me a wholly unforgettable experience to the point that I am currently looking for online Portuguese language courses.

Mesmerizing stuff.

"Lisboa
Em chamas
Caída, tremendo
Sem Deus"


 



Written on 16.11.2017 by I was into this music when you were still in diapers.


Comments

Comments: 11   Visited by: 311 users
16.11.2017 - 12:34
The Melting Snow
Very well written review.

The album transcends music, which can be said of most concept albums. The thing about concept albums is that the narrative somewhat takes focus away from the music, so even if the music isn't upto the mark, but the storyline is, it's still a great album.

1755 is like that. The underlying concept is so intriguing that the few weak points (lack of clean vocals, similar sounding songs) can be ignored. When listened to while keeping the theme in mind, the music fits better and sounds a lot stronger.
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16.11.2017 - 13:14
BloodTears
ANA-thema
I loved this version of "Em Nome Do Medo". It surprised me as well and it was perfect for this album.

I pretty much agree with everything you said on this review and I'm happy you want to learn Portuguese now eheh It's a beautiful language and Fado is amazing. The lyrics are made up of poems, so it's very poetic and tragic, which is why it was perfect to bring Paulo Bragança into this. A fun trivia fact, Paulo Bragança loves metal and he liked Moonspell even before they approached him for this album. He quoted Bathory as one of his favourite bands in an interview I've read on a Portuguese magazine.

In the end, this album is really sad for me because it really takes me back to that time. The 1755 earthquake is very much talked about in Portugal and part of our collective memory/history. We still talk about it. What if it happens again? How Lisbon was rebuilt amazingly by Marquis of Pombal and how we managed to recover.

I didn't like the singles beforehand but I enjoyed the full album thoroughly. I'm not even worried about its flaws because it's such a brave endeavor and well made. They made me proud.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.
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16.11.2017 - 14:12
nikarg
Old Nick
@The Melting Snow: Thanks dude. I agree, the concept gives a lot of extra points to the final result. And tbh, I don't mind at all the lack of clean vocals, just like I didn't mind the extensive use of them in Extinct. Ribeiro's voice is special, regardless of how he's using it.

@BloodTears: I learned to appreciate the singles more as part of the album. Interesting fun fact about Paulo Bragança, his voice in "In Tremor Dei" makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and it is my favourite moment of 1755. Also, coming from a country that had its fair share of earthquakes (not as disastrous though), I can relate to the album's concept quite a bit.
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on and on south of heaven

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17.11.2017 - 10:54
Ivor
Staff
I'm pleasantly surprised by the album. The heavy orchestration and use of choirs appears fresh in the Moonspell sound. I like that. The only gripe that I have is that drums sound light and seem to lack depth, the overall mix is condensed and also on the light side. Other than that, time will show if this album sticks for longer period.

I.
----
No friends for playing games
No foes who scorn my name
Computerized machines of steel and rust
/---/
No friends in my house on Mars
No foes in my house on Mars
I was born in my house on Mars
I will die in my house on Mars
-- Ayreon - My House on Mars
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17.11.2017 - 12:06
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Ivor on 17.11.2017 at 10:54

...time will show if this album sticks for longer period.

In my mind it possesses the necessary ingredients to be considered a classic in the future.
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on and on south of heaven

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17.11.2017 - 15:01
s_t_s
Maybe I will try to listen to it once more but all the songs I listened to didn't grasp me at all I love EXTINCT but I don't like other Moonspell albums...
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17.11.2017 - 21:22
Ivor
Staff
Written by s_t_s on 17.11.2017 at 15:01

I love EXTINCT but I don't like other Moonspell albums...

If you love Extinct and no other album then this one won't sit right with you.

I.
----
No friends for playing games
No foes who scorn my name
Computerized machines of steel and rust
/---/
No friends in my house on Mars
No foes in my house on Mars
I was born in my house on Mars
I will die in my house on Mars
-- Ayreon - My House on Mars
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17.11.2017 - 21:48
nikarg
Old Nick
What Ivor said.
----
on and on south of heaven

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18.11.2017 - 13:16
Chidder
Written by s_t_s on 17.11.2017 at 15:01

Maybe I will try to listen to it once more but all the songs I listened to didn't grasp me at all I love EXTINCT but I don't like other Moonspell albums...


If You love "Extinct" then You should try "Omega White" - less heavier, but full of great songs ("The Greater Darkness", "White Skies", "New Tears Eve").
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24.11.2017 - 10:33
pedders
Have to say this album is growing on me, like the first times i listen to it just didn't done it to me
but after a couple of weeks its just a good album
still weird thought even if im portuguese to listen to them singing in mine mother tongue
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01.12.2017 - 01:04
BlankFile
Really good music, vocals and storytelling. Not among the best albuns of the band for sure, but still a very solid and intriguing one.

Im glad they chosed to sing it all in portuguese. It was a risk, but it paid off.
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