Originally written by Tim Pigeon
Portugal’s veteran goth/black metallers Moonspell have not missed a step as they approach their 3rd decade of existence. In fact, I feel that Night Eternal might be their most complete work to date, possibly excepting the oldest works that I have not yet heard and can’t pass judgment on. It is right up there with The Antidote, for me. The atmospheric and backing elements are on full display here, while the rocking parts still rock hard.
The staff-wielding Fernando’s throat has held up well after all the glass-gargling shouting he does here and on past albums. Clean vocals are almost non-existent, with the exception of the haunting “Scorpion Flower”, where he is joined by Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering) in this metal duet. There are adept guitar solos here which stand out amidst a stringed assault that takes many forms – sometime clean and dark, sometime droning tremolo riffs, sometimes it’s a thrashing romp, and other times the guitars produce a wall of noise.
“Moon in Mercury” starts off superbly with a hard driving tempo, accentuated by well-placed drum hits. A solo comes in right where you’d expect, about ¾ of the way through the song. “Dreamless” harkens back to their more gothic days, as the pace just chugs along, with Fernando actually singing with his real voice, not his monotone spoken delivery. “At Tragic Heights” features a host of ambient/atmospheric effects, giving the whole song a slight symphonic black feel. But this feel is strongest in the album closer, “First Light”, where a female chorus chants to chilling effect.
Moonspell have succeeded in writing another very listenable album that trends nicely with the last few albums that they have released. If you have Memorial already and love that sound, this album will feed your urge for more. Cheers to the band for not losing a step after so many albums and years.