Album Review: Moonspell – Hermitage


Album Review: Moonspell - Hermitage
Reviewed by Richard Oliver

As they approach their 30th anniversary of existence, Portuguese gothic metal masters Moonspell give us their thirteenth album Hermitage. Frontman of the band Fernando Ribeiro describes these as “the final years of our career as musicians: the winter of our lifetime” and as a result Hermitage is a very introspective and atmospheric album.

Album Review: Moonspell - Hermitage

Unlike the last couple of albums 1755 and Extinct which were quite heavy, weighty and punchy albums, Hermitage sees Moonspell taking a far more minimalistic and stripped back approach. It is a far less immediate sounding album that needs time and patience to soak up the atmosphere and meaning of these songs. The darkness of current times has definitely permeated into these songs and you can hear the despair and sorrow of this cruel existence bleeding out in this foreboding music. Songs such as Entitlement and instrumental Solitarian are dark, brooding and atmospheric affairs which envelop the listener with their mesmerising darkness and whilst there are some heavier numbers such as Common Prayers, The Hermit Saints and the title track they are a far more atmospheric that some of the heavier material from Moonspell in recent years. Stand outs have to be the prog-tinged beauty of All Or Nothing which has some incredible guitar work from Ricardo Amorim and the album opener The Greater Good which feels like an encapsulation of all the sounds and themes of the album in one song.

Hermitage is definitely a different album than what we have had from Moonspell in recent years. It is definitely an album that requires time, patience and multiple listens but when it finally clicks with you it is a very rewarding experience. Whilst it has all the hallmarks of a gothic metal album - atmosphere, melancholy and darkness - it is a more more mature, in depth and deeper listen than anything the band have done before. Quite how it will sit with long term fans of the band will remain to be seen but for me this is a bold and successful progression for the band.

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