'A New Headstone of Remembrance Is Born'
Moonspell have many times been referred to as one of the most important and revolutionary bands inside contemporary Metal music. Since their early times with the mini-album Under the Moonspell (1994) and their legendary debut Wolfheart (1995), their path has been marked by a restless imagination and willpower, allowing them to chart into further musical territories, taking up the whole Gothic Metal genre along to sonic and visual dimensions one could never have dreamt of.
In fact, they have pioneered the whole style themselves with the all time classic Irreligious (1996), an album that brought them out in the open on a historical tour supporting Type O Negative, still fresh in the memory of many as one of the best packages ever to be put together on a stage.
After 1998ís Sin/Pecado the band brought further musical contexts to an ever growing loyal following all around the world. To list what Moonspell (Fernando Ribeiro - vocals; Mike Gaspar - drums; Pedro Paix„o - guitar/keys; Ricardo Amorim - guitar/keys) has done is pointless because their appearances at all the major Metal and Gothic festivals (Dynamo, WFF, Roskilde, etc.); their headlining and supporting tours through Europe, USA and Latin America (with Type o Negative, Cradle of Filth, Kreator,Opeth, Samael, etc.); up to their collaboration with Portugalís most important ballet company, Ballet Gulbenkian.
Memorial marks the return of the band, after two years of intense touring with the publicly acclaimed album The Antidote (2003), to Woodhouse studios (Germany) where they worked again with long-time producer Waldemar Sorychta (Wolfheart, Irreligious, Sin (Lacuna Coil, Tiamat, Sentenced)). Memorial is, again, a ground-breaking album which shows that not only is the eternal spark of Moonspellís creativity at its most intense, but it also recreates traditions and influences that have helped the band to attain their rightful place at the top of the Gothic Metal scene in the Nineties.
Chatting recently with vocalist Fernando Ribeiro, I first wondered that with Moonspell being constantly referred to in the press as one of the most important bands in the contemporary Gothic Metal genre, what did a statement like this actually mean to the band? "Big words like always! I hope we live to them. What I get from this is that we are and always were a restless band and in some way we have been in the beginning of this style and were able to maintain our head over the waters creatively and career wise."
And with such a pedestal to be placed high up on, are you ever worried that your next album will not live up to these people's expectations? "People today will judge everything anyway. So the catch is to do as good as you can and to concentrate on the cause for everything: the music. Then close your eyes, take a deep breath and welcome whatever people are willing to give: their love or their hate, their adoration or despise."
Your album title 'Memorial' is a very potent one, but what does it mean to you guys in particular? "Power and soul. That is what we try to balance and to deepen within our music."
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated Moonspell at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "Itís hard to say. I think all the songs came out with a great personality and a string life of their own. Forced to pick one I would say Blood tells, for its anthem feeling. Also because the lyrics mean a lot to me when it comes to what is being in a band, all the pain of it."
How has the band changed - musically and otherwise - since your debut release 'Wolfheart'? "In many ways we have refined our sound and always let way for learning and trying to stretch the foundations laid on that one. On the other hand many of the motivations are still the same: to provoke into others what bands such as Bathory or Celtic Frost provoked into us and to taste the ďpoisonĒ of creation."
It's also noted that you guys are the most famous and most successful Portuguese band ever! Is that honestly true?! "Maybe itís the competition that is weak!"
Where was the creative artwork for this new album cover shot and did you have a say in what the final product would look like? "We have a say in everything and this album cover came out after many hours of back and forth discussion and countless projects. The cover is a mixture of photography and design and Adriano (our webmaster) and Wotjek ( a Polish fan/artist) came up with it."
Will any of your poetry/short stories ever be released in English, such as the forthcoming 'Shadows over Lisbon,' perhaps? "Itís a dream come true for me if anytime people outside Portugal could venture into reading my poems and literary blurbs. I know itís not easy but I trust it will happen sooner or later and I have taken some steps already to achieve it. Shadows over Lisbon will be in Portuguese as well, IĎd have to ask the publisher if he intends to have a translation done."
OK, allowing the darkness to diminish for just a moment, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "'We Are Stars' - Hear íní aid! Because it was my first Metal record!!!"
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "Never met any!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Moonspell's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: Moonspell's participation on the soundtrack of which movie resulted in it being the first Portuguese horror movie ever awarded with a Melies díOr and winner at several other film festivals?
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before May 15th with your answer and the subject title 'MOONSPELL SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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