It is always very interesting to see a favorite band of yours constantly trying different things. And this happens in a very emphatic way in the new, number thirteen, studio album of the mighty Portuguese. Most likely the record that will divide their fans more than any other.
This is because we are probably talking about their most atmospheric, melodic, dark and less aggressive work. At “Hermitage”, Moonspell generally focus on calm compositions with mostly clean vocals. But even in the few moment that they use extreme ones, the music does not follow with the same aggression. Fernando Ribeiro does a tremendous job and sounds more focused than ever.
The 70s influences are strong, both on the guitars and the keyboards, and it makes you think that you are listening to a prog rock band from that time. Yes, it is so strange to hear something like this from Moonspell, especially on such a large scale. But the compositions are well structured that keep your attention and accompany you on this so different journey.
A journey that took me time to really appreciate what the Portuguese have tried to do here. It’s not easy to listen to, especially for someone who knows the band for years and it will logically take most of them some time to like it. Some will never love it, but you cannot satisfy them all.
The only unnecessary in “Heritage” I think, are the two instrumental tracks that do not offer anything special in the overall experience. It lasts one hour, along with the bonus cover of “Darkness In Paradise” by Candlemass, so without these two the flow could be a lot better. Still, they don’t take so much from the overall experience but in my opinion they could go without them.
“Heritage” is probably Moonspell’s most ambitious and experimental effort. Without completely altering their identity, they walk in different paths and I can say that the final result justifies them. Let’s not forget that they are thirty years in the scene, so the quality and experience of these musicians is something that can’t be doubted. Don’t reject it immediately, give it the time it needs and you will find out what a special work we are talking about.