Title: Alpha Noir
Label: Napalm Records
Distribution: Rough Trade Benelux - Tone
Release date: April 27th 2012
I guess this might be the most ‘legendary’ and influential Metal band from Portugal, active for twenty years and creators a many highly appreciated recordings. I used to be a ‘fan’ in the past (which does also include the members’ outlet Daemonarch), yet as from (the second) half of the nineties, I lost my interest, for this band turned into the same kind of nonsense which did sicken the scene (cf. the vomit and diarrhoea-smell acts like Paradise Lost etc. were introducing to the weak). An insult for the old fans.
All right, I might exaggerate a little, and on top of it, this isn’t but a personal opinion. This band IS popular, not only on the Iberian Peninsula, yet all over Terra Metalica, and this isn’t just a coincidence, of course. And even I was extremely pleased with 2008’s Night Eternal (probably because it came much closer again to the earliest years again, than to the era Immemorial / Sin/Pecado / The Butterfly Effect …).
As a matter of fact, Alpha Noir is the first part of a diptych, in counterpart to Omega White. The latter, yet I’m only basing these details on the label’s information added / joined, can be considered some atmospheric counterbalance to Alpha Noir, inspired by acts like Type O Negative and Sisters Of Mercy; yet since the Concreteweb’s headquarters didn’t receive but the noir-part, I can’t mock this second part…
So, anyway, Alpha Noir. Producer: Tue Madsen (Cataract, Withering Surface, Aborted, Ektomorf, Davidian, Urkraft etc. )! Nine songs, sweetly and safely varying in between four to five minutes each. Now on Austria’s ‘biggest’ Metal-label Napalm Records. With astonishing ARTwork.
Duration: forty minutes.
As from the first moment, it does sound promising. Moonspell aren’t doing the shit they did the last fifteen years anymore, for being much more ‘back to the roots’. All right, their Soft-Goth fans will be disappointed, the ‘old ones’ will not. Alpha Noir, as a matter of fact, somewhat dwells in the middle of both extremes, for combining the semi-vampiric Black-edged anger of the past with the melodious and somewhat catchy elements from their ‘we’re so sweet yet so evil at the same time’-era as well. And most of the time, I think they succeed to create a subtle revivion / revision of the glorious old days. Besides a splendid sound quality (with gratitude to Mister Madsen, as mentioned before), one cannot ignore the progression in intensity and powerfully elaborated persuasion at all; despite a (limited) amount on pathetic outbursts of quasi-infantile poppiness. Yet overall this album keeps the middle in between both extremes this band has gone through throughout their existence. And I’m sure all of us will find something attractive in one way or another. The fans of the early recordings will appreciate the thrashier and obscure parts, the (I guess) younger fans will be adored / pleased by the sweetful symphonies performed with, and even I have to admit, a certain grandeur beyond average.
Or: never mind if Moonspell’s current approach is your kind of metalized satisfaction. For sure are the band’s sublime craftsmanship (experience, you see) and the bravery to combine dark-edged naughtiness with safely composed and performed goody-goodiness.