There’s been lot of criticism aimed at Portuguese goth-metal pioneers Moonspell over the years, but nobody can claim they lack innovation. With nine studio records now under their belt and numerous genre-bending time periods to their history, it’s no surprise that they still keep people on their toes to this very day.
This was a thought that crossed many minds when it was announced they would be touring North America with Marduk and Inquisition, two bands that are so different to them that the audience reception seems like it would make the band quiver, though that doesn’t appear to be the case.
“It was our agent’s idea to bring these worlds together and, I must say, it’s quite an exciting idea to tour with one of the black metal potencies. We know the guys from way back, so I guess we’ll hang out just fine. Last time we met and I saw their show was in Barge to Hell, in the middle of the ocean. Really intense and pure evil,” writes Moonspell mainman and vocalist Fernando Ribeiro via email.
Ribeiro – joined by bandmates Ricardo Amorim (guitar), Pedro Paixão (keyboards/guitar), Aires Pereira (bass) and Miguel Gaspar (drums) – explains that their set will stick to the basics and pull songs from their entire catalogue, rather than gearing it towards to rabid black metal fans that will no doubt populate these gigs. They have plenty to choose from, as they’ve done everything from Type O Negative-influenced goth rock to haunting and melodic black metal à la Cradle of Filth circa 1992.
“It’s not that we are going to wear corpse paint and just play from our Under the Moonspell [their debut EP] period. It’s important to keep the minds open and to please the ones who follow us first and foremost,” he writes.
The band will undoubtedly receive flack for it, but they are no strangers to adversity. Like any other group, they’ve seen extreme highs and extreme lows and Ribeiro indicates their darkest time came with the loss of original bassist João Pedro. Tumultuousness has led the band through many different phases, simultaneously helping them blend multiple sub-genres with relative ease.
“Honestly, we do it from the heart and out of the strange desire we have to tap into a lot of different emotions, energies and styles at once, thus resulting in the many moods of our albums and live shows. We do not think at all if that will leave a mark or not, if it is going to be recognized or not. It’s more of a direction that we were born with in the ‘90s European metal scene: there were many bands with the same mindset but, it’s true, we kept it and subjected all our musical production to that impending and spontaneous will,” he explains.
With that in mind, Ribeiro and co. continue striving for respect for what they’ve done and what they still plan to do within metal. They are advocates of constant change and experimentation; yet aim to please their loyal fan base.
“This is the only way we can attract fans, by doing the greatest music we can. We are not from Sweden, nobody cares about Portuguese navigators anymore, we are not a cool band like others are and we do not have thousands of thousands following us on Twitter or Facebook. We have to do with the old way.”
A strong statement from one of the old guard, one of the few who won’t let themselves be overtaken by the new age or let themselves be sucked into the demands of an unforgiving metal scene. If only for that reason alone, then they should command a level of admiration from a merciless crowd.
Watch Moonspell with Inquistion, Marduk, the Foreshadowing and Deat on Monday, March 4 at Dickens Pub.
By Brandon McNeil