Album Review: Moonspell – Hermitage (Napalm Records)

Moonspell are approaching their 30th anniversary as a band more ambitiously and stronger than ever. Hermitage – the gothic metal pioneers‘ 13th studio album – will be released on the 26th February 2021 via Napalm Records.

Lead singer Fernando Ribeiro reveals:

We know that we are entering the final years of our career as musicians: the winter of our lifetime. We don’t care about people saying we’re still young at heart, or “leading” wolves in a pack. We are not! But we do care about how those around us feel about us, and this album is all about how we feel, our answers to your questions.

Under these circumstances, we feel our musical stakes are higher than ever. For us, it’s not about likes or algorithms, reach, or opportunity of growth. We only care about the music. Music does come first on this album you will hold in your hands soon enough. The record is called Hermitage and it’s about turning our backs to the conventions of modernity. We are currently convincing ourselves that it’s all about us, that we (humanity) are everything. That the world revolves around us. However, ipsi facto, we are nothing and nothing revolves around us. Moonspell’s goal, on these last turns around the Sun, are to write the best music we possibly can. To tell you a few stories with our lyrics, to be close to you in these times of distancing. We wish not to tease you or to influence you or to sell you our fish. We want to sit down with you at your table and feast together upon our notes and words. Like if we were close friends, like back in the time where music matters the most. In your bedroom listening to music, without having to post our smart remarks about it, inviting the hate in.

Hermitage is an open-hearted invitation to simplicity. To be humble. To be thankful. To serve you solace. Provide you comfort, entertainment. We sincerely hope this call reaches you. That you kindly accept what we offer. That you take our music with you to the place you must feel as yours. To your secret place, to your hermitage. Blessed be.

While the band might be talking about the end as they reveal their 13th album to hungry, waiting ears. The quality of the musical output in this album says otherwise.

Once again, and to the surprise of literally no-one, Moonspell bring us an album laden in deep gothic vibes. Layered with thought-provoking and intense melodies, and dripping in touching metal rhythm. Hermitage is a modern Moonspell great and The Greater Good kicks it off in style. Dark and haunting, the melody is deceptively catchy meaning sudden bursts of guitars and drums hit harder than expected.

Common Prayers brings some extra chunk and thump in its heavier rhythm but balances it with wonderfully dream-like vocals. All or Nothing then goes big with a drawn out and expansive gothic-tinged melodic epic. Before Moonspell lift the spirits and deliver an energetic hitter in the form of the title track and drag the emotions through the wringer with the haunting and rocking beauty of Entitlement. The first half of the album, a wide array of what makes Moonspell such a unique and beloved band.

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Solitarian showcases the grandiose guitar tones as it is a top shelf instrumental with a ton of heart. Before the wonderful vocals return in style for a spectacular showing on The Hermit Saints. One of the album’s best tracks, not just for how great the layered vocals are but for how lavish the rhythm is. A true head-banger that makes you feel that little taller.

With the end approaching fast, Moonspell continue to defy expectations with two very different but recognisable efforts. The first, Apoptheghmata starts off sweet and mellow but builds up in gothic splendour to something brimming with metal life and back again. The second, Without Rule is another epic. Something Moonspell seem to do with such ease. Here, the unit add touches of progressiveness to their already expansive gothic sound. Before City Quitter (Outro) wraps things up with a 3-minute slice of cold melody.

To the surprise of absolutely no-one, Moonspell’s 13th album is a thrilling and spectacular ride from beginning to end. Let’s hope there is plenty more still to come as they’re clearly on top form.

Moonspell – Hermitage Full Track Listing:

1. The Greater Good
2. Common Prayers
3. All or Nothing
4. Hermitage
5. Entitlement
6. Solitarian
7. The Hermit Saints
8. Apoptheghmata
9. Without Rule
10. City Quitter (Outro)


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Moonspell - Hermitage (Napalm Records)
  • The Final Score - 8.5/10
User Review
8.27/10 (3 votes)
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