On November 1st in 1755, on All Saint’s Day, a strong earthquake in Lisbon was about to change route to the way people would be thinking about that day all over Europe. And who is more qualified to narrate this story than Moonspell, who rightly created their new album ‘1755‘ in their native language that is Portuguese.

One of the main reasons I’m a big fan of Moonspell is that, not only do I enjoy their huge musical talent, but I also think when I’m listening to their music. Their lyrical themes have always been deep and philosophical. In the case of ‘1755‘, although I and many fans in other countries besides Portugal and Brazil don’t directly understand the lyrics, we can simply read the story of the disaster of Lisbon in the 18th century which is very interesting. Whilst listening to the album, we can imagine an earthquake which has a magnitude in the range of 8.5-9.0 and a rapid tsunami with the waves reaching the five meters destroying almost everything.

Moonspell succeed in transforming what this disaster might have felt into music, with powerful orchestral and choral parts in every track. The result is so gripping and fascinating as each track tells you the story minute by minute. ‘In Tremor Dei‘ which translates “Fear of God” and ‘Todos Os Santos‘ (All Saints) reveal the agony and the question of people back then (and maybe even now) who wonder if God had abandoned them. Moonspell here perform angrily yet not aggressively. For the first half of the album they sound steady and rhythmical. Then the track ‘1 De Novembro‘ begins, which gave me a flashback of ‘Wolfheart‘ with its raw vocals and fast tempo. It almost seems like a cry of agony and in the middle of the track takes an elegiacal form as we all imagine Lisbon almost disappear. What I was expecting more begins in the last three tracks of ‘1755‘ and that is the way each Moonspell member individually and in collaboration give the band’s unique sound. In ‘Ruinas‘ we have the mesmerizing melodies of Paixao and the engrossing riffs of Amorim. Amorim once again proves his significance as a guitarist especially in ‘Todos Os Santos‘, the stand-out track of the album. Undoubtedly, I don’t undermine the other members. Moonspell are five very talented musicians and the band wouldn’t be what it is today based on the talent of one. And ‘1755‘ is the proof that this band is timeless, from 1992 till this very day. The last track of the album is a cover of the 1989 song ‘Lanterna Dos Afogados‘ from the Brazilian band Paralamas Do Sucesso, when you listen to the original version you will admit that this is what a cover should be.

From religiousness to secularism and from death to rebirth, 1755 has been an important year for the European history and ‘1755‘ was one of the best albums of last year.

Mary Kalaitzidou