Under Satanæ

Written by: TL on 07/12/2007 17:20:28

Now while it is primarily the fact that I've been working full time to finish this semesters project at my university that has kept me away from reviewing things for the past few weeks, I must admit that there is also another factor present. Longtime readers will remember how I took a lot of criticism for the inexperience of my second ever review, namely the one on Moonspell's "Memorial" album. Having not forgotten the anger of the bands fans, I reluctantly took it upon myself to review the new Moonspell release, the compilation "Under Satanæ", to see if more than a years reviewing experience would have opened my ears to the music of this band, and I must admit that it was not a job I was in hurry to get started on.

What "Under Satanæ" essentially is however, is a revisited collection of all the songs from the band's first EP "Under The Moonspell", their initial demo tape "Anno Satanæ" and finally their first ever recorded song "Serpent Angel". Danish metal master producer Tue Madsen has been brought in to modernize the production, and succesfully so, as nothing on "Under Satanæ" sounds even closely like something that was done in the early 90's.

Already from the first real track "Tenebrarum Oratorium I" it's clear that this is something complete different from what was going on on the band's recent material. The guitarriffs and the growl/clean vocal dynamics have a whole other nerve to them, and like the promo material says "it's like drinking from a dark fountain of youth". The whole record is characterized by the band's trademark thick diabolical atmosphere spiced with different middle eastern elements here and there. I get the feeling that, compared to what I heard on "Memorial" the music the guys used to write is more to the point. It's less nonsense and more growling viciously in your face. It's like there's less background stuff and more actual content to keep you occupied. An impression that seemed to be severely missing from "Memorial".

With that being said, Moonspell is still largely about creating enclosing, abyssal moods for the listener to sink into, and I can't quite shake the feeling that sometimes the band only sets the stage and neglects putting on the actual "play". Nevertheless "Under Satanæ" has managed to tickle even my ears, despite the fact that they usually shun black and doom metal. Thus I'd also say, my limited knowledge of Moonspell taken into consideration, that "Under Satanæ" might just be a very good place to start with the band.


Download: Tenebrarum Oratorium I, Opus Diabolicum
For the fans of: Tiamat, Theater of Tragedy
Listen: MySpace

Release Date 15.10.2007
SPV Records
Provided by Target ApS

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