25 Year Later, Looking Back at Wolfheart
This past April marked twenty five years since "Wolfheart", the debut album by Portuguese gothic metal band Moonspell came out. Being my favorite band, I had to write about this album, and how it has stood against the test of time to still be a kickass album. It starts off with "Wolfshade - A Werewolf Masquerade" which sets the tone for the entire album as being a badasss album, and it features a lot of elements that Moonspell has come to be known by. Brutal vocals, insane guitar solos, some beautiful moments of tenderness, and an overall hauntingly wonderful sound.
The first track on the album, “Wolfshade – A Werewolf Masquerade” despite being the first track on their debut album, contains a lot of elements that have stuck with Moonspell for the past twenty five years. It’s such a good song. It starts off with like an air of mystery about it, like you aren’t sure what you’re in for. But then Fernando and the instruments come in with a mighty roar, and you instantly know what kind of album this is. It’s a great introduction to the album, and to the band.
About halfway through the album is “Lua D’inverno”, which is without a doubt the most hauntingly beautiful instrumental piece I’ve ever heard on a metal album. I absolutely love it. It has a spooky flute like sound playing a few long notes with an acoustic guitar playing a line in the background. It’s so simple, and yet just so wonderful. It also just provides a nice contrast from the track before it, “Midnight Ride”, which is quite heavy, and it flows right into the intro of “Trebaruna”.
Towards the end of the album is one of their better known songs, "Vampiria". You can't have a werewolf themed album without a song about vampires, right? This song is just great. To start off, it almost sounds like a spoken word piece with some instrumental pieces and eerie feminine wailing. It then kicks up into a super badass metal song, which wouldn’t sound out of place in any gothic playlist. The ending of the song is a spine chilling woman’s shriek that sounds like it came straight out of an old black and white horror movie. It’s definitely a unique song, and a great track.
The last song on the album is one that every Moonspell fan knows. “Alma Mater” is played at the end of every live show. It’s one of their many songs that has lines in Portuguese, which is something I love. Not a lot of bands have songs containing more than one language, but it flows so seamlessly from English to Portuguese. In addition to just being a very catchy and awesome song, it has a lot of importance to the band. The song speaks of their homeland in Portugal, and is like a reminder that on any given night, although they might be playing on any corner of the globe, Portugal is their home and is always going to be there for them to return to. No matter what nationality someone is. I feel like that sense of home is something a lot of people can relate to.
A few years ago I was at an after party after a show done by a local rock band show, and I was hanging out with their metalhead bassist. I mentioned Moonspell. and his jaw dropped. He had had a copy of Wolfheart back in the day, and he remembered a couple of the tracks, particularly “Lua D’inverno”. He hadn’t even thought of the band in over twenty years. That’s what sort of impact this album has. It’s such a quality album that just sticks with people.
It's really cool it is that this band has been around for so long, and yet still sticks to their roots and the core of the sound they created so long ago. That is an achievement in itself, and I really commend them for that. It’s not something a lot of bands accomplish. They've also had very few lineup changes, which is also impressive. They also have kept up with the wolf theme, still referring to their fans as "The Wolfpack".
I’ve only been a fan of this band for ten or so years, and seen them live three times, but I’ve listened to every album. I’ve grown with them through the years as their sound has changed, and I love every piece they come out with. This album though remains my favorite. I look forward to the next time I can see them live. Under the spell!! ~Gangis The Demon