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Moonspell - "The Butterfly Effect" (CD)

Moonspell - "The Butterfly Effect" CD cover image

"The Butterfly Effect" track listing:

1. Soulsick (4:16)
2. Butterfly FX (3:51)
3. Can't Bee (5:11)
4. Lustmord (3:44)
5. SelfAbuse (4:16)
6. I Am the Eternal Spectator (3:31)
7. Soulitary Vice (3:27)
8. Disappear Here (3:33)
9. Adaptables (3:01)
10. Angelizer (4:30)
11. Tired (5:24)
12. K (12:40)

Reviewed by on May 4, 2008

"an eclectic album, having tracks consumed by rage and spotted with black-metal growls next to more mellow tracks containing mostly clean vocals. "

Portuguese quintet Moonspell are nearing their twentieth year as a gothic-laced metal horde, and all those years have been witness to an obscure band growing into the most famous metal outfit in all of Portugal’s musical history. Nineteen years is a long time to refine a particular sound, and as can be expected Moonspell has altered their style throughout the course of their nine full-length album catalogue. When a band consistently releases material that evolves in different directions, it is to be expected that fans of the earlier work will call them sell outs, while fans of the newer sound will consider the opposite camp hopelessly lost in the past. With this progression of sound in mind, "The Butterfly Effect" is an excellent place to become acquainted with Moonspell, as it has shades of their earlier Goth roots mixed with the heavier and more mainstream elements that would come to characterize their later albums.

"The Butterfly Effect" is an eclectic album, having tracks consumed by rage and spotted with black-metal growls next to more mellow tracks containing mostly clean vocals. The opening track, "Soul Sick," starts with synthesized sound effects and drum work combining with gothic-style clean singing to invoke an almost palpable, eerie sense of rising dread. Before long the screams and growls begin, enhancing the mood of the song and invoking imagery of burning monuments from the past and rising anew from the ashes. The growling vocals on "The Butterfly Effect" are used in a more discriminating and restrained manner than in later Moonspell albums, only appearing when strictly necessary and never overshadowing or suppressing other elements of the music. While fans of Goth who aren't so enamored with extreme metal will be quite pleased, the metal-heads that are looking for more intensity will be occasionally disappointed.

The title track, "Butterfly FX," follows the same basic pattern as "Soul Sick" with strange sound effects blending into clean vocals which eventually give way to screams. From there on the songs all become much more calm, focusing more on clean singing and a melancholy mood similar to the more accessible parts of Tiamat's "Wild Honey" or "A Deeper Kind of Slumber," although every now and again things become just as heavy as in the opening tracks. The later songs utilize a much more experimental approach, occasionally crossing the line from metal into industrial. As they generally don't pack as much punch as the earlier songs, the ending tracks tend to blend together and are less memorable.

Fans of gothic rock or more accessible extreme metal will probably enjoy "The Butterfly Effect," and the Portuguese accent of the lead vocalist provides a nice change of pace from the more monotonous growls of other metal bands.

Highs: Heavy on atmosphere and has great synthesized effects

Lows: Occasionally lacks in intensity

Bottom line: A solid disc for fans of goth or extreme metal, and a great place to get acquainted with Moonspell

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)