Moonspell, Live in London

Portugal’s voyagers offer a night of rapture

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Moonspell’s 23-year journey hasn’t just gathered a horde of goth and metal followers who fill out every inch of the Underworld both physically and vocally; you also get the feeling there’s something that the band encompasses that attracts just as much devotion.

The venue is already largely full for Germany’s LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE [6], a band whose comforting, romantic sweep sieves the likes of Katatonia, Paradise Lost and tonight’s hosts for melodies, leaving out the heavier-hearted elements, but still getting a rapturous reception.

It’s nothing like the screams that greet MOONSPELL [8], though, as if frontman Fernando Ribeiro’s entrance was some unexpected surprise. Part once-struck-by-a-vision, Old Testament wanderer and part missionary for the destructive/redemptive cusp of love, it says much for his charisma and the sense of unity that binds the band as a whole that a 90-minute set covering two decades feels like an all-encompassing world of its own.

Opium’s skeletal framework is fleshed out by later tracks, such as the warrior chant and expansive chorus of Extinct, as gothic gravity gives way to massive, lead-the-way hooks. Domina’s intimacy blossoms into a delirious blastwave from the heart and Full Moon Madness is a final act of soul-excavation finding buried treasure once more./o:p

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.