Album of the Year 2017 – Number 19

Welcome to day 12 of my ‘Album of the Year 2017 top 30 countdown’.

I don’t wish to speak too soon, but it is looking more and more likely that I will finish this series before Christmas. I’m on a roll now, well into the top 20 and even though it’s the time for buying and wrapping Christmas presents, attending school plays, taking the children to every Santa’s grotto within a 30 mile radius and too many parties, I’m showing no signs of slowing down. It’s ok, as the famous line goes, ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’!

Speaking of parties, if you’re late to this particular party, I won’t take it personally. Speaking for my inner geek and socially inept side, I’m just glad you showed up at all. Therefore, if you have missed any of the previous posts in this series, links can be found at the bottom of this post along with links to the entire countdowns from previous years.

But with that all said, let’s get on with things and reveal who’s next in this smorgasbord of killer music from 2017…

Number 19

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Moonspell
1755
Napalm Records

“The trade mark Gothic metal overtones have not disappeared at all, but the material on this record has been given the full symphonic, bombastic treatment. The orchestral elements that fittingly bathe large swathes of ‘1755’ lend the compositions a sense of drama, intensity and grandeur. When coupled with the dark and often horrific subject matter, it creates a hugely powerful soundtrack.

…you can sense that this record is, in many ways, more than just the next record in a band’s career – it is the exploration of a true event that has enormous historical and cultural significance to Moonspell and their Portuguese roots.

Speaking as someone who regards ‘Irreligious’ as a top 20 album of all-time, it is a joy as well as a surprise to be thinking of ‘1755’ in the same bracket. But it would be hugely uncharitable to not do so, such is the quality of this superb release. ‘1755’ is clearly a hugely important album for Moonspell, not least because of the subject matter that it explores. But musically, ‘1755’ is almost perfect too. The bombast, the cinematic drama, the power and the melody all combine perfectly to create some of the best music of Moonspell’s career. On this form, Moonspell are an utter joy to listen to.”

Read the full review here.

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‘1755’ is one of the latest albums released in 2017 to be featured in this end-of-year list. The chances are, had it have been released a month or two earlier, it may well have been higher up the order. Additionally, I only had access to a stream until today when I treated myself to a copy of the record as an early Christmas present. This has meant that I’ve been denied the chance to listen to this album when I listen most to music: when I walk my dog twice a day. Nevertheless, despite the curtailed listening, this great record has found a deserved spot in my list.

As you can read from the quotes above and from reading the full review, I have made the bold proclamation that ‘1755’ might just be up there with their best, namely the stunning ‘Irreligious’ that is close to being a ‘desert island disc’ for me. I still stand by this, although I think that, to an extent, only further listening over a more prolonged and intense period will determine whether I’ve succumbed to a dose of hyperbole or not. Suffice to say that regardless, ‘1755’ is fantastic in its own right and should be judged on its own merits.

‘1755’ is easily the most ambitious album of the Portuguese quintet’s career . That says a lot because Moonspell have never been shy at imbuing their records with lashings of dark atmosphere, over-the-top Gothic imagery and plenty of bombast and theatrics. But this release takes things to the next level; it’s like the shackles have been well-and-truly removed and Fernando Ribeiro & Co. have genuinely revelled in bringing this important historical event to life.

The orchestration is enormous, the imagery is vivid and when the guys decide to get heavy, there’s a demonstrable aggression and power to the music, veering very close to extreme metal at times, whilst also remaining accessible.

When I was reviewing ‘1755’, I listened to it back-to-back at least three times on more than one occasion. And each time, I derived more and more enjoyment from the listening experience. That should tell you all you need to know about the addictiveness of the record and the quality that it contains. And now that I have my own copy, I fear it might prove difficult to remove it from my stereo.

If you missed either of my 2017 ‘honourable mentions’ posts, here they are should you be interested:

Album of the Year 2017 – honourable mentions Part 1
Album of the Year 2017 – honourable mentions Part 2

Previous posts in my 2017 Top 30 countdown:

Album of the Year 2017 – Number 20
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 21
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 22
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 23
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 24
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 25
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 26
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 27
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 28
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2017 – Number 30

And from previous years:

Album of the Year 2016
Album of the Year 2015
Album of the Year 2014
Album of the Year 2013
Album of the Year 2012

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