ALBUM REVIEW: Maledictus – Seventh Storm

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Last year saw the release of Portuguese gothic metallers MOONSPELL‘s thirteenth album Hermitage, the first in their near thirty year career that did not feature original drummer Miguel Gaspar. Whilst the true nature of his leaving is unknown, the band have stated in interviews that it was mutual, however that didn’t mean Gaspar wasn’t in a position where he could immediately move on. After some time soul-searching and healing, however, he’s returned with his new project SEVENTH STORM, whose debut album Maledictus arrives Friday via Atomic Fire Records.

Gaspar wrote and arranged the entire record, which is no easy task in itself for someone who, despite his pedigree, has never undertaken such a task before, however it’s even more staggering when you delve into the record and realise – quite quickly – that this is not a straightforward listen. Nine tracks long and nearly an hour in length, Maledictus takes every bit of knowledge Gaspar has at his disposal and shows his vision in grandiose fashion. Opening track Pirate’s Curse is – pun intended – a swashbuckling track, steeped in prog and gothic metal and clocking in at over six minutes in length.

It’s followed by Saudade, the Portuguese word for ‘melancholy’ and the first real indication of the album’s main theme – the despair felt by those who experience the death of loved ones who never lived their lives to the full, yet continue living nonetheless. It’s a powerful song, aided by a mesmeric performance from vocalist Rez and channelling the line of music that has made TRIVIUM‘s resurgence in recent years so potent.

As the record progresses, Gods Of Babylon follows the vein of interlude Saranpit (the main god of the Babylonian faith) by bringing in more Middle-Eastern influences and blending them with Gaspar‘s indomitable drumming and a hefty chug from guitarists Ben Stockwell and Josh Riot. Bassist Butch Cid isn’t left out of the fun, though, as he shows off his chops at the beginning of the PARADISE LOST– infused Inferno Rising.

The final track, Haunted Sea, is the longest at eight-and-a-quarter minutes but is a fitting end to the record; finishing with more of a nautical theme like the album opener, it’s a rousing slab of metal that incorporates elements of black, symphonic, prog and doom, twisting and turning right until the finish. There are a few bonus tracks as well, namely Saudade in an acoustic form – both with English and Portuguese vocals – and an electric version is Gaspar‘s mother tongue as well. They don’t exactly enhance the album, but nor do they hinder and provide a nice touch as an additional post-script.

Regardless of the reasons that led to Mike Gaspar‘s departure from MOONSPELL, if SEVENTH STORM are to continue in this vein then fans of gothic metal will be very satisfied. Maledictus is a good, solid debut album with a number of interesting ideas and expertly delivered, which is to be expected given the mastermind behind the project. It’ll be fun to see where they develop on future releases.

Rating: 7/10

Maledictus - Seventh Storm

Maledictus is set for release on August 12th via Atomic Fire Records.

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The post ALBUM REVIEW: Maledictus – Seventh Storm appeared first on Distorted Sound Magazine.

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