Daemonarch - _Hermeticum_
(Century Media, 1998)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
"Well, well. So this is Moonspell's black metal side project, huh?" Similar thoughts must have crossed the minds of many who used to like Moonspell's music as they prepared to listen to _Hermeticum_ for the first time. Having only really liked _Wolfheart_ and some of _Irreligious_, and having disliked _Sin_, I wasn't exactly anxious to hear this, either; but, noting that this is by no means Scandinavian black metal, _Hermeticum_ is actually a good album. _Hermeticum_ basically sounds somewhat similar to Samael, but it's faster, less technical and has less keyboard work. The fact that a drum machine is also used here adds to the list of similarities, even though it doesn't sound much like the one used on _Passage_ (mainly because its output is much less complex). This is all very different from Moonspell, except for some occasional parts (especially in "The Seventh Daemonarch" and "Hymn to Lucifer"), although it's quite obvious that it's Fernando Ribeiro who's doing the vocals -- which, by the way, consist of relatively few clean parts and a lot of well performed screaming. In fact, although the music isn't generally soft or very melodic, it's the harshness of most of the vocals that stands out. Overall, however, it's not as harsh as I heard it would be. The quality level is reasonably constant, although "Of a Thousand Young", "Corpus Hermeticum" and "The Seventh Daemonarch" stand out. Not an amazing album at any level, but definitely far more enjoyable for me than most of what Moonspell have been doing since _Wolfheart_.

(article published 1/16/1999)


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