Moonspell – Portuguese Gothic Metal Band

Moonspell is a gothic metal band from Brandoa, Portugal, formed in 1992.

In 1989, in Brandoa, in the city of Amadora, Morbid God appeared, a band still inexperienced, without good instruments and without a good place to rehearse. Only in the following year the first song of the band would be recorded in the studio, in the format of promo tape and with the title of “Serpent Angel”. The band only managed to stabilize in 1992, releasing their first demo tape. At the time they only played black metal.

However, it was in that same year of 1992 that the band changed the name to Moonspell. Its founding members are: Duarte Picoto (Aka:Mantus), Fernando Ribeiro (Aka:Langsuyar), João Pereira (Aka: JM Tanngrisnir), João Pedro Escoval (Aka:Tetragrammaton/Ares), Luís Lamelas (Aka: Malah/Fenrir ), Pedro Paixão and Miguel Gaspar (aka: Mike/Nisroth).

In 1993 they recorded the demo Anno Satanae, which secured them a contract with the French label Adipocere Records to record an EP that was released a year later under the name Under the Moonspell . In 1995, and already at Century Media Records, they released their first CD, entitled Wolfheart. On this CD, they broke with their old style, black metal, to produce a gothic CD with Folk and Black Metal influences.

The CD was a success, which finally put Moonspell on the international metal scene. The next work, Irreligious, was released in 1996, whose single, Opium (song inspired by the poem Opiário by Álvaro de Campos, heteronym of Fernando Pessoa), remains one of the most famous songs by Moonspell.

In 1998, the album Sin/Pecado is released , with electronic elements to be added to the band’s sound, in an experimental work. At the same time, in that same year, the Daemonarch project was born . In the project, of pure black metal, the vocalist Fernando Ribeiro and the other members of Moonspell, with the exception of the drummer Mike Gaspar, edit the album Hermeticum. Then, in 1999, would come The Butterfly Effect (band), elevating this experimental/electronic face even more.

In 2001, the album Darkness and Hope appears with a Gothic sound and features the single Nocturna , one of the most acclaimed and heard songs in the band’s repertoire. The Antidote (2003), a two-handed work with writer José Luís Peixoto , is a more aggressive album, considered by some fans as the band’s best album ever.

In 2006, already under contract with SPV GmbH, the album Memorial was released, which reached the Portuguese top in the first week, leading the band to secure their first Gold Record in their country for sales of over 10,000 copies. Helped by the success of their last album, Moonspell won in November 2006 the Best Portuguese Act award at the MTV Europe Music Awards.

In 2007, they released a new album, entitled Under Satanae, composed of re-recordings of the first demos, including Under the Moonspell . Also in 2007 they edited their first “Best Of” entitled The Great Silver Eye.

On May 19, 2008, the band’s ninth album was released, titled Night Eternal , followed, in December of the same year, by the long-awaited double CD and DVD Lusitanian Metal , containing several live recordings from the band’s beginnings to 2004, as well as an interview.


Alpha Noir / Omega White , the band’s tenth studio album and with a new label – Napalm Records -, is released on April 27, 2012. The presentation of the double album, and the celebration of the band’s 20 years, was marked with a special concert in Lisbon , on the 12th of May, at Campo Pequeno , which also marked the start of the band’s world tour, Into Darkness. In early 2013, the band published the photobiographical book XX Anos Moonspell – 20 anos.

In March 2015, Moonspell’s eleventh album of originals, titled Extinct , came out.

Influence of Portuguese culture

Portuguese influences can be found in Moonspell’s music , mostly through the lyrics. Although most of their songs are in English , the songs “Trebaruna”, “Alma Mater” and “Atægina” from the Wolfheart album; “Full Moon Madness” from the Irreligious album; “Than the Serpents in my Arms” by Darkness and Hope are sung in Portuguese or have characteristics of Portuguese culture/language. In the song “Chorai Lusitânia”, by Under the Moonspell, it is possible to hear traditional Portuguese guitar arrangements.

The songs “Trebaruna” and “Ataegina” are about the goddesses of Lusitanian mythology.

The first four verses of “Than the Serpents in my Arms” were written by Mário Cesariny. Moonspell re-recorded the song “Os Lords de Guerra” by Madredeus. In 2017, they released the album 1755, which refers to the year in which the great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 occurred on November 1st (All Saints’ Day), followed by a tsunami that claimed between 60,000 and 90,000 victims in Lisbon. and is entirely sung in Portuguese.

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One thought on “Moonspell – Portuguese Gothic Metal Band

  1. I know about Moonspell the black metalish band in the 90s, saw them open for Immortal and Morbid Angel around 97 or something like that, they were touring for Wolfheart which had some good songs but overall was already too soft nothing like their great demo and EP, they really only got softer from thereafter I think though I haven’t been paying attention to them, oddly enough they somehow ended up touring with Marduk and Inquisition I think it was about a decade or so ago, they wisely played mostly older material.

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