he band's initial formation took place in 1989 at Brandoa, Portugal under the name of Morbid God and the membership of Tanngrisnir Imperator Ignis (Real Name: João Fonseca; guitars), Langsuyar Tenebrarum Rex (Real Name: Fernando Miguel Santos Ribeiro; vocals/lyrics), Mantus Iberius Daemonium (Real Name: Duarte Picoto; guitars (lead)), Tetragrammaton Tremendae Majestatis (Real Name: João Pedro; bass), Nisroth De Occulta Fraternitatis (Real Name: Miguel Gaspar; drums) and Neophytus Lupus Maris (Real Name: Pedro Paixão; keyboards). After bringing Fenrir into the fold, their first effort would be their 1992 promo pack entitled Serpent Angel. After expelling their drummer Baalberith, the act would change its name to Moonspell ('Feitiço da Lua' in Portuguese) with Nirich (ex-Decayed) taking over the drum duties. Their Serpent Angel promo track was then included on the first Portuguese heavy metal compilation LP called The Birth Of A Tragedy. Their style now evolving to mix straight up black metal with doom and Goth.
Fenrir would take over the second guitar slot under his new stage name, Malah (Real Name: Luís Lamelas), and their debut demo, Anno Satanae, would follow soon after featuring 3 tracks of black metal: Goat On Fire, Anciente Winter Good and Wolves From The Fog. The track Goat on Fire would soon after be included on another Portuguese compilation called Mortuary Vol.1, and at the same time, the Greek record company 'Molon Lave' would publish a special 7" vinyl with Goat on Fire and Wolves From Fog featured within. Malah, however,m would not last long.
Their first recording proper would be the mini-CD Under The Moonspell (1994) through 'Adipocere Records'. Now their live act had evolved into theatrical live appearances to give a new dimension to their live apparatus, and Under The Moonspell was an enormous success in Europe being the record with the most sales on 'Adipocere Records' (more than 5000). Response to the mini-CD was so overwhelming that 'Century Media' was prompted to sign the act to a six CD contract. In the beginning of 1995, the band entered Woodhouse Studios and emerged in 10 days with Wolfheart, their first full and proper album and an album that covered a surprising amount of musical ground within the span of its eight songs.
At this stage, Moonspell toured across Europe, with a dozen solo concerts and 39 more with big named Death act Morbid Angel. It was at some point over this tour that guitarist Tanngrisnir was kicked out and replaced by a former element of Paranormal Waltz, Ricardo Amorim.
Meanwhile, Moonspell recorded their first video to support Irreligious for the track Opium. The video for Opium was shot in Lisbon, on the 15th of June at a coffee-house/library ambiance. The topic of the music video explored the effects of Opium as a literary inspiration (and not an explicit support to drug consumption), and includes traces of Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa.
1996's Irreligious featured punk rock ambient music instead of just traditional black metal elements. This direction would be more fully explored on their follow-up album of Sin/Pecado (1998; now featuring Sérgio Crestana on bass). Moonspell returned in 1999 with Butterfly Effect, Darkness and Hope (2001), Everything Invaded (2003) and The Antidote (2003).
It was Memorial in 2006, their first for 'SPV Steamhammer', that made them big by topping the Portuguese album chart on its first week and also breaking into the German Top 100 at number 68. It further achieved gold status in Portugal after selling 10,000 copies, making Moonspell the first Portuguese metal band of their style to do that.
The cumulative remake CD Under Satanae (2007) would follow, featuring both new and re-recorded tracks from past albums in an effort to re-launch the band on the new label 'SPV' featuring the membership change of Ahriman (Real Name: Aires Pereira on bass). 2007 also saw the release of The Great Silver Eye, a best-of album.
In July 2010 the Portuguese Postal Service would release "a collection of stamps that represent the most significant rock moments and records from Portugal," which included Moonspell's first album, Wolfheart.
In 2011 the act signed with 'Napalm Records' to release Alpha Noir the following year, and Extinct in 2015. 1755 (2017) and the EP I'll See You in My Dreams (2018) and live set Lisboa Under the Spell (2018) would follow.
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Moonspell Live in Klub Studio, Kraków, Poland 2007.
Photo by: Lilly M.
CC BY 2.5
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