In Association with
Musicians | Biography | Discography | Links


Hailing from Brandoa, MOONSPELL are, without question, the band that put Portugal on the international Metal map. Guitarist Ricardo Amorim had previously been a member of Death Metal combo PARANORMAL WALTZ. Having been founded in the early 1980s as MORBID GOD and releasing the demo 'Serpent Angel' during 1992, the band pulled in former BACTHERION bassist Tetragrammaton. On January 24th 1993 MOONSPELL recorded the original version of the demo cassette 'Anno Satanæ', this session being then quickly re-distributed through Lion Records in February. That same year the group featured on the split album 'Mortuary Vol. 1' through Skeleton Records, sharing with BOWELROT, SILENT SCREAM, EXTREME UNCTION and THORMENTHOR. Both vocalist Langsuyar and guitarist Mantus acted as session members for the 1993 FILII NIGRANTIUM INFERNALIUM demo 'Os Metodos Do Pentagrama'.

Signing to the Molon Lave label, a 7" single saw issue entitled 'Wolves From The Fog' in 1994. Citing Satan as "source of inspiration", the single sleeve quoted the band membership as comprising Langsuyar T.R. (Fernando Ribeiro) on lead vocals, Mantus H.G.D. on lead guitar, Malah L.L. ( Luis Lamelas) on rhythm guitar, Tetragrammaton T.M. (a.k.a. João Pedro) on bass with Nisroch O.F. ( Miguel Gaspar) on the drums.

French concern Adipocere Records also published the EP 'Under the Moonspell'. Taking on ever grandiose personas, the band members were listed for these sessions as Langsuyar Tenebrarum Rex "Dramatic, erudit vox and passioned metaphors", Mantus Iberius Daemonium "Six string occult citar", Tanngrisnir Imperator Ignis "Six string celtic harp", Tetragrammaton Tremendae Majestatis "Four string arabid 'ud", Neophytus Lupus Maris "Ethnic and tragic ambience keys" and Nisroth de Occulta Fraternitatis "Traditional, classical and vile percussions". Produced by Quim Monte at Edit Studios over the winter of 1993, these tracks also incorporated musical embellishments from Sara Carreiras on Bisel flute, Nuno Flores on violin, timpani and gongs courtesy of the Sociedade Filarmónica Comércio e Indústria da Amadora plus additional vocalists in Antonieta Lopes, Sara Arega, "moans" on 'Opus Diabolicum' and Arabic vocals from Abdul Sewtea.

Having made themselves almost instantly the frontrunners in the Portuguese Metal scene MOONSPELL were quick to accept an offer from major German independent label Century Media. The resulting April 1995 album, 'Wolfheart', produced by GRIP INC. guitarist Waldemar Sorychta, garnered much favourable press. Subsequent digipack variants of 'Wolfheart' hosted an additional track, 'Atægina'.

MOONSPELL toured Europe as support act to TIAMAT and MORBID ANGEL in 1995 before returning to studio work in order to cook up the second album, 'Irreligious' released in July 1996. Female vocals would be contributed by Brigit Zacher on the song 'Raven Claws' whilst Markus Freiwald scored a percussion credit on 'For a Taste Of Eternity'. Promoting the 'Irreligious' opus, MOONSPELL conducted two European tours as their stature grew rapidly from a guest slot with SAMAEL to a much higher profile jaunt with TYPE O NEGATIVE.

1997 would witness the '2econd Skin Live' double EP release, the first including a Waldemar Sorychta produced cover rendition of DEPECHE MODE's 'Sacred' whilst the second disc comprised seven live tracks recorded on the 'Perverse almost religious' tour of 1997. The group hit back in 1998 with the brand new studio effort 'Sin-Pecado'. The album displayed a far more adventurous than previous efforts and the band's move away from Metal forced bassist João Pedro to depart. MOONSPELL persevered putting in shows during 1997 supporting heavyweights such as KISS and MANOWAR. João Pedro meantime created DEEPSKIN for the 'Judas' album. UK gigs in September 1998 saw the band packaged with ANATHEMA and THERION.

MOONSPELL toured Germany in early 2000 supported by veterans KREATOR and KATATONIA. Their 2001 album 'Darkness And Hope' scored a number 79 placing on the German album charts. Bravely the band took on a cover version of the OZZY OSBOURNE classic 'Mr. Crowley'. The band began a headline North American tour, supported by Italian act LACUNA COIL, on December 5th at the Trocadero venue Philadelphia. MOONSPELL would be back on a further major European string of dates in March 2002, co-billed with label mates TIAMAT and FLOWING TEARS.

The band recorded a version Jazz standard 'I'll See You In My Dreams' in early 2003 for inclusion on the soundtrack of a Portuguese Horror movie. In March MOONSPELL severed ties with bass player Sérgio Crestana, drafting Niclas Etelävuori of premier act Finnish acts KYYRIA and AMORPHIS for session recording of a new studio album 'Antidote' in Helsinki with producer Hiili Hiilesmaa. MALEVOLENCE and IRA man Aires Pereira ('Ahriman') adopted the bass position in June. 'Antidote' would mark a first for MOONSPELL as it was learned that the band was collaborating with novelist José Luis Peixoto to author a book based upon the album. An English translation of this work would be included on the record as a bonus multimedia track. The single 'Everything Invaded' would enter the Portuguese charts at number 9. Initial North American touring found MOONSPELL packaged with TYPE O NEGATIVE and CRADLE OF FILTH for shows in November then European co-headline gigs in December saw the band topping a bill comprising LACUNA COIL, PASSENGER and POISONBLACK. The band got back on the road in the New Year supporting OPETH on their 'Lamentations Over America Tour 2004' commencing in Redmonton, Canada on January 20th.

The band entered the studio in April to commence work on a new album, after which MOONSPELL set aside mid May to conduct South American dates in Chile, Mexico and Brazil. In recognition of their services to their homeland the band would stop off on this trek for a formal reception at the Portugal Embassy in Santiago. Fernando Ribeiro also made time to guest on tracks for two fellow Portuguese acts, featuring on the THRAGEDIUM 'Isolationist' album and on the track 'Devil's Lover' included on THE TEMPLE's 'Diesel Dog Sound' album.

MOONSPELL let it be known in September that they had been demoing new material. Fernando Ribeiro also issued his second collection of poems 'As Feridas Essenciais' ('The Essential Wounds)' and translated into Portuguese a fictional biography of HP Lovecraft written by Hans Rodionoff. The singer would also cut a guest appearance on VOLSTAD's version of THE CURE's 'Apart' for inclusion on a tribute album issued through Germany's Equinox Records.

Back on the MOONSPELL front it was revealed a DVD, entitled 'Lunar Still' and centred on a live concert in Katowice, Poland, was scheduled for early 2005 issue. The group would also be commissioned by choreographer Rui Lopes Graça to compose an original score for a contemporary dance performance, premiering in January 2005 at the Gulbenkian main auditorium in Lisbon. MOONSPELL would act as special guests to CRADLE OF FILTH, with support band THE HAUNTED, for an extensive European 2005 tour commencing February through to April.

Working with producer Waldemar Sorychta once again, MOONSPELL entered Woodhouse Studios in Germany during September to cut tracks for a new album 'Memorial'. In November the group announced they had signed a new contract with SPV Records. In downtime, Fernando Ribeiro guested on the track 'Silent Cries' included on ASSEMBLENT's 'Equilibrium' album.

2006 live activity for the band saw Russian shows, in Moscow and St. Petersburg, during March. The band's homeland status was affirmed in early May when the 'Memorial' album debuted at number 1 on the national Portuguese charts. Further live work include a gig in Casablanca, Morocco in June and festival appearances at the Belgian 'Graspop Metal Meeting' and the Abtsgmünd 'Summer Breeze' event in Germany.

Finnish and Baltic States concerts in September saw EMBRAZE acting as openers. MOONSPELL, KATATONIA and DAYLIGHT DIES teamed up for a North American tour commencing in October. Shows across Europe for March and April 2007 aligned the band with NAPALM DEATH, BEHEMOTH, DARKSIDE and DEW-SCENTED.

The 'Night Eternal' album was released in Europe on 19th May and in the U.S.A. on 10th June via SPV/Steamhammer. The record was recorded at Antfarm studios in Denmark with producer Tue Madsen. A limited double digipack was issued with different artwork, one bonus track in 'Age Of Mothers', a different version of the song 'Scorpion Flower', as well as a bonus DVD containing all video clips from the previous record 'Memorial' plus 'Finisterra' "making-of" footage and three live clips from 2007's performance at the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany.

MOONSPELL's next move was, unusually, to pay homage to their blackened past. An unwavering interest in their pre-Gothic material prompted the band to re-record demo tracks from the early 90s, including MORBID GOD's 'Serpent Angel', as the 'Under Satanae' set. Completely re-recorded, excepting the original 'Chorai Lusitânia! (Epilogus/Incantatam Maresia)', this album was produced by Tue Madsen at Antfarm Studios and released in October 2007.

Former THE GATHERING and current AGUA DE ANNIQUE vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen marked a guest appearance on the song 'Scorpion Flower', singing a duet with frontman Fernando Ribeiro. Other female choirs were performed by the Crystal Mountain Singers, composed of Carmen Simões of AVA INFERI, Sophia Vieira from CINEMUERTE and Patrícia Andrade, ex-VOLSTAD and also a member of THE VANITY CHAIR. Once again, Niclas Etelävuori of played bass on the album. A set of promotional videos for the track 'Scorpion Flower' and 'Night Eternal' were shot by director Ivan Colic in Belgrade, Serbia.

MOONSPELL released the DVD 'Lusitanian Metal' in December 2008 in Europe via Century Media Records as a "luxurious limited-edition kingsize mediabook". The first disc featured one complete live show, recorded live in Katowice, Poland in 2004, all the band's promotional video clips from 'Opium' to 'Everything Invaded', an in-depth interview with all band members and a detailed discography. The second disc offered a historical overview of the group's period as a Century Media recording artist, with no less than 50 live tracks, starting with some archive live rehearsal recordings dating from 1992 and closing with live footage from the 'Spreading The Eclipse' tour.

The band's May 2008 album, 'Night Eternal' recorded at Antfarm studios in Denmark with producer Tue Madsen, entered the national chart in Portugal at no. 3 and in Germany at no. 62.

Anneke van Giersbergen joined MOONSPELL on stage at the Fortarock festival on 11th July 2009 in Nijmegen, Holland to perform the song 'Scorpion Flower'.

Commencing 14th October 2009 in Tampa, Florida, MOONSPELL teamed up with Switzerland's SAMAEL, BOOK OF BLACK EARTH and SECRETS OF THE MOON for the 'Night Eternal Above America' tour.

Copyright Musicdetector Websites 2009