Date: March 29th, 2016
Venue: The Button Factory, Dublin
Line-up: Moonspell + SoulLine
Much like Finnish legends Amorphis just a matter of days beforehand in the very same venue, Portugal’s dark metal purveyors Moonspell play their first show in Ireland in the illustrious 23 year long career. Joining them on this mini-tour of Europe, the UK and Ireland are Swiss self-described “epic melodic death metal” group SoulLine.
SoulLine‘s set started off decent enough, the guitars had a nice warm tone playing catchy melodies. However, it all became rather boring very quickly when every song seemed to boil down to the same chugging and harmonious choruses. The vocals did little to stir any interest either, remaining stale and monotone. The guys did have good energy and really looked to be enjoying their performance but unfortunately it didn’t leave me with a lasting impression.
Moonspell’s descent onto the stage was like watching a scene from a horror movie. The Seth Spiron artwork set the scene with it creepy deformed humans, the band then came out to the stage, each of them dressed in various pieces of leather and gothic apparel including keyboardist Pedro Paixão sporting a top hat alongside vocalist Fernando Ribeiro and his long leather coat.
They opened up with a pair of heavy hitters from their latest album Extinct, its title track and ‘Breathe (Until We Are No More)’. The crowd were more than willing to show their appreciation, setting a strong mood for the night to come. Not ones to forget their older material, they quickly dove back to 1996’s Irreligious for their darker and more atmospheric material with ‘Opium’ and ‘Awake’.
Fernando Ribeiro was a formidable frontman, his presence captured the audience and he had them firmly in his grip throughout their performance. When he screamed they responded with screams of their own, and when he wanted claps/cheers they delivered and then some. Even when he announced their “last song” before the encore, he was actively encouraging disappointment and groans. His vocal performance was top notch, really giving it his all and going red in the face to do so.
As this was their first show in Ireland Fernando said he wanted to make it a little special and mix things up from their normal setlist. They decided to throw a couple of older tracks into the set, firstly ‘…Of Dream and Drama (Midnight Ride)’ had him pushing his clean vocals to soaring heights, and we were also treated to another Irreligious track with ‘Ruin & Misery’.
Diving right back to where it all began, Fernando briefly left the stage only to return with a vampire-esque cape for the appropriately titled ‘Vampiria’. ‘Ataegina’ was announced to be Irish-influenced as it had introduced them to using pipes. Keeping up the enthusiasm after the folky sing along, ‘Alma Mater’ was another explosive hit.
Going out in style, Ricardo Amorim’s epic guitar solo in ‘The Future Is Dark’ was amplified by the fake snow which suddenly began pouring out on top of him. Closing the show with ‘Full Moon Madness’, Fernando ensured he got the best wolf howl out of the ecstatic crowd. After a few final hugs and handshakes with the front row, Moonspell left their stage from their first ever Irish show and what a show it was!