Moonspell, "Darkness and Hope"
Another "back to their roots" album, and this one coming just in time for Portugal's Moonspell, as I'd completely given up on them after hearing random tracks from their last two albums. This isn't a total reversion to their goth/black metal roots, but more a step back to "Irreligious", while still retaining some of their new-found song stylings.
Fernando Ribeiro stills spends more time singing in his damned-annoying clean baritone than in his razor-sharp death-rasp, but his voice certainly hasn't faded a bit over the years. It's too bad that so much of the album is given up to shimmery-clean guitars over steady-eighth basslines and closed hi-hat rock beats, but I guess that there's some attraction to catchy melodies and verse-chorus-verse-chorus songwriting. The band has become quite adept at writing moody goth-rock, but they come on strongest when they let their metal roots show as they do in "Firewalker" and "Made of Storm".
If you've dug The Gathering recently and you've forgiven Amorphis for their sins, you'll probably love this. If not, you'll probably still like parts of it, but most of it will come off as pomp.