Moonspell, Eleine, Oceans of Slumber @ The Brooklyn Monarch
Between the endless sea of low hanging clouds and the misty rain falling from them, it was a Saturday where good company would be most certainly welcome. In one of the southernmost areas of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the sound of music could be heard coming from a number of warehouse-turned-venues, ranging from reggae and dancehall, to jazz, to dance and Top 40 Pop.
Yet, a line of black clad individuals huddled beneath dark umbrellas waited outside of the Brooklyn Monarch for a rather different gathering. Arriving on perhaps the most perfect of nights to celebrate three decades of gloomy and gothic might, the Monarch was host to Moonspell, alongside special guests Eleine and Oceans of Slumber, for the first date of the American Full Moon tour.
Referring to themselves as 'storytellers' first and foremost, Oceans of Slumber started the night off with a unique style of progressive, ambient metal. As the rain fell heavier overhead, it was the power of vocalist Cammie Gilbert that made the room shake most than any rumble of thunder.
While Texas might be their home, their performance was no doubt greatly appreciated by the many faces in the crowd who make up Brooklyn's artistic scene. Painters, poets, musicians, actors, no matter the craft, all had the same fascinated look in their eyes throughout the set.
Musically akin to The Gathering and the later works of Katatonia and Anathema, the circle of influences clearly extends beyond atmospheric metal and into the gothic doom sub-genre. Case in point, a incredible performance of "Wolf Moon" originally made famous by the legendary Type O Negative.
As perhaps one of the most sacred bands in the New York metal community, especially Brooklyn, there are few higher honors than to hear "Peter (Steele, the late ToN vocalist/bassist) would have loved this version" said among the crowd after the set.
If one thing was made clear with the opening notes of "Enemies" it was that anyone who arrived not having heard of Eleine would never be able to forget them. Despite having formed nearly ten years ago, this was the Swedish quintet's first North American performance.
Yet, while fans had long waited for this day, they have also had plenty of time to memorize the lyrics to "As I Breathe" and "Ava of Death". With perfectly timed windmill headbanging and jaw dropping stage presence, a larger venue is certainly warranted for Eleine's next U.S. appearance.
A proud member of the symphonic metal sub-genre, along with bands such as Sirenia, Epica, and Xandria, vocalist Madeleine "Eleine" Liljestam wields incredible force of both soothing melodies and furious passion in each note. Like a tremendous wall of water, and behind it, an intense fire.
Yet, as Liljestam made clear, Eleine is very much a crowd driven band. Not shying from some banter in between songs, she, along with guitarist/vocalist Rikard Ekberg, commanded the crowd to join in for song and dance for "All Shall Burn" and closing song "Death Incarnate", to which the audience gladly obliged.
Set to release their fourth album, We Shall Remain, in mid-July, fans were treated to the sound of things to come with "We Are Legion". As just one of ten incredible tracks that will appear on the new release, the New York metal scene now eagerly awaits Eleine's return.
With thirty years and thirteen albums to their name, Moonspell needed no introduction to the full house of anxious fans. Kicking off with "The Greater Good", the Monarch's dancefloor became a sea of headbanging to the beat of "Extinct" and "Finisterra".
Calling forth those that share their native tongue of Portuguese, voices from the crowd joined frontman Fernando Ribeiro for "Em nome do medo" and "Todos os santos". With the former originally appearing on 2012's Alpha Noir, the latter can be found on 2017's 1755, an album performed almost entirely in Portuguese and lyrically based on the Great Lisbon earthquake, which occurred that year.
As one of the biggest names in the Gothic metal sub-genre, Moonspell's earliest works had much in common with their contemporaries, such as Rotting Christ, Samael, and Paradise Lost. Fan favorites "Full Moon Madness" and "Alma Mater" continue to serve as reminders of the early years even decades after their release.
Still, while the aforementioned bands headed in different directions over time, Moonspell continues to fly the flag high for their genre while perfecting the formula with every release. Originally scheduled to appear in the U.S. and Canada last year with Swallow the Sun and Witherfall before having to reschedule to this Spring, there is no doubt that New York hopes for a swift return.
Press and photo pass courtesy of Earsplit PR & Earsplit Compound