Portuguese metallers MOONSPELL have set "1755" as the title of their Portuguese-language album about the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, also known as the Great Lisbon earthquake, which occurred in the Kingdom of Portugal. In combination with subsequent fires and a tsunami, the earthquake almost totally destroyed Lisbon and adjoining areas. The band is currently in pre-production with John Phipps at its home studios (Inferno) in Portugal and has recently posted online some pictures of videos of their daily work.
What was supposed to be just a four-song bonus for the "Lisboa Under The Spell" DVD and Blu-ray (recorded last February in Lisbon with four thousand wild fans attending, to be released in 2018) evolved into a full-length album that will be produced by Tue Madsen (of Denmark's Antfarm Studios) who worked with the band in a few previous releases ("Under Satanae", "Night Eternal", "Alpha Noir"/"Omega White").
MOONSPELL vocalist Fernando Ribeiro said: "We fell in love with the concept and made perfect sense to sing it in our national language, Portuguese. I guess we were just waiting for the right opportunity to work on such an album. Musically, it will be heavier than 'Extinct'. It will be earthshaking but also very detailed with orchestrations and percussion as we want people to relive the Lisbon of the 18th century. Singing it in Portuguese allowed me to find a different expression as a vocalist and my job is to be the survivor of the earthquake, roaming the ruins and telling you all about it."
In a 2016 interview with Spark TV, Ribeiro stated about the new MOONSPELL album concept: "I always was very fascinated about the apocalypse, the end of things, and we had this experience in the 18th Century, in 1755, and it really affected not only by the destruction and the death toll — it was very high, and it was probably one of the biggest earthquakes ever to occur on European soil — but it also influenced the way people looked at Gods, at religion, the way Europe changed. And it was tragic and traumatic, but the earthquake was the birth of a more modern Portugal, a Portugal that actually would enjoy a period of prosperity after, and the Portugal that was, before the earthquake, just going down and lost in vice and corruption and greed. So I think it makes for an interesting subject, and it makes it even more interesting if I do it in Portuguese, because it happened there."
Regarding the musical direction of the material that will appear on the new MOONSPELL LP, Fernando said: "It's not that gothic, I have to say. I think it's a more metal album. As the subject is an earthquake, it's definitely a little bit more brutal. But it still has the touch of MOONSPELL and it also has a more symphonic touch here and there. I'm not even really singing with my melodic vocals, just screaming."
Asked whether MOONSPELL would once again incorporate some of the oriental music elements — like they did on "Extinct" — on the upcoming LP, Fernando said: "I think it's a big influence in our music. And also, the idea behind this EP is to capture a certain feeling and a certain spirit of that time — people in the streets of Lisbon and people living their lives. And Lisbon, at the time, was a big metropolis, and it was populated by a lot of people — from Muslim people to people from Africa, new people from Brazil, Portuguese people, English people, French people… a lot of people, because Lisbon was the epicenter of many of the maritime dealing and commerce. So we are using these oriental things, because that was the stuff that people listened to in the streets as well, and that's important. We will not work with the same people as on 'Extinct', 'cause 'Extinct' is a full-on album, so we had more money to invest, etc. It's an EP, so it's lower budget, more modest production. But sometimes you just use your imagination. So I think that part, it's totally covered and it's going to be a bit different from 'Extinct', but it will have these feelings, definitely, on these new songs, because it's the feeling of the Portugal at the time as well."
"Extinct" was released in March 2015 via Napalm. The CD was completed at Fascination Street Studio in Örebro, Sweden with producer Jens Bogren, who has previously worked with KATATONIA, AMON AMARTH, OPETH and PARADISE LOST, among others.