GOTH METAL MASTERPIECE: Music can, at times, transcend language and culture. You don’t need to speak Portuguese to realize Moonspell has crafted its signature opus with the band’s latest record, 1755. The concept record chronicles the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755. The quake, compounded by the subsequent tsunami and fire, claimed as many as 100,000 lives and is regarded as one of the most catastrophic events in human history. Naturally, these Lisbon natives opted to craft this personal piece of work completely in Portuguese, and there’s a certain emotional justification here that deserves a tip of the hat. From the onset, longtime Moonspell fans or carnivore of any and all gothic work will be aware that they’re listening to something highly profound. Frontman Fernando Riberio’s voice aches with an almost haunting pain throughout, and no more is this true than on the opening track “Em Nome do Medo.” The epic and frenzied “In Tremor Dei” ramps up the intensity, with the dark and somber “Evento” a ominous prelude of things to come. It’s dark, impactful, relentlessly heavy, and poetic. The sorcerers of goth metal have crafted yet another intoxicating brew with 1755, one that should be savored by all metal fans. You’ll find few better albums this side of the decade. ~ Dillon Collins