MOONSPELL, The Antidote (2003, Century Media)

The skull:
While we prefer our skulls front and center, this skull art is dull enough to warrant inclusion. There’s not a whole lot to look at: a photograph of a skull, half hidden and crammed into the left side of the frame, with some gray fog or smoke in the background. And, although it’s hard to see, there seems to be something resembling thick rope to the left of the skull’s jaw. Perhaps this is the rope that the hangman makes his noose with?

The music:
Never got much into Moonspell, but they’re good at what they do (epic gothic/doom metal?) and their longevity has to be respected. The vocalist sounds uncannily close to what a mixture of clean Mikael Akerfeldt and David Sylvian would sound like. Good use of space in the title track, a world-building, atmosphere-generating sort of song. The first half of “Lunar Still” is a chilling, minimal soundscape, and then pounding doom crashes the gate. The sorta hilariously titled “As We Eternally Sleep on It” (sleep on what?) closes the album in epic style, although by the end Fernando Ribeiro’s vocals feel like a put-on (and his accent, which you can’t fault him for, gets annoying). Still, The Antidote gave this Friar an appreciation for Moonspell that wasn’t there before. Well done mood metal, although the album cover “concept” is hardly representative of the ornate, exotic music inside.
— Friar Wagner