Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Why The Long Face ...

Well here I am with the last posting for Moonsorrow and what better way than with bookend albums. Their first and latest. A better way I suppose would have been in the album order from start to finish, but if you all remember I did not receive my copy of "Suden Uni" until midway through my reviews, but alas let's move on.

Moonsorrow right from their debut album new what they were aiming for and did so ,damn near spot on their first try. "Suden Uni" is a sprawling viking/folk metal album. The difference here is the strong influences present in the music. These influences are knitted together by what I can only describe as Moonsorrow's signature grandiose majesty of viking metal.

The album opens with "Ukkosenjumalan Poika" which is a Thyrfing influenced viking metal song. It is majestic and displays the strong song-craftsmanship of these Finn's and ends with a blistering black metal tinged outing reminiscent (I gather) of their demo days. "Kuin Ikuinen" and "Tuulen Koti, Aaltojen Koti" both have strong epic viking metal sounds with black metal and folk elements that would become more prominent in later releases. The keys are bold in their orchestral hugeness, but subtly enhance the guitars grandness.

"Koylionjarvin Jaalla (Pakanavedet II)" and "Pakanajuhla" are Einherjer style viking metal songs with strong Finntroll style folk elements using mouth harps and accordion melodies, a very cool mix. Don't fear though the majestic viking sound is ever present on these tracks and are used to foundation the songs.

It's hard for me to pick a favourite, but I'd have to say the opener is up there. That said, however, the epic "1065: Aika" is essentially a teaser of the grounds these guys will be carving for majestic viking metal. My copy of "Suden Uni" is the re-release with a bonus track "Tulkaapa Aijat" (Drinking music!) and this is a traditional sounding folk song with acoustic guitars and a drunken mass of choir vocals and gruff black metally screeching. A fine, fun tune.

"Suden Uni" to me was Moonsorrow's ~hey? I think we got something here~ albums. It's not their best work, but I'll be damned if I'll call it bad. It is a fine strong start to what would lead (4 albums later) to the epic metal opus that is "V: Havitetty".

"V: Havitetty" (translates as Chapter V: Ravaged) is Moonsorrow's fifth outing and they have released the finest epic metal album I've heard. I stumbled across this album, not even aware they had a new release out and bought it without thought. Curiously , however, the back only listed the album duration "56:29". This peeked my curiosity and when I played this gem, I was blown away at the grand scale of it. 2 songs my friends. I am not unfamiliar with epic metal. Manowar's "Achilles Agony & Ecstasy in 8 parts" was my record holder at 28+ minutes, but it sounds like eight parts put together. It kept the title because it was 1 track. Dream Theater released their 45 min opus "Six Degrees Of Separation" but it was divided into separate songs and therefore disqualified. Now I can place Moonsorrow into this position of most epic song. Feel free to let me know of any other epic metal song comparible, I'm curious.

To describe these songs as I normally would (chunky, crunchy, melodic) is unthinkable. To diminish the songs to such minimalist banter is insulting. I'll shall do my best to convey what the album does. "Jaasta Syntynyt/Varjogen Virta" is a 30 + min epic that loors the listener in with hypnotic acoustic gutar and ambient nature sounds. The song builds into a bleak atmospheric black metal influenced song. The sorrowness is powerful and moving and the vocals are sickeningly passionate. The keyboards are more subtle and the folk elements are blended in nicely.

This is no longer just viking/folk metal. No, they've mixed all those elements along with heavy black metal stylings into some of the most passionate music I've heard. Not since "Kivenkantaja" has the use of upliftingly bleak elements been used so wonderfully. A very moving song that come 30 minutes later your sad it's over. But don't fret cause there is still one more song.

"Tuleen Ajettu Maa" the radio single clocking in at just 26+ minutes is a far heavier and darker song, but no less majestic and passionate. Beginning with simple drum and traditional chant-like vocals the song blasts into some of the heaviest riffs Moonsorrow have ever laid down and stronger folk elements. The song is more aggressive and the mix of keys and choral vocals comes close to gothic. The shrieking vocals towards the end of the song are heart wrenching. This is more than just a song, it's their soul on display.

The percussion on this album is not drumwork, this is the bringing of war! It is thunderous and pummelling and frankly, just damned huge! Absolutely brilliant performance.

"V: Havitetty" is not an album you can just throw on while cleaning, this is an album that must be savoured, like an aged wine. There are subtleties and nuances that you discover with each listen, and each listen conjures unique images and emotions. There is so much emotion here that, like the devil who went to Georgia to bet a soul against his fiddle of gold, would make any emo band lay down their instruments in defeat.

Up next, I'll take you through the dark, mythical forests of Transylvania with the band NeguraBunget. And then we'll delve into the bleak mystical woods of Windsor ...Ontario ... if you are familiar with Windsor, Ontario, you'll understand just how silly that sounds... with the band Woods Of Ypres.


Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I loved this Moonsorrow disc

7:56 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home