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Moonsorrow - Viides Luku - Hävitetty CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.21 | 86 ratings

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el böthy
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Ok, so you want epic, right? You want Moonsorrow!

Moonsorrow must be right now one, if not THE, most respected, critical aclaimed and probably succesful band in the Viking metal scene. Yes, the fisrt thing I thought too is "Viking metal? That can´t sound good!", well, I have to hand it to you, just as about anyhting in metal, the majority of bands in the genre actually quite... suck. But there are two or three bands that actually sound quite good and one that sounds like a mountain, and that´s Moonsorrow.

If you aren´t familiar with Moonsorrow and/or the Viking metal scene and want to get an idea of how it must sound... well, take Opeth´s long compositions, add the epicness of ...In the Woods, pour some Braveheard (yes, the movie) into the mix and you´ll have a pretty good idea of how it sounds. Ah, and put a lot of testosterone and stinking sweat... yes, Viking stinks! If there ever was a manly metal, this is it!

Now, of course this all sounds pretty stupid and not many progheads will find this interesting and (sadly?) it´s not that far away from the truth. Still, in Moonsorrow´s case, even though it all fits the description, it´s just a part of what they are, for, even if there is stinking sweat, the band, and specially in this case, sound extremly polished and refined. It is really surprising how they can pull off all that rawness and make it sound sophisticated. And, again, never have they achieved that better than in V: Hävitetty.

The album starts with Jäästä Syntynyt/ Varjojen Virta, a 30:10 min piece of metal music. From the soft and Pink Floyd inspired keys and arpegios guitars and the grandiloquent and slightly pompous choruses we are sumerged into the cold woods of Finland. This intro (Jäästä Syntynyt) lasts seven and a half minutes, but it´s impressive how this guys arrange to make time past bye so fast you actually get surprised the intro didn´t last 3 minutes, and that´s the secret of Moonsoroow in this album, they make time pass by as if it were air. Of course the song starts to get even better when the distorted guitars kick in, but it´s not until Ville Sorvali´s cry of war that the adrenaline pumps in and we are taken to the middle of the march of ferocious horses and their knights ready to kick some scandinavians butts. From this point on the song only get´s better and better, progresing, almost unnoticed, with riffs coming in and out, but never relying too much on repetitions, the key here is to march forward! Even though, as said before, the song just keeps getting better and better, nothing tops the monster guitar riff around the 12 th min. The first time it´s presented, for it will come up two more times, I literally get goosebumps every single time I hear it, it´s in my opinion one of metal´s best riffs ever, yet it´s quite simple, don´t expect much technicallity here, it´s simple, but ever so effective. The end (or near the end) melody, the climax sort to speak, around the 24th min is another highpoint, I don´t think we can go any more epic than that melody, really well crafted, and, again, the progression until this point in the song is remarkable, it really feels like the 24 min of music before were a way to get to this point, and not one second is wasted, a really perfect epic if there is such thing, I hold it just as high as Meshuggah´s I, which many times I have said is the best epic in metal ever... well, this is number two by a very, very slim margin.

The second, and last, song, Tuleen Ajettu Maa, although more varied and just as brutal and sophisticated at the same time, is not up par with Jäästä Syntynyt/ Varjojen Virta, but it´s by no means a weak track. Again we are presented with some excellent build ups, the progression of the song through out it´s 26:19 min feels natural as well, even though some parts might be too long, played (maybe) a few times too much, and some of the choruses might be a bit too pompous for their own sake, but more than that I have no reproach. Some parts of the song, specially Sorvali´s voice remainds me of some of Devin Townsend best moments, due also to the atmospheric feel the guitars have.

All in all this album is excellent, but as there are only two song, one of which is superb and one of which is just very good, I can´t give it 5 stars. If it would be possible I would rate it 4.5/5, but I can´t, and I think this time the rating must go to 4 more than to 5. Now, before I finish my review, I will let you in a little secret. You know what makes Moonsorrow, and specially this album, so good, whats the secret for their 30 min epics were every second is incredible? The rythmical section! The bass/drums work, it might not be virtuoso, they might not leave 4/4 for too long, but they work wonders, almost unnoticed, I have come to this conclusion very recently after having heard this album a 100 times already, and I think I´m on to something. Even Sorvali´s vocals, which are far more rythmical than melodic add up to make that progression and that going somewhere seem so natural and right. And if you lay on top some atmospheric distorted guitars and some sweat, you have the perfect metal band.

el böthy | 4/5 |


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