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Moonsorrow - Jumalten Aika CD (album) cover

JUMALTEN AIKA

Moonsorrow

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.88 | 50 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars MOONSORROW has carved out a unique niche in the extreme metal world having successfully positioned itself equidistantly smack dab in the middle between the world of black metal and the pagan Finnish folk music that is the source of their inspiration and philosophical outlook. On the black metal side from whence they sprung forth, they have kept many (if not all) of its aesthetics including the corpse paint visual effect, the intense distorted buzz saw wall of noise along with the other ubiquitous black metal elements such as blastbeats and raspy snarled vocals too buried beneath the din to discern all the while wrapped up in chaotic swirls of extreme Viking intensity. They have nurtured these attributes quite well over time never letting the incremental intrusions of the stronger folk elements or slicker production ever once distract from the overall goal of remaining firmly in the extreme shopping section of the greater metal universe. After a long five year wait for rabid fans foaming at the mouth awaiting a followup to 2011's "Varjoina Kulijemme Kuolleiden Maassa," they release their 7th full-length epic black folk metal JUMALTEN AIKA ("The Age Of Gods") and prove that their style seems to have no limits in how to expand into ever widening arenas without significantly changing the core of the band's sound.

One of the most surprising things about MOONSORROW is that it's never really a surprise as to what kind of album they will release. They dutifully check off every single element that defines their sound that began way back on "Voimasta Ja Kunniasta" and adamantly adhere to the formula set forth ever since. That usual formula has consisted of sprawling ten minute plus epic tracks that commence with slow atmospheric build ups that erupt into black metal fury wrapped around Finnish folk metal song structures and then draw out and eke every possible variation from every single cadence possible. In this aspect JUMALTEN AIKA is absolutely identical to previous albums where all these elements pretty much develop in identical fashion. The most surprising thing to me with JUMALTEN AIKA is exactly how gracefully MOONSORROW expands these set standards and create an album even more lush and brutal than its predecessors in a seemingly effortless and logical way. First of all, the song structures are stronger with deep earwormy hooks that sink in deep from the get go and the magical chemistry of the atmospheric keyboards, black metal guitar, bass and drum fury accompanied by the folk aspects that include violin, flute, accordion and mouth harp just play so very very well together.

One of the things that takes JUMALTEN AIKA into slightly more elevated territory is the supreme production aspects along with a more heightened sense of folk and symphonic elements including a larger roster of chorus vocal contributions in addition to the five permanent members of the band. While the black metal has been beaten into submission as to maintain the harsh brutality of that respective world, the folk and symphonic characteristics have been given more of a free rein in creating a more polished sound than before. If that wasn't enough MOONSORROW has certainly attained a state of maturity that allows them the luxury of knowing just how long to let a passage linger before it outstays its welcome as well as knowing when to let certain aspects drop out as to let others shine. I have to admit that i seldom have hope that MOONSORROW will find the gumption to keep their set sound fresh and relevant in the contemporary metal universe but i have to fully admit that with JUMALTEN AIKA they have surprised me and am in awe of their ability to take the slower burner approach of slightly upping their elements incrementally from one album to next by staying true to their core sound but expanding from within in totally logical arrangements.

MOONSORROW once again proves that they are masters of their unique amalgamation of Finnish folk and black metal. As they transcend from one stage of their existence to another, they remain firmly planted in their philosophical roots and only adding new elements to their sound where they are appropriate for inclusion. While as always, all lyrics are in their native Finnish language but the feel and instrumental prowess successfully dictates a story in the making regardless. While the album and first title track JUMALTEN AIKA ("The Age Of Gods") begins the journey, the final track "Ihmisen Aika (The Age of Humans)" shows the culmination of a musical pilgrimage that brings forth the pagan folk philosophies that the usurpation of human introduced technologies imposing their will upon long established "godly" traditions as evidenced in the natural world will bring about a dystopian existence. As with every MOONSORROW release, i'm very much impressed by their style of seamless fusion of folk and black metal and even in awe of their philosophies of sort but never quite finding myself wanting to bestow upon them the credit of creating a masterpiece of the ages. There is always something albeit imperceivibly identifiable missing in that regard but nevertheless this dilemma prevents me from doing so. But that doesn't mean i don't love listening to their music time and time again!

Personally i have the limited edition digibook that has an extra CD with two bonus cover tracks. While i would hardly recommend these covers by Grave and Rotting Christ to be worthy of shelling out the extra dough to get the upgraded version, i do have to say that the inclusion of the beautifully embroidered patch that depicts the album cover is totally awesome! BTW that extra CD is a mere 8 minutes and 28 seconds so it does seem a little gimmicky to include it. They could have at least included some live or unreleased material. So unless you REALLY want a patch, stick to the original five track version. Personally this album is a winner and a top 5 in the year of 2016 for yours truly :) Sorrow Finntroll and other weaklings of the underworld. This band has your asses beat big time!

4.5 stars but rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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