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Moonsorrow - Kivenkantaja  CD (album) cover

KIVENKANTAJA

Moonsorrow

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.31 | 43 ratings

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EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 9/10

"Kivenkataja", for it's beautiful profoundness, should be considered a landmark Metal album of the new millennium.

Moonsorrow are one of the greatest Metal bands of the new millennium and have proved to be so with several albums, one of them is the masterpiece "Kivenkataja", the third album, and the first album that is part of a trilogy of excellent works (the second one would be 2005's "Verisakeet" and the final chapter 2007's "V: Havitetty".) This 2003 release proves how Moonsorrow in two years have shown a great difference in songwriting skills, structuring songs and arranging them: "Kivenkataja" indeed is a 100% Moonsorrow album that shows all of the band's essential and best characteristics.

On one side, the style isn't different: we're talking about the usual, Pagan Black Metal/ Folk Metal influence here. But it's so much more complex, profound and epic than the previous two releases, (beating even the wonderful "Voimasta Ja Kunniasta") due to it's superior instrumentation, more progressive influences, and overall perfected songwriting skills. All this together makes up something more than just great album: "Kivenkataja" rightfully should be considered a landmark Metal LP of it's era, because of it's uniqueness, richness, and especially, it's haunting and evocative nature. Sure, Folkish instruments like the Jew Harp, accordion, flutes and many others were present in previous albums, however here, they have a major, essential role, and dominate completely some of the passages here, creating a well balanced equilibrium between the lush Folk moments and Black Metal influenced ones, which still have melodies driven by traditional Scandinavian canons. The Lyrics, being this Pagan Metal, although having pretty much the same themes as the first two albums, this time around are proposed and written in a much more poetic and vivid way: instead of focusing on battles and warriors, there is more detailed descriptions of nature, like in the opening track "Rauniolla". The tone is more the one of a lonely, forgotten bard of the North, instead perhaps of a drunk one from a noble palace telling hackneyed stories of warriors and battles fought. It basically feels more of a realistic point of view.

The album starts off with the thirteen minute epic "Rauniolla", quite possibly the best thing Moonsorrow has ever created: the melodies are, instead of being triumphant and full of testosterone, melancholic, a little resigned, solemn. Structured almost as a mini-suite, it features extremely diverse moments, from heavy riffs to beautifully evocative Folkloric ones. "Jumalten Kaupunki", the second track, is heavier, with less atmospheric moments, and with a more triumphant tone, however still maintaining an impressive level of complexity and depth. The following track is yet another sort of mini, ten minute suite, using however completely different formulas from the ones used in the previous two tracks, giving the structure of the overall album a great flow so far. The title track is more of a traditional Folk Metal track, more ballzy and in-your-face, but it also shows explicit Prog Metal influences especially in the frequent rhythm changes; "Tuulen Tytar" is a mostly instrumental piece, half calm, half distorted and loud. It certainly is the odd one out of these six tracks, and gives yet again another touch of variety in the sound. The album closes with the short but gorgeously crafted "Maktan Lopussa", a sad, beautiful, and very surprising song on behalf of Moonsorrow.

"Kivenkataja" has an amazing set of songs that together make one, solid and consistent album, despite the great amount of changes that distinguish one song from the other. One of the culminating peaks of Folk Metal music, a perfect model for all of the bands that are minimally interested in the genre.

EatThatPhonebook | 5/5 |

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