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Moonsorrow - Verisäkeet CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.90 | 71 ratings

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5 stars Moonsorrow is essentially a Folk Metal band, but while aiming for an epic sound they morphed into a Progressive Metal band...with strong folk elements. Verisäkeet is not their most progressive album. However, it is something of a fan favourite. For the more progressive I would recommend V: Hävittety and for the slightly less progressive but lighter sound I would recommend Kivenkantaja. Verisäkeet is very, very dark. If this appeals to you, please, read on!

As stated before, they are influenced by Metal and Progressive music. However, their music doesn't seem to be written to show off so much as to achieve a certain sound. This album in particular is closer to Black Metal, with the occasional unmistakable Burzum sound being integrated into the many layers. This album makes use of some very interesting folk instruments, including some of the instruments commonly used in Folk Metal, like fiddles and tin whistles. A couple of typically Finnish instruments are played on this record - the jouhikko and kantele. All of these instruments contribute to the massive sound with hidden complexities that allow the listener to hear something new every time.

The instruments themselves allow Moonsorrow to have a rather unique sound, but I feel the compositional style is also very distinctive. They make use of riffs that sometimes sound like those of typical metal bands, but each section of music morphs seamlessly into the next. Even the tracks themselves morph into the next, making the album truly feel like a journey. Clean vocals, choral vocals, and screams are all used. Unlike many bands, these screams make sense within the music and are not often too prominent. All the vocal styles work well and contribute to the overall feel in such a way that even someone who is not a fan of metal vocals can appreciate it. All the lyrics on this album are in Finnish, and I believe this is true of all their work apart from some of the Tulimyrsky EP. The beauty of the language lends itself to the music, which generally evokes images of dark Finnish landscapes. The words need not be understood for the listener to understand the music.

Repetition is definitely used, but not in a tiresome way. Sections morph before getting tiresome and appear again at suitable intervals, sometimes with variations. The mix hides many complexities, not all of which are entirely musical. Birdsong, wind, and battle sounds are all used in the mix, slightly predictably, but work fairly well by adding to the already bleak atmosphere. As the tracks fade out there is often a lot still going on and not necessarily in a repeat till fade way. In fact, new musical ideas are often subtly brought in very near the end.

The highlight of the album for me is Pimeä. Ville Sorvali's vocal performance is fantastic. I feel it is even more heart-felt and mournful than on any of the other tracks. There are clean vocals for what could be the chorus. The harmonies rise above the guitar's distortion beautifully. This choral style is used at various points throughout the album using primitive, yet effective harmonies. The guitar solo on Pimeä is also nicely understated and allows the music to flow on without disturbance.

The album then gets a little gentler and the Folk influence becomes more prominent. Jotunheim is a wistful and desolate track which ends on a more triumphant note, quite like the music on the previous album, Kivenkantaja. The last track is acoustic and comparatively simple, yet a necessary end to the album.

I give this album 4 stars because it isn't truly essential, but extremely enjoyable. I recommend this to anyone open to Extreme Progressive Metal. Be warned though; the progressive side of it is not incredibly strong.

2016 EDIT: I would like to go back to my review 8 years later. I was 17 when I wrote this review in 2008 and I now do not agree with everything I said in light of my own maturity and a better understanding of the album. Moonsorrow have also released more (fantasic) material since my review. I have changed my rating to 5 stars. This is because I feel this album still holds up. It does not feel at all dated and I still listen to it regularly with the same awe as I ever did. This is not something I can say about many albums. In light of further releases it is also clear how important a turning point this was in Moonsorrow's discography. I have come to appreciate the structure of the album as a whole better than I did and now believe it to be a fine example of progressive music in the context of extreme metal. Highly recommended.

popeyethecat | 5/5 |


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