Released: 2002, Spikefarm Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Well, sometimes you´ve run yourself into a state when words are just escaping from you all the time when you´re ´bout to reach the right words in order to place your thoughts onto a piece of paper for expressing the hell out of yourself and giving people exactly such an impression of how you truly feel towards some certain things; like f.ex. towards these EPIC (somehow some inner-demon in myself told me to put all the letters with a bold fond... - strange, isn´t it?!) heathen metallers better known with the Moonsorrow -moniker, tho.
And this Moonsorrow, consisting of 5 rather young stylish warriors - Ville Seponpoika Sorvali (bass, vocals & handclaps), Henri Urponpoika Sorvali (rhythm & acoustic guitars, keyboards, accordion, mouth harp, backing vocals, handclaps), Mitja Harvilahti (lead & rthythm guitars, hadclaps), Baron Tarwonen (thunder percussion, timpani, 12-string, backing vocals and handclaps) and Lord Eurén (live keyboards) have made an album which, to be sincerely honest with all of you, bricks up, metaphorically expressing it - the biggest, the boldest and the firmest cornerstone on the foundation of ALL so-called "Viking Metal" releases since some of the Bathory´s past thematic outstanding works ( read! = BLOOD FIRE DEATH, HAMMERHEART and the likes...), kissing and caressing the mighty, ancient spirits of Valhalla and vikings in genaral. The moonsorrowers have managed to do everything on OF STRENGHT... with such a convincing and professional way that you start to wonder whether these guys are still living in their own Viking Age somewhere - and in a whole different century. Nonetheless, the guys have stayed extremely loyal to the whole concept ´bout vikings and their great battles and victories - not to mention Ville Sorvali´s unbeliveably well-written lyrics that are really rhyming amazingly well with their strongly folk -orientated ´Epic Heathen Metal´as they themselves describe their music on the album. I guess I also need to point out that everything on OF STRENGHT... has been sung by our native language, Finnish, but worry not as translations from Finnish have been made to English as well for some obvious reasons.
The 6 E-P-I-C (yep, I remember now...) tunes of strenght and honour whose English translations are: "Serene (an instrumentally-played intro)", "Warrior´s Grave", "A Village Away", "Field of the Devil" inc. "The Silent Waters of Infamy (instrumental)", "The Sun and The Moon" and last but not least, "Warrior´s Tale (THE BEST EPIC SONG WRITTEN EVER... FUCK!!! Believe me!!)", are all blessed by an amazingly powerful musicianship and talent that it´s almost too much for such a mortal toddler like myself to believe how one is capable of creating THIS monumental and all-wrecking songs and carrying THIS MUCH conviction out just for one album?! In some point, it all goes beyond my own belief and understanding - not matter how hard I´d try to concentrate on understanding every single bit of it all. The whole album reeks of an unbelieveable brilliance and an extreme beauty and boldness on everything that it offers politely to its listeners - and goddammit, so much more if an utterly E-P-I-C (HA! Got it right again...) Viking Metal -thing lights your deepest emotions into strong flames the way it certainly did for me.
While I´m listening to "Warrior´s Tale", it happens to me all the time: I´m getting cold shivers rolling down my spine constantly and they just keep on coming and doing that all the time to me - cannot help it a slightest!! In fact, OF STRENGHT... could work out as a perfect soundtrack to some colossal films ´bout vikings or barbarians or fuckin´ aliens from the outer space with many great yet bloody and gory battlefield scenes in a very same script. Guess both that kind of films and Moonsorrow´s music would do just lotsa justice for each other an extraordinary perfect way so to speak.
Here´s an album of which many bands of similar kind will surely draw, suck and whittle some influences from into their own music in the future - there´s just no question about that!! You just MUST have this magnificient, strongly epically dazzling album to believe me, so do it... NOW forgrstsake!! Even in the name of all pagans and wizards whatever you may prefer...