Released: 2005, Spikefarm Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Now be cursed all Viking warriors blood-blessed battleaxes from the deepest pits of Hell... whoever wrote all those pompous stories for the press kit of the uncrowned Epic Heathen metallers Moonsorrow’s latest album needs to be awarded by a Viking skull full of virgin’s blood. I do admit that I had a pretty damn amusing time reading their press kit.
Moonsorrow’s 4th crusade continues bravely on the band’s latest opus, VERISÄKEET, more pompously and widely musically than ever before. The album puts me in a very comfortable state of satisfaction, leaving my mouth open wide in sheer amazement. Let me explain a bit further ...
There is “only” 5 songs on VERISÄKEET (well, actually 4 because the last tune is some sort of campfire song that has heavily been extended by echoes from nightly northern forests, sounds of a burning wood, strange mumblings, birds’ signing & croaking, etc.), but each song’s length varies between 14 and 20minutes, making up 70minutes of music. Talk about some an epic Metal here... huh!
But let’s really face some stone-hard facts for starters: Moonsorrow’s attempt to reach epic and instrumentally rich and varied sounding elements has surely been accomplished in somewhat of a perfect way. Listening to the any of the songs is like taking a long journey back to past times by a time machine. Back to the bloody, death-reeking battlefields of furry and grim-looking ancient Viking warriors who fought and fell with their iron-boots on. They raped women and children and burnt the poor bastard’s villages down, leaving nothing but fear and terror behind them. I’m sure you got a picture, didn’t you?
Uh, but letìs land firmly back to the ground again. I have always wondered how far Moonsorrow could actually stretch their creative minds. I believe the answer has not been fully given yet on VERISÄKEET though. As a single off-topic mention, I bet playing such lengthy tunes live must be quite a task in itself, if not impossible to produce?
As for the songs, I don’t feel any guilt admitting that I’m rather helpless in putting my thoughts in proper enough words to describe VERISÄKEET. First off, I think Moonsorrow has not only recorded their best album to date, but one of the best albums of the whole Viking Metal genre, too. It doesn’t really matter whether you believe me or not, because I know I speak the truth. My ears have never lied to me, especially when talking strictly about whether there’s either “bad Metal” or “good Metal”.
“Karhunkynsi”, a 14-minute lengthy opener, basically has all that I personally crave for a perfectly composed and played ìViking/Folk/Battle Metal song. The word “epic” has been stamped all over it: it’s heavy, shamelessly pompous and has no dead moments whatsoever! When reaching the 8:40 mark, the song surprisingly changes its color to a more Burzum-type of atmosphere, sucking tiny bits from a raw, sinister, and grim sounding Black Metal into itself.
On “Haaska”, the band moves into calmer waters again, paying obviously quite a lot of attention to sort of competing in downright epic spheres with the mighty Bathory musically, while still managing to nail their tattoo-covered skins to a unique playground of their own in an audible enough way. It’s a sorrowful yet beautiful song, deserving to be celebrated with fancy-looking Viking helmets on and wooden mugs full of krigsmöd. Fuckin’ horns up to the Moonsorrowers!! Such an awesome song it is!!
“Pimeä” is probably the most folkish song out of all the songs on the album, having lots of ear-tickling and catchy parts in it that make you easily hum the song, without you even noticing it. There’s a few keyboard parts in the last 2 minutes of the song that remind of the latest Burzum album FILESOM. The tone of the keyboard is very similar - coincidence or not, but it´s there however.
“Jotunheim”, is to put it simply, the best fuckin’ tune they have ever put together in their ambitious existence. YES, I can’t even try to find any words to detail this single masterpiece. You just have to hear it to believe it. This nearly 20-minute epos could be considered sort of a landmark of perfection. The strongest, most chilling and most ambitious single musical momentum in the entire history of the band. I can only imagine how many sweating and painful hours the guys have spent with the song, building it up piece by piece, like a big, lake-size massive puzzle. A varied use of several different instruments ain’t anything new to these fellows, as this song proves it to a listener so clearly.
“Kaiku” ain’t really much more than a short campfire “song” that has been lengthened by a various set of relatively disturbing and strange voices being ripped out from the depths of nature. The song in question belongs at the end of the album and serves its purpose there quite well even. After the storm arrives a total calmness.
You still might want to hear my final verdict about VERISÄKEET, right? No, I don’t suggest that you forget everything Moonsorrow has done in the past, and on the other hand I gotta believe you cannot live without the band’s latest album either. Moonsorrow’s glorious and blood-covered warpath has been very rewarding and victorious for them. Only time will show how their thus far successful crusade will possibly continue from VERISÄKEET. To me the very album in question seems like an album impossible to top, even from the mighty Viking battle ship named Moonsorrow.