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Released: 2001, Plasmatica
Reviewer: Casey (Guest Writer)
Editors Note. Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of MASTER OF PUPPETS, POWERSLAVE or SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.
Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards our 10,000th review and the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any website were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!
After a series of well-received demos, Finnish band Moonsorrow broke onto the metal scene in 2001 with their debut album SUDEN UNI and have remained at the forefront of the pagan/black metal genre ever since. Self-described "crusaders of epic heathen metal" this band certainly delivers a high quality first album with a distinctive style. Within the first ten seconds of the the opening track "Ukkosenjumalan Poika" (Son of the God of Thunder), the listener knows one thing for certain about Moonsorrow's music - it's definitely epic.
Stylistically, SUDEN UNI is a very instrument heavy album, with singers Henri and Ville Sorvali's growly vocals often taking the backseat. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as it allows the music - a contrasting mix of folk melodies and heavy guitars - to really shine through. The inclusion of a range of unorthodox instruments such as accordions, mouth harps and acoustic guitars in songs like "Köyliönjärven Jäällä (Pakanavedet II)" (On the Ice of Köyliönjärvi (Pagan Waters II)), really emphasises the Finnish pagan/folk roots of the band. Highlights on the album include "Kuin Ikuinen" (As Eternal), sporting a killer drum track and a medieval sword-fighting scene. Most impressive is the unobtrusive way this scene slips into the song - it's used tastefully, and the fact that it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb speaks worlds about the intensity of the band.
Moonsorrow write relatively long songs (between 6 and 11 minutes on average in this album) and one of the few low points on the album is its apparent repetitiveness on the first listening, with some of the songs sounding much the same. That being said, however, upon multiple re-listenings the subtleties of the album are revealed and despite the clear stylistic themes throughout the entire work, each track has its own unique twist. Comparison of the songs out of the track-listing's original order show that there is in fact a reasonable amount of variety to the songs - "Pakanajuhla" (Pagan Feast) is up-beat and almost jovial, contrasting with the slow build of the much more subdued "1065: Aika" (1065: Time).
Overall, SUDEN UNI is a very strong first album that's style is continued on through their later work (translation: it's just really epic). For fans of Viking, Pagan and Folk metal, or anyone who needs some dramatic music to get them through the day, this is definitely worth checking out.
1. Ukkosenjumalan Poika
2. Köyliönjärven Jäällä (Pakanavedet II)
3. Kuin Ikuinen
4. Tuulen Koti, Aaltojen Koti
6. 1065: Aika
7. Suden Uni
Ville Sorvali Vocals, Bass
Marko Tarvonen Drums, Timpani, 12-string
Henri Sorvali Choir, Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals (clean), Accordion, Harp
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