Released: TBA, Spikefarm Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Every time when Moonsorrow releases a new record, it´s always a happening in itself. I mean, if we strictly talk about some of the existing, leading and most respected ´Viking/Folf/Pagan/whatever! Metal´ bands these days, I bet Moonsorrow´s name probably gets more space on most of these lists than any names of some other bands - and it´s fair to even say, there´s a reason for all of that why Moonsorrow is in that position these days where they are actually. On the top of the pile as far as this particular genre is concerned. With every album, the band has taken a couple of steps forward both music - as well as challenge-wise, building up their ideas and ambitious thoughts a bit further than on each of their previous albums. And this time didn´t make any exception either.
Moonsorrow´s 5th full-length album in order, titled V- HÄVITETTY (“Destroyed”), is the band´s most ambitiously made yet terrifyingly monumental epic album they have put together thus far. Only 2 songs: “Jäästä Syntynyt / Varjojen Virta (“Born of Ice / Stream of Shadows”)” - clocking in at 30-minute mark, and “Tuleen Ajettu Maa (“A Land Driven to Fire”)”, which, on the other hand, clocks in at 26-minute mark, provide such a pompous yet breath-taking and exhausting crusade through the ancient European shores concept-wise that once you battled it through, you wanna find a way back to the same, once-traveled warpath again. Seriously, V – HÄVITETTY, is undoubtedly the most challenging, the toughest and hardest-to-sink-into –Moonsorrow albums in the entire history of the band due to that fact there´s only two, but extremely lengthy songs on the record that demand a lot of concentrating and time from a listener to really understand what´s really going on within those two Moonsorrow´s massive, epic pieces of intriguing Viking/Folk Metal. It took at least a week from me to realize and understand that even if the songs are 30 - and 26-minutes in length, they don´t sound anything like they have been lengthened on purpose, like reaching more minutes for the sake of gaining the true epic value for both of them.
To get started analyzing the band´s 5th opus, V- HÄVITETTY, to be honest with all of you, actually there´s nothing ´that´ easy on their latest effort. In fact, for the first couple of spinnings with V – HÄVITETTY, my concentration seemed to fade away constantly, no matter how hard I tried to bring my ears ´back on track´. After some more in-depth listening sessions, I really started to follow how the songs proceeded, and overall built up from one part to another – leading into one hell of a bombastic and massive wholeness, full of breath-taking epicness and bigger than mountain-high things that have already become familiar in their previous albums. However, all this epicness of what Moonsorrow have become known for on their albums over the years, has, in my honest opinion, reached some sort of an ultimate peak on their latest output – I could say, almost an exaggerated peak in which they still seem to have everything tightly in control and a chance to go even further with their ideas musically (which probably won´t be happening – at least it should be very tough for them, I guess).
The two songs, “Jäästä Syntynyt / Varjojen Virta (“Born of Ice / Stream of Shadows”)” as well as “Tuleen Ajettu Maa (“A Land Driven to Fire”)”, are simply as epic and monumental as the songs of similar caliber can get, the true Moonsorrow -style. All the familiar elements of Moonsorrow can be spotted out from both of these two songs; somewhat hypnotic - repeating riffs (think something along the lines of Burzum albums), strong choirs that raise every hair up in your body, a large cavalcade of different instruments that simply ooze all that what these 5 Finnish pagans have become known for on their releases; awesome folk´ish parts, dark and inconsolable atmospheres that are meant to crush a listener by their sheer weight, beautiful acoustic guitar sections, intriguingly majestic melodies, heavy yet hammering bass sound which is something new in their sound, suddenly attacking aggression that you no way cannot be prepared for any way, etc. – and most importantly, 56-minutes tour de force the well-known Moonsorrow -style that really captivates listeners after the album has fully taken them over. Despite of some difficulties to follow the songs at first - having no straight access to them at all, and to really understand what´s truly happening in them and what´s to come next, a huge amount of concentration helps a listener. Once you are fully there, you´ll be rewarded by one hell of an album. So thanks Moonsorrow for this absolutely fantastic record, once again, could sincerely I add...