Moonsorrow - Voimasta Ja Kunniasta
Spikefarm Records
Melodic Epic Viking Black Metal
6 songs (48'36")
Release year: 2001
Moonsorrow, Spikefarm Records
Reviewed by Alex
Archive review

I have heard about Moonsorrow’s debut (?) before, but somehow never got around to buying it. Either it was too expensive on evilBay or I had to track it down from an obscure mailorder. What a huge mistake! Well, it is better late than never, and for the last week this thing has been spinning in my household non-stop.

Where in the Hell did these guys come from? They call themselves Sons of the One-eyed God, paint their faces with blood (or is it red battlepaint?), wear armor and carry swords and battleaxes. Gimmick? Attention grabber? Possibly, but Voimasta Ja Kunniasta is one outstanding Viking Metal album by these young Finns.

What do you get if you mix: A) Amon Amarth’s simple riffs that are played just a little slower; B) Immortal’s huge bombastic drumming and voluminous production; C) Mithotyn’s melodies which can only be comprehended if you drink water straight out of the icy fiords; D) Bathory’s pervasive and omnipotent atmosphere? You get Moonsorrow on Voimasta Ja Kunniasta. This album must be one of the most EPIC black metal albums ever pressed on a CD.

The disc is only 6 songs strong with the first song Tyven being a short instrumental intro. However, with all songs being over 7 min long the overall length is healthy 48 min. Alright, so Mitja Harvilahti’s guitarwork, and riffs in particular, are not very complicated. But didn’t Olavi Mikkonen (Amon Amarth) say that even a 12-year old could play his riffs as well? With this style of music what counts is the conviction with which it is played. The result is very heavy, powerful and barbaric. Melody is mostly being carried by keyboards which both Lord Euren (live) and Henri Urponpoika Sorvali play. All melodies are Scandinavian folk to the core and range from war marches (Sankarihauta) to polka (Kylan Paassa). Sometimes they jump all the way to the forefront, sometimes provide another layer of listening interest in the background (Aurinko Ja Kuu). What I liked a lot about Moonsorrow’s keyboards is they are clean and straightforward distancing themselves from frigid soulless synthesizers so popular in black metal these days.

The drummer, Baron Tarwonen, is outstanding. While the tempo is mostly mid-pace, blast section are few and far between, he keeps himself constantly busy. Meaty rolls across his toms rival the explosion in bass pedals.

Vocals is what classifies Moonsorrow as black metal. Ville Seponpoika Sorvali is ripping his throat in shreds as only some drunken Viking circa 10th century could. Clean choruses contrast verses masterfully, but restrain from plunging in mindless bombast.

Authentic melodies are augmented by accordion, some native string instruments (or is it totally palm muted one-string strum), mouth harp, accordion and handclaps. I could discern blowing northerly winds, crackling fire sounds, water coming ashore and clanking of battle armor. Everything is very organic and only adds to the epic atmosphere captured so brilliantly. As you already guessed from the song titles the album is sung entirely in Finnish which only adds to the overall mystique. To those poor saps who don’t speak the language of Suomi (including yours truly) English translations are included.

If this melodic, majestic and tribal music doesn’t capture your attention I don’t know what will (however, I can see how the vocals may alienate non-extreme metal fans). I can tell you one thing about myself. This record sent me to dig out that Vikings movie with Kirk Douglas and a tome The Sagas of Icelanders I loved to read as a kid. I know the guys just released another album. I wouldn't be wasting any time getting it.

Killing Songs :
All of them!
Alex quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Moonsorrow that we have reviewed:
Moonsorrow - Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 90 / 100
Moonsorrow - Tulimyrsky reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Moonsorrow - V: Havitetty reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
Moonsorrow - Verisäkeet reviewed by Jay and quoted 87 / 100
Moonsorrow - Kivenkantaja reviewed by Jay and quoted 93 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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