Moonsorrow - Verisäkeet
Spikefarm Records
Epic Folk Metal
5 songs (70:38)
Release year: 2005
Moonsorrow, Spikefarm Records
Reviewed by Jay

Moonsorrow finally releases their follow up to Kivenkantaja, an album that opened many people’s eyes to the massive sound these Finns bring to their metal. If we thought that Moonsorrow was epic before they dropped this album, we knew nothing! The shortest song on this album clocks in at over eight minutes long. They have taken their songwriting to the next logical level of development and it’s quite a good result I must say.

Their prank leading up to the official press release for this album scared many people. There was a fake track list and album title circulated which made it seem that Moonsorrow had completely abandoned their old style for a new (and strange direction). This turned out not to be the case as the band was merely playing with the internet and proving it's still a haven for nonsense journalism. After hearing this album, I'm sure glad that was a joke.

Opening with "Karhunkynsi," Moonsorrow waste no time in getting back to the style that built them up. While this track tones down the electronics and traditional instruments to a degree, it still has their massively epic and folksy passages with spectacular work all around. You can also tell that the band is going for a harder sound with this album off the bat. The last five minutes of this track are sheer brutality with blast beats and furious riffing. The title translates into English as "Bear Claw" and you certainly feel as though you're being mauled by a massive grizzly as this sonic force slams into your face. Ville Sorvali has improved his vocals and can deliver his pained screams with a force and effect that few others can match. It occasionally sounds like he's actually being assaulted when he records his vocals. He's chilling to listen to and perfectly compliments the music. The next track, "Haaska," begins with a muted acoustic intro that gradually builds into a crescendo of melody and traditional riffing. Again, Moonsorrow have perfected their sound. I cannot think of any other band that can emulate their sound. I was also happy to hear the accordion again on this track. One of my favorite aspects of their previous albums was the usage of accordion. As an instrument, it's quite underrated and produces some amazing sounds that easily compliment folk as well as other styles of music. The parts of this song are varied and change as seasons would. One might call each of these songs mini-symphonies with movements and transitions from emotion to emotion. The achievement in epic songwriting cannot be overlooked here. Another stellar outro with haunting melodies closes out this marathon.

The grind of guitars opens up "Pimeä," the third opus of the disc. All these songs create a surreal and frightening atmosphere. I could easily imagine the emotions that these songs bring out in me if I was a Christian in old Finland being chased through the forest by Pagans hell bent on my death. The chorus of this song has some great harmonies and begins to transcend metal and sound like a prayer chant. The accordion solo is much appreciated as well. The melodies and instrumentation change up and show the versatility of this band through and through. "Jotunheim" clocking in at nearly twenty minutes is the fourth track. The tempo gradually builds from acoustic fiddling, to a harder part to intense folk playing with double bass blasts acting as support. In contrast to all of their brutality on earlier tracks, the closer "Kaiki" could not be more different. Using only acoustic guitars and flutes, the band designs a song more akin to forest hymnals than metal. The bards of old would be proud of this song.

The only criticism of this album I have are the nature sounds that are on this album between songs. They make up a good ten minutes of the running time. It would have been easy to fit an extra song, (even an epic) onto this disc. However, the forest recordings are designed to evoke a certain motif and soundscape into the recording and I cannot argue with that. It just seemed that they went on for far too extended periods of time in certain places. This album will delight all fans of Moonsorrow and anyone into truly epic songs.

Killing Songs :
The whole album (there are only five songs!)
Jay quoted 87 / 100
Jeff quoted 78 / 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 - Kivenkantaja reviewed by Jay and quoted 93 / 100
Moonsorrow - Suden Uni reviewed by Jay and quoted 90 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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