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Let’s get the obvious out of the way: this album is epic. The jump in style from the previous album here is distinct from the first moments. I will be making some comparisons, but to call one better than the other is unfair. Consider trying to compare Rush’s “Moving Pictures” to “2112,” or The Who’s “Who’s Next” to “Tommy.” While the former have the catchier tracks and more memorable moments, the latter are creating a larger whole. This is the first of Moonsorrow’s rock operas.
While the previous albums focused on a mixture of aggression and folk instrumentation, this one is far more relaxed and synthesizer driven. Don’t expect too many fiddles and flutes here. While they are still minimally present, the overall aesthetic is that of a power metal wall-of-sound that builds to proggy keyboard passages far more akin to Yes and Pink Floyd than Emperor. I grew to appreciate this new sound, however I felt the Hammond organ was overused and became quite tiresome. This is most notable on the second half of “Jumalten,” where I honestly glanced at my computer a few times to make sure that I had not somehow shuffled to Europe’s “The Final Countdown.”
As far as the vocals go, I would estimate they aren’t even present for a good 40-50% of the album. The music is left to speak for itself, and it does an admirable job. There are some pleasant moments of snarling that got me nodding my head in approval, but by the end of the album you are much more likely to remember the choir-style clean vocals. Along with the lovely female singing on the last track, it is all very haunting. The guitar tends to stick to thick, plodding power chords to match the slow, echoing drums.
All in all, this is a very solid effort. To be honest, my first listen left me disappointed and often irked by the overuse of Hammond organ. But my second listen helped me realize the greatness that lies in the album as a whole. Aside from maybe the first two tracks, this is not an album I will find myself shuffling into a playlist. Kivenkantaja is much better appreciated from start to finish.
In the Moonsorrow discography, Kivenkantaja, in its own peculiar way, marks the end of an era. It's the last item in the very credible and convincing run of three albums starting with Suden uni, the sophomore Voimasta ja kunniasta, and perhaps ending, or rather, fading gradually after Kivenkantaja. Here, the epic, atmospheric, but still fully folky Moonsorrow reaches its apex, and perhaps finds a motivation to do something else for a change, with a perfect timing.
The first track, "Raunioilla", warrants a special mention: the lyrics perhaps return to the themes and emotions of the first album, and the story of the last pagan bear-hunter setting his spear and making a defiant last stand on the ruins of his village, converted by sword, is a direct equivalent of Bathory's legendary "One Rode to Asa Bay". It's a tale of the end of the imaginary bygone eras of pagan honour and glory, the coming of Christianity, and the values that were lost in the process. It is an epic, more than 13 minutes long, as well, and not a minute of that extensive duration is filler or waste.
The rest of the album, while perhaps not quite as successful and emotion-provoking, is still fundamentally molded in the same way as the pair of very good albums before it. The original pure folk content has decreased a bit again, the Viking-y parts have increased, and the trend towards heavily progressing, complicated and wandering songs has taken a further step. The synths sound more often like synths than the faux-folk instruments on the earlier albums, bringing along a new edge to the epic quality, and increasing the heroic dreamlike atmosphere.
The basic ingredients, folky metal with mouth harps, accordion sounds, triumphant choruses and heroic fairytale feel are all there. Occasionally, and more prominently than before, the songs occasionally slip to darker, almost blackish territory, and the bold spirit of the earlier albums has yielded a bit and is slowly giving ground to gloomier story-telling. But the essentials, the stories of heroic feats and pagan defiance, are still there, and in the broader picture of the Moonsorrow continuum, Kivenkantaja marks the end of the original format, and they would move on to darker grounds on the coming releases. The signs are already there, even if they could only be read with the benefit of hindsight.
It is easy to see that the album is an upgrade to the extreme skill the band accumulated when they wrote and recorded the earlier two full-length. But… but… with the exception of "Raunioilla", the album does not quite strike the same nerves and provoke the same kinds of ideas and flights of fantasy as the earlier works. Technically, and perhaps even from the point of songwriting, it's not quite up there. Yes, it is excellent, and yes, it's enjoyable as hell, but there's something… lesser in there. It was a time of change, and thanks to whatever the deities watching over Finnish pagan metal bands are, they had the sense to make the changes in a more sensible, gradual way than most bands in the business. There was no sudden jump to a "Jazz Odyssey", no charging headfirst into metalcore, or reckless abandoning of the proven blueprints. No, the change took three albums and an EP to complete, and probably hasn't ended yet. Gradual evolution is better than an extinction and resurgence of new species, and Moonsorrow had the wits and the guts to do just that.
Another song worth a special mention is the last track, "Matkan lopussa", or "At the End of the Journey", a melancholic and surprisingly Slavic acoustic song, with a feel of a campfire, sung by a passionate down-to-earth female voice, is a departure from the Moonsorrow standard fare, but a welcome diversion, and a nice addition to the album that would be complete even without it. What better way to end an album and an era than a sorrowful acoustic song of the inevitable end of life?
When a group of brilliantly talented people like Moonsorrow get together and compose an album like Kivenkantaja, it leaves very little to wonder as to why they are the most popular and possibly the greatest Folk Metal band in existence. The scope of their genius and talent is endless, and the result of such is this brilliant, totally beautiful and magical experience called Kivenkantaja. Comprising of epic ambiance through synths, tasteful production and an array of beautifully written and played guitar/pipe sections that completely capture the essence of their mastery, utilising every key element of the most beloved moments of their past.
I use the phrase "Words cannot describe" a hell of a lot, I'm aware. However, I just cannot escape the fact that Metal in itself has so much more than anything else to offer in the ways of mind-blowing masterpieces, and Moonsorrow's "Kivenkantaja" is yet another offering in this category, and to describe this is to say "words cannot describe this fully". You MUST experience this album to know of its greatness before you can use words to convey it.
Where do I start with this gem?
Probably one of the most notable aspects of this album is undoubtedly the balladic quality of it. They have definitely used this album as a means to demonstrate their ability in writing atmospheric ballads, and to very cleverly but modestly surround them with crushing, aggressive, hard-hitting metal assaults. The title track, "Kivenkantaja", is probably one of the finer examples of this; to a similar extent, "Tuulen tytär/Soturin Tie", (which has an absolutely superb acoustic instrumental opening) also.
It is clear that the main focus in this album is on the folk-music side of their profile. The whole endeavour is awash with almost Celtic jigs and occasionally the odd Baltic chant singing here and there, which, for someone such as myself, is critical when pursuing a work piece from a band like Moonsorrow. Too often does a Folk/Viking metal band totally abandon its genre to follow more disappointing sub-genres, but Moonsorrow have fully remained in their element in this offering. One pure piece in light of this concept is their most beautiful and emotional track, "Matkan Lopussa", ("At the Journey's End") which I suspect was sung by Petra Lindberg. I'm also to understand that this is a very traditional Finnish folk piece, which is just exceptional; that such a dark and aggressive metal group can perform such a beautiful, almost anthemic, ballad as this. Outstanding.
What a journey indeed, this album is.
I believe that you would be doing yourself a great disservice if you did not at least attempt to obtain this album. It is a MUST-HAVE for anyone who is slightly inclined to appreciating the beauty of Folk music and Folk Metal as an art, and this is one of the greatest examples of Folk Metal ever created.
Moonsorrow - Kivenkantaja - 100/100
Kivenkantaja was the first Moonsorrow album I ever had, and I’ll be honest, I did not get into it when I listened to it on first spin. A month later I was rummaging around my playlist to listen to something new and I came across Moonsorrow’s tracks that I had included some time back. This time I decided to listen with more patience and boy did that pay off.
This is one of those albums, which defines raw emotion at its best. It doesn’t matter, you can go from the screeching icy vocals to the roaring guitar work and all you’ll hear is pure emotion. Even if you cannot understand Finnish you can actually picture the music as the each song progresses on. Instantly you are transported to the mysterious forests of Finland, each riff builds up that atmosphere that makes you sink into the icy depths of its lakes, each screech comes across like the harsh blowing winter wind and each beat is like the rumble of the pagan armies marching into battle
Go from member to member, not even one will fail to amaze you. To start off with the vocalist Ville, once again a remarkable job by him on the microphone and on the bass, the vocals not for one-second do they lose their amazing atmosphere on the whole album working really well with guitars and the drums. His cousin Henri does not disappoint either in the guitar department, other than executing the roaring riffs flawlessly; he even does not shy away from doing a short guitar solo on the first track. The drumming also has to be given a very approving nod here for blending in so well with the guitars and the bass, true it does not come in much prominence but it blends in with the songs perfectly.
As for the other instruments and folk fills, Moonsorrow seem to have gone all out into fusing each and every instrument sound in their roaring riff display. Each instrument get its own moment of prominence and creates that epic feel we had come to know and love so well in Voimasta Ja Kunniasta.
To sum it all up this album is a must have for any music fan, for its diversity and emotion are second to none. The whole journey the music takes you on is breathtaking, awe-inspiring and yes head banging, its one of those atmospheres that speak to your heart and mind alike, leaving a most ethereal spark behind. A truly magnificent album
This was the first album from Moonsorrow I got my hands on and ever since I've been a huge fan of this awesome band. From my point of view this release is the peak of Moonsorrow's career til today and I can't stop praising how perfect this effort is.
To start with, Kivenkantaja is something that is hard to put within genre definitions. Some say that it's blackened folk metal but honestly, I haven't found anything very black metal-related from it except the vocals. I prefer to call this musical style pagan folk metal with slight black- and symphonic metal influences. Or shortly, epic folk metal. Maybe the term ”viking metal” would describe this well also but I don't want to use it 'cause Moonsorrow tries to distance themselves from that term. Their albums' lyrical content don't refer to traditional Norse mythology. Instead, they draw their inspiration from old Finnish folklore in which vikings are seen as a threat. Other common themes on Moonsorrow's lyrics concern nature and heroic deeds which can never be a bad thing.
Then into music itself. The main thing in the music is epicness. It exudes from every element of Kivenkantaja. Ville Sorvali's blackish vocals fit wondrously into music's atmosphere creating a feeling that stems from the ordeals of Finnish folk back in the mists of history. Here and there Ville's vocals are supported by clean choir and this combination, though relatively common in this kind of metal, is one thing that makes Moonsorrow's music melancholicly epic. Music is very diverse, including calm and emotional folk passages but also aggressive parts of sheer pagan force. Band's members deserve praise for their genious song structures and skillful playing. These facts guarantee that every second of the album is memorable. Many folk instruments are used to take the listener to the woods and lakes of Finland, to the heathen shrines of nature. For example accordion, mouth harp and fiddle are used in a brilliant way to strenghten the emotional dimensions of this piece of art. One doesn't have to fear the overuse of those instruments though. Guitars and bass flow constantly in excellent harmony with other instruments and give their important features to enforce the bombastic nature of Kivenkantaja.
You really can't flatter Kivenkantaja enough. The way how the songs are build is brilliant and they fit into whole solidly as well as work greatly on their own. The first track ”Raunioilla” represents Moonsorrow's magic maybe better than any of their other songs. It's over 13 minutes long and introduces most of the sides of this epic band from ingenious guitar work to subtle synthesizer brilliance. No one can't avoid it's poignant touch. Second track ”Unohduksen lapsi” starts with majestic power and leads the listener to the beautiful depths of this album. Third track ”Jumalten kaupunki/Tuhatvuotinen perintö” is maybe the best song on Kivenkantaja. I can't fully describe why but part of the charm is the mythologic feel this song radiates. It's something wild and powerful yet still pure sensitivity. ”Kivenkantaja” is the fourth song that eminates the heathen nature of old Finland. It's strenght is in perfect balance with the following ”Tuulen tytär/Soturin tie” which is mostly instrumental track. It begins with a melodic tune and takes many folk instruments along before proceeding into heroic passage of pure epic pagan metal. The last song is ”Matkan lopussa” and it's quite different from the other songs. There's no ”metal instruments” in this song and it's a perfect ending to Kivenkantaja. Matkan lopussa means At the Journey's End and the ingenuity of the band members, especially Sorvali cousins, culminates in this wistful song. I have decided that this song will be my funeral song and that promise will keep. Serene music, wonderful lyrics and the stunning voice of the quest female vocalist make that possible.
On this album, these talented fellow countrymen of mine have constructed an astonishing atmospehere which radiates the ancient heathen nature of Finns. Even the cover art is executed in order to prepare the listener in the right mood for the album. I doubt there is any other band like Moonsorrow. Some may remind me of them but no one will ever achieve the same feeling that Moonsorrow has on their best releases. Every fan of epic folk metal should listen to this or there will forever be an empty hole in their heart.
Highlights? What highlights? The whole album is a fucking highlight of the history of metal!
I'm normally against rating any album a perfect 100, but I've been studying Moonsorrow's music for a while now, dedicating myself to learning what they're all about. From all I've learned, I stand confidently behind my rating for "Kivenkantaja", Moonsorrow's third full-length release. The title "Kivenkantaja" means "Stonebearer" in Finnish. The cover elegantly portrays a stone embedded in the ground in a snow-capped field. The runic depictions on the stone bear the group's name and the album's title along with an ancient representation of Finnish folklore.
Six songs to this recording cover almost fifty-six minutes of music, which averages out to nine minutes per song, plus change. Five chief musicians, led by the cousins Sorvali, Henri and Ville, cover a wide variety of instruments: the standard guitar, bass and drums for any metal band, along with the traditional Moonsorrow mouth harp, six- and twelve-string acoustic guitars, synthesizers (here referred to as "arpeggiators"), harmonium (which is like an organ that uses reeds), accordion and additional percussion, which is liberally applied throughout the album.
Ville Sorvali's "death" vocals definitely take some getting used to, even among avid death and black metal listeners. For the opening to this album, however, the first verse is handled by cousin Henri Sorvali, and he sings in a clean vocal style. His voice is very steady and confident, and I would say, perfect for this album. His voice fits somewhere in the high registers of the baritone range, which are, again, perfect for making powerful metal. Anything higher would sound like European power metal, and anything lower would seem like a dirge.
The first song is the thirteen-minute "Raunioilla". The introduction resembles that of an ancient Roman church choir chant in unison in Latin. The metal theme begins with a very epic keyboard background chord melody, and a sweet synthesizer melody in the foreground. The overall sound captures a swelling effect, enhancing the epic feel to it. The vocals don't come in until after the three-minute mark, cleverly introducing Henri's clean vocals first, then homogenously mixing in Ville's "death" vocals mid-verse. All members of the band, plus two guests, lend their voices for a clean choir in this song. The tune simply does not relent in its epic stature, incorporating perhaps the best possible style of guitar soloing. It is not filled with too much that would uniquely identify it as having a certain flavor, for example, guitar solos in American metal songs can tend to be very flashy and "bravado". It stays within certain metric and melodic parameters enough to make it an enhancement to the song without diminishing the epic sound. The clean-vocal choir gives a lot of strength to the pice overall. At about the ten-minute mark, the gears switch to a somber and reflective pace, which is when you can begin to hear the harmonium. This theme builds until the end of the piece. All in all, it has an immense epic feel and lots of ethnic Nordic flavor.
The "ancient Latin chanting" transitions into the second song, "Unohduksen Lapsi", which kicks your face in right from the start with a very heavy downtuned guitar riff. This song, a bit shorter than the former, does not waste any time in building into themes. The transitions are sharp and mighty, and the delivery is strongly epic. What tends to dominate here are Ville's "death" vocals, the sharp yet homogenous time signature changes from common time (4/4) to waltz time (6/8), and the diversity in the instrumentation. Here you can hear some nice synthesizer work, reminiscent of the mellotron from the 70's, coloring up the artistic recipe halfway through. Excellently mixed, you can hear the drummer's double-bass pounding in perfect synchronicity with the rhythm guitar riffing. One key element to the epic quality of this song is the keyboard's "brass" sound. Much of the keyboard fills emulate horns, commonly thought of as mighty and aggressive instruments.
"Jumalten Kaupunki", including subsection "Tuhatvuotinen Perintö" once again returns to the aspect of building themes. The keyboard chorusing chords in the introduction mix well with a light symphonic touch to create a dramatic tension, before cruising into the first main theme of the song, which is once again in 6/8 time. The playing of the synth tune using mordents really enhance the ethnic flavor, while once again incorporating a lot of charging brass and using the vocal choir make this song an incredible piece of metallic art. Another fascinating thing about this song is right in the ending. The entire theme is played out by all instruments and fades to silence, but before arriving there, the same theme played by the duo of fiddle and harmonium fade in perfectly in time.
The title track comes next. This song is filled with all kinds of fascinating elements. To start with, the main theme is written in 5/8 time, a very uncommon time signature in any genre of music. Five beats to the measure, with the eighth-note getting the beat. In this riff, the main accent occurs on the fourth beat in the measure. It is a riff such as this which can really exhibit the intimidating level of skill that the musicians possess. The song switches from 5/8 to 6/8 very competently close to the halfway point. Again, the keyboard themes showcase the brass attack. The song also is loaded with lots of ethnic flavor, showing what Moonsorrow is all about.
The real beauty of this album comes from the two remaining tracks. "Tuulen Tytär", including subsection "Soturin Tie" contains magnificently executed rhythm and instrumentation with a very ethnic feel and great syncopation. The piece is instrumental for the first movement, then transitions to the vocal movement via a bass voice, most likely pitch-modulated, which sounds like more of a tone of lecturing than that of chanting. This song paints so much more of an aural landscape than most songs in metal. The keyboards are to thank for the most part, by using aural bass drones, chime effects, sustained whistle effects and epic chord chorusing. This tune transitions into the last song by way of those same bass drones, wind effects, sustained synth pads and the now infamous mouth harp. The last song is a complete break from metal, consisting only of the choir and a featured female soprano vocalist, along with the keyboard chord chorusing and accordion. The melody in "Matkan Lopussa" comes from a traditional Finnish folk song. Never does a non-metal song sound so good coming from a metal band than what we listen to here! The song is very faithful to the rhythm and meter of the folk melody, which is more of a presumption on my part because I've never heard it. The song is very strict in terms of how it's played out, and it gives you such an epic-style swelling of pride when you listen to it. It really almost gives you the feeling of wanting to be in that choir singing with them.
This album is impeccably produced and mixed and really showcases the true artistic talent of these players. The fact that Ville Sorvali plays fretless bass is evidence enough of this. Musicians know that the fretless bass can only be played by those with more skill than that of any common bassist. It is an instrument for uncommon men, just like the violin. Musicians also know that the twelve-string acoustic guitar has to be handled with precision. Such full sound cannot be wielded by a mediocre player.
Another important note is the fact that this is the only Moonsorrow album to date that does not incorporate any blastbeats into any of the songs. All the songs are mid-paced, not coming off in the least bit thrashy.
So, combined with the talent, the artistic vision, the production and mixing, and the instrumentation, I'm giving this album a perfect score. It is a compulsory item in any black metal collection as well as that of the pagan metal.
Even though Voimasta Ja Kunniasta is my favorite Moonsorrow album, Kivenkantaja was the one that got me to this band, and also their most accessible record. It's not so heavy, and has less to none black metal passages.
But the classic formula it's still there. Epic choirs, long songs, riffs that could last forever, and, of course, the keyboards. It's even more predominant here, specially in Jumalten kaupunki / Tuhatvuotinen perintö and the title track. And now, instead of ending with the epic track, they start with the longest track of the album. Rauniolla it's one of their best songs, and one of their few songs that have a solo as we know it. It also has very few growls. It perfectly flows then into Unohduksen Lapsi, which is the heaviest song, and also the catchiest. The main riff it's probably their best. This song then flows into Jumalten Kaupunki / Tuhatvuotinen perintö. So you could treat these 3 songs as one. This last also has a music video, which is shorter, and probably more appealing to those who still don't know the band.
The Title track is, to me, the weirdest Moonsorrow track. Usually, when they were going heavy, they were heavy. And when they were going epic, they were epic. But on that track, sometimes you think the keyboard it's gonna do something amazing, but it stops and the harsh vocals stop. It's also one of the Moonsorrow tracks that looks shorter to me, which means it's better than it looks.
But then the last two tracks, which aren't so memorable, yet still awesome. Tuulen tytär / Soturin tie it's probably the softest Moonsorrow track. It's also almost an instrumental, having very few lyrics. Then, an outro, which is, I guess, a typical finnish song. To me, those last tracks flow as one, since both are very soft and beautiful, making an awesome album even better.
What surprises me the most, it's that even with 5 songs and an outro, the album clocks at almost one hour, but the album looks very short. That's the magic of Moonsorrow, making 8-13 minutes like if they were much shorter. If this happens to you with another band, you'll see what the 'Moonsorrow syndrome' means: Perfection.
This as a whole is Moonsorrow's third but weakest album. It definately has its moments during the first three tracks which are some of the best Viking metal tracks ever recorded, but after the album just begins to fade and it loses my attention.
Rauniolla is a very long epic song that clocks in at 13:36 and starts off with the sounds of bells in the distance before a creaky door closes and the drums and guitars explode. This on a whole is not an extremely heavy song, and is a melodic one. The atmosphere is rather sad, and it contains mostly clean singing and chanting and very little growling from Ville. This also has the fiddle, which is used on many Moonsorrow tracks.
Unohduksen Lapsi continues to have the bell off in the distance for a while with some excellent riffs before the song explodes again. Ville starts growling at 0:25 seconds. Overall this song is very enjoyable although it begins to fade on you just a little bit as it goes on. It isn't as agressive anymore, and has a lot of those fiddles in it with a weird little noise that sounds like a spring. This also contains more clean vocals than growls.
Jumalten Kaupunki incl. Tuhatv is the best track on this album by far. It starts off with a very melodic melody, and some fiddles and keyboards as well as chanting before it explodes into one of Moonsorrow's best songs. The drums and guitars on here are flawless and combine with a few other effects such as keyboards and maybe even a little bit of fiddle to provide you with a very nice, more cheerful melody than what is more common with Moonsorrow. I usually picture the music as taking place in the cold and dark woods of Finland. Anyway we are greeted with a rather high-pitched excellent and long scream by Ville at 2:12. It isn't one of the harsh and painful sounding ones, but is great nonetheless. At 2:43 Ville begins growling and his vocals are as usual, the growl is pretty low pitched and they are actually a bit more clear on here.
Kivenkantaja starts off with a peaceful acoustic guitar, however it ends up being one of Moonsorrow's heaviest songs. At around 1 minute it explodes with heavy guitars, loud drumming, and a fiddle. Ville's vocals here are a more hoarse growl than is usual. The song is a bit boring and feels awkward as a whole.
Tuulen Tytar starts off with nice keyboards and has a rather joyful melody. It is a mostly instrumental song and has a boring tick to it through a large portion of the song which makes it slightly annoying. Overall this is one of the more boring songs on the album and has more folk influences than most Moonsorrow material.
Matkan Lopussa starts off sounding like 1065: Aika from Suden Uni and remains mostly a quiet ambient song. A woman sings and from the sound of her voice she must be pretty beautiful. We also have a chorus singing on here. The whole song is rather boring, however still not as big of a waste of time as was Kaiku on Verisakeet, Moonsorrow's newest work.
Overall this is still a very good album and the fact that it sounds a little different shows that Moonsorrow evolves, and while it contains some influences from both Voimasta ja Kunniasta and Suden Uni, it sounds more evolved. This is one of the reasons I have such great respect for Moonsorrow. You never should expect another similar album from them as even though they contain similar influences they will end up being different from one another, and unlike music from some other bands you could listen to this over and over and still not get bored of the music. You will be able to hear quality music even if you are listening to it for the hundredth time.
Let me start off by saying I have hundreds of albums of miscellaneous metal artists ranging anywhere from black metal, to death metal, to doom metal, to ambient. However, out of all my CDs, “Kivenkantaja” from Moonsorrow is one of my most-played CDs because it’s absolutely brilliant. It’s excellence can probably be expected considering the presence of Henri Urponpoika Sorvali, or commonly known as the keyboard player from Finntroll. He also plays rhythmic guitar in Moonsorrow, adding an extra “oomph” that boosts this album above many other albums I own and listen to. Another thing that stands out to me are the outstanding vocals, binding that of Vintersorg and Finntroll. The vocals express just what you’d expect, sorrow.
Track 1: Raunioilla - This is the first track on the album. It runs approximately thirteen minutes long, and contains mostly sung verses, and a few verses performed in the screaming/growling that is common in black metal music. After the song hits ten minutes and twenty-one seconds (about) the song turns ambient for the remaining three minutes, and ends with a chiming of a bell, where the second song begins.
Track 2: Unohduksen Lapsi - This second track (probably my favorite track on the album) begins right where the first track leaves off, making the illusion that it’s still track one. This song is just over eight minutes long, and reminds me of almost a mix between filosofem (at some points) and Finntroll. This song contains more of the traditional screaming/growling vocals. Although this song is five minutes shorter than the prior track, it has more of an epic feel. The song ends with soft strumming on what seems to be a fiddle, and sounds of Celtic origin.
Track 3: Jumalten Kaupunki Incl. Tuhatvuotinen Perintö - This is the third track of the album, and runs almost eleven minutes long. The first two minutes are mostly instrumental, with a little traditional folk singing, then at the 2:13 mark; the ghastly scream is heard, followed by catchy folk instrumentals. At 2:45, the vocals begin, and are growled similar to that of Finntroll. This track displays the excellent vocals of Moonsorrow. At around the 7:45 minute mark, the vocals cease, and the remaining few minutes are instrumental, and although the vocals stand out to me, this instrumental piece jumps out and makes me want to battle some kind of goblin.
Track 4: Kivenkantaja - The song starts off acoustic, real peaceful and soothing, yet dark too. When I hear this song, I imagine myself hearing it in a poor village on the outskirts of a dark castle in the medieval times. The acoustic stops after a minute, and some of the most bestial vocals on the album begin that send chills up your spine, a feeling I love when listening to music. At two minutes and forty-two seconds, the aggressiveness stops, and a small soothing folk piece ensues for about a minute or so. Afterwards the amazing vocals pick back up, musical orgasms ensue. Eventually the seven-and-a-half minute long song comes to an end, and you’re left with your jaw opened thinking, “that was one of the most amazing songs I have ever heard”.
Track 5: Tuulen Tytär Incl. Soturin Tie - The song starts off with a minute of peaceful ambience, then followed by some good ole Celtic folk music which continues for a good two minutes. After those two minutes, the same theme is being played; only drums are added along with guitar playing. At five minutes, what seems to be an accordion is played, and classic folk singing takes place for about a minute or so. The next one and a half minutes is soothing and ambient, and then the mix between the soft Celtic music and the drums/guitar picks up again. This happens for the remaining of the song, and the eight and a half minute song fades out slowly.
Track 6: Matkan Lopussa - This is the final track of the album, and the shortest. It’s only four minutes, and fifty-five seconds. The song as a whole is ambient, containing some choir-sung vocals by both males and females. Very very soothing, and a great way to end a great CD.
Moonsorrow's new album Kivenkantaja literally blew me away. While I have always enjoyed their sound, Kivenkantaja, is by far my favorite of their releases. The album reaches epic proportions by utilizing long songs (8-13 minutes) and incorporating many folk instruments. This album is much more ambient than their predecessors but at the same time I think it has a much more controlled and organized sound. This is perhaps one of the most atmospheric metal releases ever, and really creates a feeling akin to it's cover art (aka. Icy fjord's, campfires in the snow, and glorious battles). While wholly original I can hear many subtle influences on this album, everything from Bathory, to Wongraven, to Pink Floyd seem to show their face.
This is one amazing cd and should not be missed by any fan of Viking metal. Even if you didn't like their past releases you should check this one out because it is in my opinion a million times better.
Moonsorrow’s latest album has been one of my most anxiously anticipated releases of the year. I’ve only heard good things about it and expected it to be another masterpiece like their previous two albums. Unfortunately, it is not the case. This album seems to lack edge that was audible on Suden Uni and Voimasta Ja Kunniasta. The different approach on this album is mainly evident in the keyboard sound. The keyboards on this album are much more prominent and the sound is generally “fuller”. However, this would not constitute a problem at all if the songs on the album were as interesting as their earlier material. My favorite track on this album is actually the mostly instrumental track called Tuulen Tytär. This great piece of metal infused folk shows that Moonsorrow are not about to be written off despite not being able to match their previous efforts.
The general feel of this album is calmer than the more aggression infused Suden Uni and Voimasta Ja Kunniasta. The riffs are not as exciting and for the most part the album seems to rely heavily on the keyboard transitions, new elements such as more gang vocals and a female singer on one of the songs. The barking vocals of Ville Sorvali are still present and can generally be ignored. Overall, I would consider Kivenkantaja to be a good album if I were not acquainted with their earlier material. However, Moonsorrow remains one of the best bands in the Viking/Folk genre solely based on their two previous albums. This album might be the band’s most accessible album, but I think that their other material is still quite accessible (despite the slightly rough guitar sound) and should be sought out first. Be on the look out for more great releases from this band in the future.
Similar bands: Finntroll, Vintersorg and a lesser known Falkenbach