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It is somewhat ironic that the EP of a band would turn out to be among their longest works. Here is Moonsorrow's 'Tulimyrsky EP', consisting of one typical Moonsorrow track (a half hour sprawling epic) and a considerable amount of bonus material. Although an EP is rarely ever supposed to hold much weight in a band's discography, this release has garnered some big attention from both fans and others in the metal scene, and for good reason. On top of an epic track that is soon to become a modern classic in pagan metal, the covers here are highly impressive and go to show what a giant act Moonsorrow really is. All this aside though, I would tend to agree with the consensus that 'Tulimyrsky' may have had more stopping power if they had only cut down on some of the material after the main attraction and shortened things up a bit. All the same, some of the material here is fantastic.
Of course, the covers and redone editions of earlier tracks are an added benefit, but the majority of the attention should be directed towards the epic half hour track 'Tulimyrsky'. Its name is Finnish for 'firestorm', and this does reflect quite well in the music. An epic that shows the bands roots in black metal quite well, there is an epic scope of songwriting here, and the vast amount of time the track has to work with lets each idea get nicely developed before moving on. Although there is a fair use of repetition in the writing of 'Tulimyrsky', one of Moonsorrow's greatest assets is that somehow, the music never gets boring, despite the fact that their style focuses greatly on hypnotic pagan anthems. There are two or three recurring musical themes that keep popping up throughout the piece, and this gives it some great cohesion. The epic peaks towards the last five minutes, which is absolutely majestic; chants, symphonic arrangements, and driving guitars give me chills each time 'Tulimyrsky' comes to a close. This epic reminds me greatly of the music on Moonsorrow's fifth album (and my personal favourite) 'V - Havitetty' and it remains one of the band's greatest achievements, although some parts can wear a bit much with the spoken word dialogue and soundscapes.
The rest of the album is quite strong, but also feels as if the afterthought it dragged on far too long. It feels that if 'Tulimyrsky EP' had ended as soon as the song did, there would be a lasting state of awe, but instead the band goes straight into cover tracks. Fortunately however, these covers are fantastic. The more famous of the two is the Metallica song 'For Whom The Bell Tolls', from their album 'Ride The Lightning'. Moonsorrow prove how strong their sense of style is here by taking a classic song and truly making it their own; one listening to it could almost swear it was a Moonsorrow song they were listening to, as opposed to a cover. The two 2008 redo versions are quite good, although somewhat forgettable when compared to the rest of the music that 'Tulimyrsky EP' has to offer.
An EP that comes close to being essential, 'Tulimyrsky EP' is highly recommended and more than worth checking out, if even only for the brilliant title track.