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Moonsorrow is one of those bands that were introduced to me as a unique, epic and progressive band that did revolutionary works for the Pagan Metal genre. When I stumbled over their overlong Tulimyrsky EP with this beautiful epic cover artwork I decided that it was about time to try this band out.
But opposed to many positive reviews, I didn't find much magic or originality on this record. The title song "Tulimyrsky" is interesting when the band employs exotic folk instruments such as didgeridoos or when they employ some epic keyboard passages, decent choirs or short narrative passages. The music itself sounds like a mixture of Bathory, Falkenbach and Tyr and doesn't introduce anything new to the genre. The title track tries to develop some atmosphere and is surely quite hypnotizing. But the track works rather as a relaxing background msuic to me and has not enough originality to keep my attention for almost thirty minutes. In only one third of this time, the band could have created a fairly addicting epic Viking Metal track but they chose the path of endless repeating patterns. There is a lot of light and shade and boring passages meet some fine breaks and interludes from time to time but overall this song can't truly convince me and I expected more here. Even more recent and commercial bands such as Wintersun did better epic tracks on their albums and this can't be called a highlight of its genre for me as it is simply overambitious and long. As a score for a Viking movie, a relaxing background music for role play gamers or a soundtrack to lose yourself into during a walk through the nature, this EP is still a very accurate choice and I can’t deny that Moonsorrow have their moments even if it takes some time to find them.
The new versions of old demo tracks have somewhat the same problem. They have a fairly promising structure but the songs are overall too long and not very progressive or epic at all. The keyboard sounds have a certain charm and the blackened vocals have a lot of energy and emotion but especially the guitar riffs are rather mediocre. If the band had decided to cut maybe three minutes of each of those two tracks, the final results would sound much more intense, diversified and coherent. The intense beauty meets the beast track "Taistelu Pohjolasta" is though my favourite track on the record and grows on me each time I listen to it once in a while again.
The two cover versions have pretty much been adapted to the style of Moonsorrow and sound like if they were the band's own tracks. While this fact is interesting and very positive, one must nevertheless compare those versions to the original ones and I thought that they sounded well more unique for their time and got better to the point or the essence of spirit of these songs. I would though not consider these new versions as failed experiments as they fit surprisingly well on the record. The whole EP indeed sounds like an album and has a very coherent structure.
In the end, this record has too many lengths and is a perfect example for the fact that overlong tracks don't always mean to be epic, magic and progressive. The band sounds epic from time to time but I don't feel much magic or originality on here. I would always chose the originals from Bathory to Primordial first but also bands such as Amorphis and Månegarm or even more recent stuff like Arkona or Equilibrium. That means that Moonsorrow are one of the most inaccessible, boring and also overrated ambassadors of this genre that is usually intense, atmospheric and authentic without getting in overlong “wankery” passages like here. This record may still grow on me with the time but this hasn't been the case in the last years and I usually don't change my mind very often. I would suggest you to rather check the bands out I mentioned before and keep this for a time when you want to dig deep into a record and approach this experiment with some much needed patience, time and tranquility. Even though my rating is still rather positive from an objective and fair point of view, you can easily get much better in the large folk and pagan genres with Empyrium, Ulver or Cruachan but also worse like Heljareyga, Eluveitie or Alestorm.