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Whether you are a fan of the music or not, it is difficult to argue that Moonsorrow are not masters of epic metal. Through a notably consistent and accomplished career, the band has crafted immense pieces of music that- more often than not- transcend the barriers of metal and go to lengths that few folk metal bands ever do. 'V: Hävitetty' is the fifth full-length album of Moonsorrow, and I could go to argue that it is their best. Throughout the course of an hour, Moonsorrow makes it clear that they are in an entirely different league than any of their Finnish compatriots, and one of the best at what they do. With only two tracks here to make up the hour of music that 'V: Hävitetty' offers, the catchy drinking tunes usually associated with folk metal are non-existent here, instead giving way to two compositions of metal that is epic in the truest sense of the word. 'V: Hävitetty' is a masterpiece of metal, to put it simply, and although long-winded at times, I would love to see a detractor of the genre still arguing their common points that it is merely a style of 'noise' or 'screaming' after hearing this.
As previously stated, 'V: Hävitetty' takes the form of two epic-length tracks, 'Jäästä syntynyt/Varjojen virta' and 'Tuleen ajettu maa'. Contrary to the majority of the bands that reach some level of international acclaim and fame, Moonsorrow choose to remain singing in their mother tongue of Finnish, and while it would often be difficult to make out what the singer was saying through all of the dense instrumentation and raspy cries that make up most of the vocal work here, it is still a testament to the band's unwillingness to compromise. Anyone who has heard something from Moonsorrow before will have some idea of what to expect right from the start; grand orchestrations from both metal and folk instruments, complex arrangements, drawn out compositions and a triumphant tone to everything they do. Here though, there is certainly a little more of a black metal feel when compared to music they had released in the past, although there are no profound stylistic changes to really mention.
Instead of changing up what they have grown up doing as a band, Moonsorrow instead chooses to refine and intensify their existing sound. Simplicity is rare, and even possibly non-existent in the vocabulary of 'V: Hävitetty'; quite commonly, multiple instruments of many different timbres will be playing at once, giving the semblance of a folk metal orchestra. As one might expect, all of the details within the music are impossible to all pick up from the first listen onwards, and it is this sense of exploration and engrossing nature of the album that makes it so good. Although the album is never too quick to develop or change its pace throughout each song's monstrous length, it is difficult to leave 'V: Hävitetty' on merely in the background, due to the fact that there is too much going on to go unnoticed. The production of the album can sound a little weak at times, but this is almost certainly due to the fact that Moonsorrow jammed so much sound into the mix that the competition between instruments makes things a little cloudy.
For an album that is so instantly enjoyable and emotive, 'V: Hävitetty' is surprisingly challenging. A masterpiece of the genre, and contrary to what some might argue, this is the way folk metal was meant to be done.