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Agonizing - 85%

jeanshack, July 17th, 2010

If you fancy drawn out long songs, compositions involving fusion of multiple genre influences and a sound which is melancholic and progressive then the mere mention of a thirty minute folk metal song having black metal textures can kick up a strange yearning to discover the band and their music. This is how i ran into Moonsorrow, it is herculean for any artist to concoct songs of this length and ensure the attention of the listener throughout its span and this is exactly what V Hävitetty accomplishes, it is plain fucking riveting and stimulating right from the moment you hear the crackling sound of the scorching wood which modestly kicks off the record.

"Jaasta Syntynyt , Varjojen Virta" starts off with a mellow guitar strumming which progressively advances to a death/doom like aggression right around the five minute mark. I thought that the sound of crackling fire was a masterstroke, it adds a lull winter like ambiance to the music, the same feeling is aggravated by the lyrical content too. The song speaks about a tormenting journey in the dark, seemingly solitary search for the light in a foreign land, the lyrics accentuate the despondency, randomness and lack of motivation with life. The song has a intense progressive death influenced part in the middle culminating in a folk instrument section which switches back to a heavy black metal influenced section fused with folk instrumentation. The song gets insanely better with each passing minute, the continuous guitar strumming, pure transcending black metal vocals and the melodic riffs keeps on building the momentum. It is ironic as to how the controlled flow of the song can inspire fervently hawkish tendencies. The music makes you feel very stifled and when mixed with some alcohol can result in a cocktail for agonizing mental torment. Once "Tuleen Ajettu Maa" starts off you realize that the record is shifting gears and the pattern shifts in the most perfectly complementing way to the first track.

The restrained calculated onslaught of the first track is totally replaced by blunt extreme metal sound, the song raucously explodes into heavy riffs right after the two minutes of eerie chanting and slow guitars. The track starts off with a progressive death sound having the mellow parts interleaved with the more heavier sound with abrupt transitions, something like Opeth but the difference being the vocals which is typical black metal. The second half of the song is the mostly black metal sound but the quintessential blast beat drums are missing. The last fifteen minutes of the record is mostly loud and heavy, the guitars are melodic and the folk instrumentation is very gracefully integrated to the overall structure of the song. To me the lyrics talked about end of days with the fire cast upon earth by the gods, it definitely was not a happy ending for sure.

The record is unique because it encompasses a lot of influences and at the same time keeps a consistent ambiance, there is no instance in the whole album where you find the folk instrumentation to be intruding to the overall song structure. The album has been conceived and executed in a exceptional way, first song perfectly engineers the environment and the method in which the two songs complement each other is very uncommon. In general the sound of the album gets progressively intense, the songs are kind of cliched in its structure of building up the climax in a lazy way and then slowly toning down towards the end. The interesting part of V Hävitetty is that the build up is so painfully slow that you tend to get more and more eager to discover how the music will burst out, this is exactly the stifled feeling which I had mentioned before. The grace of V Hävitetty lies in the way it shows how coherently folk influences can exist with extreme metal elements, how seamless transitions can be between the lighter and more intense parts, how musicianship can be analogical to a physiological thriller flick where you get insanely restless to discover what will transpire next, in short this is a definitive experience which every extreme metal fan should endure.