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Finnish epic metallers Moonsorrow have become one of my favourite bands as of late, and 'Verisäkeet' does not break the streak of awe and excellence the band has demonstrated with each past experience I've had with them. Moonsorrow have always been ones for drawn out folk metal epics and their heavy sense of ambition takes them great places here. A somewhat more raw and black metal-leaning album than what I have heard before from them, 'Verisäkeet' is yet another long album to get lost in. It may not be the most successful record they have churned out, but for its flaws and faults, 'Verisäkeet' comes through as a great album.
Unless you are a newcomer to the music of this band, track lengths often reaching the fifteen minute mark and beyond should not be any surprise from the band at this point. In that sense, they have not changed their style much. There are still lush orchestrations, extended and often detailed compositions, and a heavy folk element that puts Moonsorrow at the top of the pagan metal hierarchy. For the sake of 'Verisäkeet' though, there is more of a focus on raw black metal sounds than there are on other records, if even a bit. 'Verisäkeet' is far from being a simple record, but there are moments where it feels as if Moonsorrow are paying an homage to the black metal classics. The final minutes of the opener 'Karhunkynsi' even feature a close rendition of the Mayhem song 'De Mysteriis Dom Santhanas', which is always a bit of a shock to hear on an album that otherwise prides itself greatly on its grand scale and bombastic nature.
Although the folkier side of Moonsorrow's fanbase may find the darker, brooding sound of 'Verisäkeet' a bit offputting when compared to their other albums, it does work to bring a sadness in the band's voice that is just as emotionally stirring as their more triumphant approach. 'Verisäkeet's more to-the-point nature is not something I think works as well for Moonsorrow as when they decide to go all out with orchestrations, like with 'V: Havitetty'. Also, the album's cohesion becomes less of an issue when each song becomes so long, but the final track 'Kaiku' feels a tad unnecessary. Although it is a pleasant ballad, having a four minute acoustic piece (the final four minutes is left to tedious natural ambiance) trail such monstrous tracks beforehand feels somewhat underwhelming for a closer to what it otherwise an epic piece of music.
Despite the flaws that remain pronounced enough to clearly identify, Moonsorrow's fourth album remains a triumph. Moonsorrow have impressed me again.