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I'm never particularly keen on reviewing re-releases, whether I originally knew the album or not. In the case with this Moonsorrow release, "Voimasta Ja Kunniasta" is one of their albums that I don't own and so am starting afresh with it, but other than to stop people forgetting about the band I have no idea why it is actually being re-released. It was originally released only 8 years ago, and the version I've been sent (a proper jewel case version - thanks Spikefarm!) has no bonus tracks or any information alluding to a re-release; so given that last album "V: Hävitetty" was released in January 2007 Spikefarm must've been worried about the band being forgotten with new Viking bands seemingly emerging every week onto the scene.
Well there's no chance of that happening given the massive esteem many people hold Moonsorrow, one of the earlier bands playing this style don't forget, in. I say 'many people' because the band has never quite done it for me despite the obvious brilliance and elegance found in albums like "Voimasta Ja Kunniasta". There is no resting on genres clichés or hollow drunken fun for Moonsorrow as is common to the genre, but an album here full of serious, epic Viking/pagan metal that references Bathory, of course, and old Enslaved, but which also reveals the influence they have had on the likes of Turisas and Thyrfing in more recent times.
In my notes on my first listen I wrote that opening instrumental track, "Tyven", sounds like 'either the introduction to a Nightwish album or a seafarers expedition' and I will stand by this a number of listens later. The following 5 songs proper roll at a mid-pace, with plenty of concessions made for the building up of a necessary atmosphere to accompany the feel Moonsorrow look to accompany their music. Vocals vary between deep choral chanted passages (see "Sankaritarina") used frequently by Turisas, and the more common BM-influenced shriek, exemplified by bands like Thyrfing or Manegarm. With all 5 main songs topping 7 minutes the song structures are complex, fitting in numerous passages before their termination and requiring a few listens just to begin to appreciate the depth to the recording, as the passion inherently involved is certainly worthy of your time.
I myself however have failed to get massively excited about "Voimasta Ja Kunniasta". "Kylän Päässä" in the middle of the album is a very good song and the most involving part of the album but as any Moonsorrow album is a veritable adventure to remote lands and with it a highly demanding listen, they are by no means a band for everyone. The apparent admiration for "Voimasta Ja Kunniasta" is understandable, and hopefully something I'll discover in the future, but for now an album that never seems to really get going amongst all the scene-setting will still get a more than solid mark.
Originally written for Rockfreaks.net