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What a Journey - 100%

Haevitetty, May 12th, 2010

A 100% is the highest score that can be awarded. Theoretically, it signifies that no improvements can be made and that it is essentially flawless. However, this is not possible. Humans are flawed and will never create something that is perfect. Thus, I award the fabled 100% to albums that just... deserve it. There are not many of these. But some jump out at you immediately, grab you by the balls or ovaries, and shake you furiously. “Give me 100%!” You cannot disagree. When the last few minutes of this album wrap up, the feeling is indescribable – you can sit motionless for an hour, reminiscing how incredibly powerful what you just heard was. It is unjust to give anything but a 100% to this album.

You're probably thinking, “wow, you must have a raging boner over this album, after all, your username is named after it!” Well, you're right. But hear me out. There are two songs on this album, totaling almost an hour of Pagan bliss. They are not eight minute songs stretched out and repeated to be thirty minutes long, nor are they a series of four minutes song awkwardly combined into a single thirty minute song. They are thirty minute songs. It was a natural progression for Moonsorrow. The songs flow, build up, release their energy, and all the riffs and melodies are related, extrapolated from each other. There is never a boring moment, never a riff that is repeated for too long. If you have the attention span, the sheer size of the content in this album is incredibly rewarding if you hear it out. And with such vivid, interesting songs, it's not too hard to pay attention.

The folkish elements, continuing along the path that Verisakeet started, are downplayed, woven deeper into the song structures and riffs, instead of in-your-face folk instruments and folkish melodies. Accordions, tin whistles, and the 12-string guitar still make appearances here, especially in the second song, but they are not the focal, slightly gimmicky aspect of the music. V: Havitetty is far more blackened than the albums preceding it, touching more upon Moonsorrow's roots, especially in the second song, where there are plenty of blast beats. Moonsorrow has matured, but not in a inoffensive, radio-friendly fashion. They masterfully weave folkish elements through their epic song structures, combining a staggering amount of sounds together, creating a sound so wholly satisfying and epic that few bands have emulated. The songs build up perfectly, climax several times, and send you through ups and downs. Yet they have gotten more inaccessible, more extreme, heavier, faster... They really care about the music, not the money.

Moonsorrow never really flaunts their instrumental abilities. The guitar work focuses on atmosphere, not technicality, and the drums focus more on providing a strong percussive backing to the music. Mitja can tremolo pick fast when he needs to, Marko can double-bass at blistering speeds when it is called for – but only if it is necessary. This creates a more cohesive, controlled atmosphere. The face that there is but one guitar solo on the album is a testament to this, and needless to say, there is nothing flashy about the guitar solo. A pleasant surprise in the instrumentation compared to past albums was the bass – it's louder, fatter, and adds a lot more to the music than previous efforts. Ville Sorvali really stepped up his game on the bass, and his vocals remain as powerful, interesting, emotional, and impressive as ever. The shrieks in the second song, in particular, are goosebump-inducing.

Really, what more can I write? If you really appreciate music, go check out this album. It may take a few listens, but it's an incredible, powerful journey that is wholly satisfying. By the time the last riff is fading away, you wish it could last forever...