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A Truly Epic Masterpiece - 96%

EpicGuitar, November 28th, 2011

Verisäkeet lies within the branch of those albums which you cannot describe due to their magnificent appeal or simply to their epic, timeless compositions. It's a truly wonderful experience, but I have to admit that I had to listen to it a lot of times before being able to fully describe it. This is obviously due to the complex structures of the music and that every song you go through brings a whole new story to tell. You just cannot get tired of this album, as every new listen makes you travel to a world of pagan wonders and epic journeys.

The way Verisäkeet has been divided into songs is a really important part of the work. It only contains 5 tracks, but the album clocks in at over 70 minutes of stunning folk/pagan metal. Moonsorrow has always been known for their long, epic songs, and this album is no exception to this tendency. It also appears to me that Verisäkeet was meant to be listened to as a whole; right after you're done with the first track, the second track comes in with a similar atmosphere, thus the compositions seem tied to each other. Nevertheless, they still can be listened to individually.

The music itself is of an unspeakable beauty. "Karhunkynsi" (Bearclaw) introduces the masterpiece with some atmospheric sounds, soon to be followed by pounding riffs that you won't forget. The drumming is very present and adds the feeling of despair and loss to the sound. The melodies are unbelievably beautiful and catchy while being part of more complex structures. The vocals are also a major element of this album with black metal-like shrieks that combine with folk metal chants. Even considering its fourteen minutes length, this track is not going to bore you at all, for the music is indeed very progressive. "Haaska" (Carrion) starts with a rather simple but effective acoustic riff that sounds Bathory-inspired even though it is unique in its own way. The song structure is yet again progressive (another fourteen minutes track here) with epic riffs and unforgettable melodies. This track is a bit slower with a more present use of keyboards. Sometimes the sound is very black metal-like with blast beats and tremolo picking, but becomes right after a lot more folk-inspired (mouth harp, flute, acoustic guitars, and other folk instruments). This is the essence of Moonsorrow: a very progressive, atmospheric sound that implies a perfect blend of genres.

Then comes "Pimeä" (Dark) which begins with a dark, atmospheric feeling and a very impressive scream by Ville Sorvali. This song is even more obscure than the prior compositions. The blend of folk instruments (mostly acoustic guitars and keyboards) with the heavily distorted guitars and bass is incredible. The despair and sorrow is brought perfectly by the screeching vocals and the guitars. The drums are also very nice here, bringing their share of the darkness sound. After going through this journey of fourteen minutes (again!) comes the best song of Verisäkeet, if you ask me. "Jotunheim" is an epic experience of blackened folk metal. Beginning with some bird sound (can't tell what it is), then going on with an incredibly beautiful acoustic riff, Jotunheim is the perfect match of folk instrumental music with black metal. It's the longest track here (a bit more than nineteen minutes), but this masterpiece cannot bore you at all. Again, it's very progressive with nice tempo and melody variations and the use of acoustic instruments in this song is completely amazing. Jotunheim is simply indescribable. Its catchy and melodic riffs along with more brutal aspects brings Moonsorrow to an absolutely new level of musical perfection.

"Kaiku" (Echo) is the last track here. To me, it sounds like an outro, simple as that. Some might find it boring because it's mostly animal sounds and atmospheric noises, but I think it deserves to be there. Of course it's not the most interesting song here, however I believe it's still worth listening to. It starts with a nice flute melody accompanied with acoustic guitars and some percussion which ends after about three minutes in a fade out. The remaining five minutes are basically noises of cracking fire and animals in the forest. Even with a lack of real instrumentation, Kaiku brings a nice closing atmosphere to the album. I, however, had to deduct some points here of course because five minutes of ambient noises sound a bit too long for me.

Verisäkeet is probably Moonsorrow's best release. It's an amazing blend of genres with melodic, folk, and more brutal aspects. While a bit different from their previous releases (a lot more black elements compared to the first release, which I find more folksy), Verisäkeet remains a completely fascinating experience. Fans of folk, pagan, black, or Viking metal should definitely get this.