Recorded and mixed at Tico Tico Studio. Mastered at Finnvox Studios. Released on Spikefarm Records, 2001.
I’m going to be honest, I enjoyed this album a lot more than I expected to. Besides Skyclad there isn’t a great deal of folk metal that has interested me. I’ve found a lot of it to be too folk and not enough metal.
Moonsorrow, however, seem to have got the balance just right. Seemingly Moonsorrow, whose name was inspired by the Celtic Frost song “Sorrows of the Moon”, started out as a black metal band that slowly introduced folk elements.
The album opens with “Tyven” which is a pretty and gentle instrumental track with a mediaeval feel to it.
“Sankarihauta” has a bit more of a kick to it, right from the start. The same rhythm drives the song right through to the end, with keyboards dancing around the main riff. About two thirds of the way through it morphs into a galloping break with choral shouts before it breaks down again and returns to the original pattern.
“Kylän päässä” opens with a heavy grinding riff that reminded me of Iron Maiden’s “The Flight of Icarus”. What I do like about this track, as well as many of the others, are the little incidentals: the clashing swords, the boing-boing-boing of a mouth harp. And, of course, the handclaps. Everyone in the band gets a credit for handclaps. Let’s give them all a round of applause.
“Hiidenpelto including Häpeän hiljaiset vedet” and the songs are slowly growing in length and complexity. This is a slower, more ponderous number with mutteringly shouted vocals.
“Aurinko ja kuu” is started by an acoustic guitar and mouth harp. Soon the keyboards comes in, sounding like a flute, the rest of the band follows quickly after. This track has a bouncy folk feel.
“Sankaritarina” has a quiet beginning: just the sound of waves crashing on rocks. Like a dawn it quietly and slowly comes to life to the hiss and pop of vinyl. This song sounds triumphant and noble. The vocals are semi-spoken just beneath the music, until halfway when a chorus takes up the cause. And then it fades out, as slowly and as steadily as it arrived.
All in all, a very pleasant discovery. I’ll definitely be choosing to listen to this again.
Review score: 95%