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Suden Uni

Moonsorrow - Suden Uni ©2001 Plasmatica Records
1. Ukkosenjumalan Poika
2. Köyliönjärven Jäällä (Pakanavedet II)
3. Kuin Ikuinen
4. Tuulen Koti, Aaltojen Koti
5. Pakanajuhla
6. 1065: Aika
7. Suden Uni

Get out the broadswords and get ready to swing from the rafters! Finland's Moonsorrow is another of those chewy, gooey but oh-so-yummy folksy-symphonic gray metal bands who do nothing but ooze great epic music. Sounding a bit like a mix between their countrymen Finntroll and Throes of Dawn, Moonsorrow blends a perfect brew of "warrior" metal that makes one want to find a weapon of medieval nature and slay a few gila monsters.

Using the bouncy rhythms of folk, mouth harp and melodies that ooze eons of tradition, Moonsorrow crafts Suden Uni into a masterful piece of work. Their sense of polka-ish rhythms is nowhere near as Tigger-like as Finntroll's manic, frenzied approach, as Moonsorrow chooses to stick to mid-tempo pacing (with an occasional blastbeat to remind people that this isn't Finland Folk Festival music, but metal, dammit). The keyboards are never overpowering, rather adding an undercurrent of melody and smoothing out the music to create a mesmerizing flow. Vocally, there are little surprises to be had here with the raspy gray metal styled vocals and occasional clean chanting. The band's finest moments are found in what are truly simple passages that do nothing more than minutely move the entire song just a few notes. The enveloping atmosphere of the music is very rewarding.

Suden Uni is a successful venture in folkish, epic metal. It never crosses the line into the Warriors of Cheese, unlike far too many of their brethren. While fun and enjoyable to listen to, Suden Uni also comes across as a serious work that entices further listens. Maybe it's too pretty at times for the crustier of metal fans out there, but for the rest of us, Suden Uni is a fantastic piece of work.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2003

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Voimasta Ja Kunniasta

Moonsorrow - Voimasta Ja Kunniasta ©2001 Spikefarm
1. Tyven
2. Sankarihauta
3. Kylän Päässä
4. Hiidenpelto/Häpeän Hiljaiset Vedet
5. Aurinko ja Ku
6. Sankaritarina

Much like their impressive debut, Suden Uni, 2001's effort from Moonsorrow is a monstrously epic affair that brings out all the best elements of folk/pagan/majestic metal to create an excellent overall effort. Moonsorrow, being the wise old souls that they presumably are, must have realized that they were onto a very good sound and chose not to stray too far from their pasture. With songs all clocking in over seven minutes (with the exception of the opening intro), Moonsorrow presumably tempts fate with overburdened song structures, but with the help of their broadswords (and good songwriting skills), the Finnish band avoids the pitfalls that plague so many other bands who don't know when to quit in a song.

Many of the same elements from the debut are present: epic song structures, big choirs, folksy melodies. Moonsorrow again figures out ways to incorporate everything into the songs without becoming even remotely stale. At times, Voimasta Ja Kunniasta bears a resemblance to the atmosphere created by Bathory's Twilight of the Gods, but rather than meander through the general moroseness of that album, Moonsorrow wisely places triumphant keyboard passages at every turn so that you never forget victory will be at hand. I'm not entirely sure what constitutes victory for Moonsorrow, but they are most certainly in pursuit of it.

On their first two albums, Moonsorrow easily has hit the ball out of the park and presented to the world some of the finest metal of the folk-tinged variety. If you even have the slightest hankering to embrace victorious northern warrior culture, grow a very large beard, and perhaps gather around the longtable to discuss the day's battles, Moonsorrow is the band for you.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/2008

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