Review Summary: Quite simply, one of the best combinations of black/folk metal you'll ever hear.
First off, take every preconception you have about the folk metal genre. Cheesy lyrics" Get rid of them. The happy, upbeat dance around the tavern melodies" Throw them under a car. The often ridiculous and over the top inclusion of symphonies and all sorts of other instruments" Yeah, away with it. But with all that gone, where would it leave us" Well, replace the cheesy lyrics with ones written with some meaning, replace the upbeat melodies with moving and often jaw dropping melodies, and the inclusion of other instruments kept to a mature level, and you'd have the basic sound of V:Havitetty. It's a stunning journey filled with twists and turns that leave their impact well after the album has finished, and begs to be listened to over and over again.
Two songs both reaching over the 25 minutes mark (Jaasta Syntynyt / Varjojen Virta clocks in at 30 minutes, while Tuulen Ajettu Maa reaches 26 minutes) it can be a daunting album to listen to. For the first 7 minutes there isn't much going on. Sounds of a fire crackling, an acoustic being plucked away at, ominous keyboards played low in the background and light percussion all ease into the scene and slowly build up until around the six minute mark when the distortion kicks up and the drumming starts picking up the pace, an anguished howl makes its self noticed and before long the music in in full swing. It's a great build up that never really stops, through out the album you can tell something is brewing, some sort of huge emotional release and climax that'll make the journey worth it, and you'd be right. To get there however you'll have to stay with it, listening closely for the subtle changes in the scene and the numerous melodies played out. The attention to detail is staggering, really. The guitar tone sounds desolate, the drumming has a little echo to it and the howled/screamed vocals sound full of anguish. There is also a huge emphasis on atmosphere and emotion, one minute you'll imagine yourself in a snow covered, desolate wasteland and the next you'll be climbing a crumbling mountain.
It's the last few minutes to Tuulen Ajettu Maa however that really shine on through. Everything kicks up a notch, creating a huge and encompassing atmosphere, the melodies played are just simply stunning and the climax is something truly special. It eases itself out with the sounds of the fire dying, ending one of the best combinations of black and folk metal to date. Devastating, fulfilling and totally engrossing, Moonsorrow have no doubt created a once in a life time album, one that bands all crave but only a few really achieve.