Moonsorrow
Jumalten Aika


4.5
superb

Review

by emester USER (15 Reviews)
April 1st, 2016 | 731 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Showing the little guys how it's done

Over the past couple of years, the folk metal style has been taking a turn for the worse. While this doesn’t exactly mean that genre is incapable of producing anymore fresh material such as Saor’s Aura and Primordial’s Where Greater Men Have Fallen, there is no denying that there exists a substantial shortage of works of comparable quality in the sub genre. To further clarify what I exactly mean, the passion and vigor some folk metal bands of the 90s and 00s had with their music seems to tower over that seen in bands emerging on the scene currently. For many people, the very label of folk metal has festered into a derogatory classification rather than a style or craft, becoming synonymous with putting style above substance. Despite this, the style only seems to be getting more popular, with the existence of so many projects leading to oversaturation in the scene and indistinguishable characteristics from band to band. This stylistic complacency could very well be folk metal’s personal death knell, as its identity crisis seems to be going full steam ahead.

When news came that Moonsorrow, one of the genre’s greats, were finally crafting a new record, I was quick to shrug any anticipation or excitement away, if I even had any to begin with. Even with Moonsorrow going at it once again, my cynicism and displeasure with the genre’s current state made even the biggest announcement possible mean next to nothing for me. Add that to the fact that the band’s last LP, Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa, did show them at their lowest point yet, and I had all the reasoning to scoff at any possibility of success with the new record. With Jumalten Aika being released, I’ve come to a conclusion…

Never blindly berate something without any evidence in front of you.

I say this because not only did Aika exceed my expectations, it very well may have overtook
Kivenkantaja as what I consider Moonsorrow’s greatest record.

A good chunk of folk metal bands are plagued by a tendency to overcompensate and cram in as much instrumental grandeur humanly possible to invoke a sense of vast sonic scale to the listener. While the epic sound and scenarios of the sub genre call for this trait to be inherent and understandable, the way so many artists approach this matter only ends up being a detriment to the end product, creating works that feel unfocused and rife with unfulfilled satisfaction. Once the intro to the title track concludes, the band explodes into a pummeling barrage of guitars, marching percussion paired with echoing kicks and surprisingly animalistic vocal work. After a slight bit of contemplation and analysis, it finally hit me. There is more metal than folk going on. Folk instrumentation itself is a frequently misused asset of numerous bands. The emphasis on writing music around these textures only leads way to haphazard creations or even abominations of songwriting. On Jumalten Aika, on the other hand, Moonsorrow seem to build their music upon a foundation of conventional metal instrumentation with the guitars, bass and drum kit taking precedence above all. The folk instrumentation is then seamlessly incorporated which in turn creates music that is enhanced by details rather than defined by them.

From here on out, Jumalten Aika is a near constant stream of quality and adrenaline. Each track has specific characteristics within it that adds personality and diversity to the overall listening experience. The atmospheric refrains scattered throughout “Ruttoletho incl. päivättömän päivän kansa” act as perfect means of spacing and sustaining listener immersion through the monolithic track. The rapid and airy tremolo riffs in the phenomenal “Mimisbrunn” have very distinct similarities to the tremolo heavy Cascadian black metal style, offering up a nice surprise to the listener and only further beckoning one to continue listening to the album.

Jumalten Aika concludes with “Ihmisen aika (kumarrus pimeyteen)," a track that fires on all cylinders to create a sense of grandeur unmatched by anything in my recent memory while still maintaining focus. Even with the folk instrumentation taking more of an upfront position in the track, the modern instruments still conduct the flow of the songs themselves. The very notion that a folk metal band can understand the concept of restraint is quite baffling to me, even after listening to Jumalten Aika. While much of modern folk metal is still plagued with this emphasis on style over substance, flickers of hope toward the genre regaining its integrity now feel more possible than ever. In the end, it took one of the defining figureheads of the style to defy the very tropes of folk metal in order to reinvigorate life and passion to the ailing subgenre.



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user ratings (372)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
DoctorVelvet (2.5)
Doing hardly anything wrong does not always mean things have been done right....


Comments:Add a Comment 
emester
April 1st 2016


8181 Comments


I may be posting this a little early but the official release date is today in spite of a stream still not being up according to my knowledge.

Also huge thanks to my girlfriend for editing my shitty grammar on this!

InFlamesWeThrash666
April 1st 2016


6976 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review dude. Album is simply incredible

Digging: Kawir - Exilasmos

Flugmorph
April 1st 2016


17436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

oh theres an review now

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

DarkNoctus
April 1st 2016


10068 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

aoty so far



moonsorrow were my first metal band and i'm quite frankly baffled they're still writing music this compelling so many years later



i'm frankly jealous

Flugmorph
April 1st 2016


17436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

thats the most unusual "first metal band" i've ever encountered quite frankly

Flugmorph
April 1st 2016


17436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

well reviewed man. enjoyed the read a lot. seldom have i seen such a well worded review, maybe it's even to much for its own good.

Crysis
Emeritus
April 1st 2016


17288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the last two tracks are masterpieces

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
April 1st 2016


10869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh I will definitely get on this, folk metal is my shit. Great review man, it was an entertaining read.



1 catch:

"unmatched by nothing else in my" *(either unmatched by anything, or matched by nothing else...)





Digging: Russkaja - Energia!

Dmax28
April 1st 2016


365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I didn't realize folk metal was in such a decline. Is Wilderun's "Sleep at the Edge of the Earth" an album that has those short comings you are talking about? Sounds like it might.



I personally loved that album, and as my first Moonsorrow album, I love this too.



It is a testament to how great the material is that I see myself coming back to it many more times despite how long the songs are. What Moonsorrow album should I check out next?

ChoccyPhilly
April 1st 2016


11667 Comments


The sput hype has undeniably piqued my interest

Digging: Thantifaxath - Void Masquerading as Matter

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
April 1st 2016


10869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yo Dmax, check out Eluveitie - Origins, Equilibrium - Erdentempel and Tyr - Valkyrja



My three favourite folk/Viking albums of the last couple years. First one is straight up folk/melodeath, second is orchestral/folky/black stuff and the last is folk influcned in terms of songwriting and atmosphere but without the flutes and fiddles etc.

emester
April 1st 2016


8181 Comments


Yeah, I find Wilderun is one of the key examples of the current issue. The whole concept of overcompensating and putting detail before structure is one that is very detrimental to any sort of musical style. With this becoming the expected norm for a genre, less and less effort will be needed to make something the public will eat up. Even in regards to sound, beauty is still only skin deep.

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
April 1st 2016


19975 Comments


gonna have to check this

ace review

Dmax28
April 1st 2016


365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Emester - Yea I got you. Parts just don't have the same impact when there aren't put in a meaningful structure. I run into that a lot with death metal. Some artists pull it off pretty well IMO but I am always thrilled to see great music with recognizable structure, that is still more than what could really be called a pop template.



ScuroFantasma - Oh man I have been all over Erdentempel. I've listened to it many times. So damn good. I've never heard the other two bands though, except for that one Call of The Mountain poppy track from Eluveitie. I've heard that most of their stuff isn't like that though. Thanks for the recs! Folk metal and neo-folk atmospheric stuff have quickly become among my favorite genres.

And cheers for Moonsorrow.

bowlofsoup
April 1st 2016


1215 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome review man. Been listening to this all day

Alastor
April 2nd 2016


1773 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Moonsorrow has a special place in my heart no other pagan/folk metal band has yet conquered.



This album brings back the glorious anthems of VjK and Kivenkantaja and mixes it with the sorrowful outbursts of Verisäkeet and Hävitetty, and I'm more than happy with the result.

DarkNoctus
April 2nd 2016


10068 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

thats the most unusual "first metal band" i've ever encountered quite frankly




haha so i was playing an old mmo and we were discussing music and this girl was like "yeah my favourite band is moonsorrow... you probably haven't heard of them", most likely just trying to name a really obscure band to avoid conversation



so i decided to listen to them and it blew my mind. from mostly a generic rock listener to then jump into 'jotunheim' was a mind blowing experience.

Alastor
April 2nd 2016


1773 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Jumping into 'jotunheim' is always a mind blowing experience.

DarkNoctus
April 2nd 2016


10068 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

^that



from there i got a bunch of moonsorrow records and a summoning record because they were recommended with them



more or less changed my life, as much as i hate cheesy statements like that



then i wrote a record and it's pretty okay and i recorded it 8 years later haaa

Flugmorph
April 2nd 2016


17436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

awesome



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