Moonsorrow
Jumalten aika


2.5
average

Review

by DoctorVelvet USER (9 Reviews)
April 16th, 2016 | 39 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Doing hardly anything wrong does not always mean things have been done right.

Moonsorrow has been in the folk metal scene for fifteen years now and this has been no time wasted, evidenced by the band’s esteemed reputation and catalogue of highly regarded albums. Formed in Helsinki, Finland in 1995, the band took time to musically refine themselves before finally releasing their first LP in 2001. Since then, Moonsorrow have carved out for themselves a phenomenal presence in the niche genre of folk metal and have acquired phenomenal respect on an international scale, made even more impressive by the fact that Moonsorrow present everything in Finnish, from their lyrics to even all of their song and album titles. From a business standpoint, this move is bold at best. It is idiotic at worst. But not only did Moonsorrow beat the odds by gaining global fame anyway, the decision speaks strongly to their integrity as musicians. Wanting to keep things consistent with their thematic focus on Finnish folklore, Moonsorrow forgoes no sacrifice in the way of keeping true to their artistic goals.

One thing that can be deduced is the extent to which Moonsorrow’s music speaks for itself. The band began their career by churning out a brand of folk metal that was blackened and intense, but triumphant and uplifting. 2001’s Voimasta Ja Kunniasta and 2003’s Kivenkantaja impressed the metal community with complex songwriting and awe-inspiring passages. 2005’s Verisakeet and 2007’s V: Havitetty left even more jaws agape, but musically the band’s music was starting to shift more in the direction of black metal; tonally they were becoming darker, more aggressive, and less folky, and amazingly their songs were getting even longer (rather than sitting on and just under the ten minute mark, their album V: Havitetty was comprised of two tracks totaling 56 minutes).

If these changes in musical direction could realistically point to something, it would be that Moonsorrow were making every effort to alienate as many potential fans as possible. As is typical with this band, the only thing that occurred was the contrary: these two aforementioned albums would become some of their most praised work. In 2011, Moonsorrow released Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa, an album that for the first time in their career was not hailed as a masterpiece. This is not to say it was received poorly; it was merely not to the same standard as previous releases and it was accused by some as having too much filler and being not as musically focused.
Moonsorrow would then take the next five years to release their follow-up album, Jumalten Aika.

Unfortunately, Jumalten Aika is not the redeemer of a release that many have surely hoped for. Perhaps one’s first listen would yield a platter of ideas that on the surface seem exactly like something Moonsorrow should be doing. The first point to make is that this album sounds to be an amalgam of all the styles of previous Moonsorrow albums, to the point where it can be pondered if the band intentionally set out with this plan. As Moonsorrow’s career can readily be summarized as consisting primarily of two eras, one defined by epic melody and the other by darkness and aggression, a ready convenience for the sake of comparison is to focus on one album from each era. So along these lines, Jumalten Aika can be accurately judged as a stylistic blend between Kivenkantaja and Verisakeet. Again, on the surface, a callback like this may come across as the best of both worlds being merged together, and truly, the band did succeed in doing this. However, it is incredibly unfortunate that they failed in their execution. Going beyond the surface of the mere greater concept, the music itself, reduced to simplest terms, feels ho hum. It is a blend of all past Moonsorrow styles, yes, but it is nowhere near the perfect marriage it could have been. Rather, it is a blend that fails to bring to mind genuine inspiration and is one such that the music feels like it sits awkwardly in the middle between these two albums (Kivenkantaja and Verisakeet), without truly doing all that much. Rather than combine the best traits of those albums with one another, Jumalten Aika feels only like a mix of the most general ideas of each. So, yes, it is fairly melodic a la Kivenkantaja, but not nearly as catchy or grandiose; similarly, it is fairly riff-oriented and atmospheric a la Verisakeet, but not as powerful or dynamic.

The infuriating thing is that Jumalten Aika actually comes really close on several occasions to actually hitting that greater level. Sometimes it really feels like things are finally about to enter a higher gear, but this never happens and the listener is repeatedly left with hardly more than a tease. For instance, the choirs/chants in “Ruttolehto” and “Ihmisen Aika” are epic and are sonically and texturally perfect, but they deliver subpar melodies. “Suden Tunti,” the album’s shortest track, plods along at a slow-mid tempo for most of its duration, and does eventually build logically to a crescendo, but the climax consists of a bizarre chord progression that fails to deliver something resolute or even reminiscent of a payout. The listener is toyed with anticipation but ultimately comes away feeling cheated.

But a strange dimension to this album is the feeling of internal conflict one gets after a full listen. This is likely due to it being not at all horrible enough to truly come away with defined complaints. One skill Moonsorrow is known for is their incredibly songwriting abilities; they have a true talent for writing songs of gargantuan length that never end up feeling as long as they are. To be able to write fifteen-minute songs that do not feel like they drag is something that is rare to witness. Moonsorrow have not at all deviated from this talent on Jumalten Aika, despite it containing some of the longest songs they have ever written. And it may be logical to assume that because the album’s long songs flow in true Moonsorrow fashion, it is a part of why it is so difficult to pinpoint why the album feels unsuccessful. It truly does so little wrong, just as it does so little right. Thus, it produces an emotional limbo where one hardly know what to feel.

Perhaps this blend of previous styles was in fact intentional, but so much so that it resulted in sounding forced, as opposed to having been reached as a part of Moonsorrow’s natural progression in their career. It may be possible that after the moderate disappointment of their 2011 release, they wanted the odds to be on their side and thus revisited (and combined) their older, proven successful styles. Though this is an interesting thing to consider, it is important to note that it is pure conjecture.

Listening to Jumalten Aika is like enduring a perpetual itch, but after holding out for 67 minutes the right spot never end up getting scratched. It is almost as if Moonsorrow wanted so badly to revisit their older material so as to make something that had to be great, and perhaps it should be mentioned that many fans of the band might actually end up satisfied with what has been delivered, but by playing it so safe, Moonsorrow have (for possibly the first time) not undergone any type of musical exploration, and thus have not made much of a statement with Jumalten Aika.




Recent reviews by this author
Opeth OrchidNokturnal Mortum Verity
Cryptopsy The Book of Suffering - Tome 1Seventh Wonder Mercy Falls
Equilibrium ErdentempelHeavenly Dust To Dust
user ratings (423)
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
DoctorVelvet
April 16th 2016


180 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Negged within 2 minutes of submitting this. As if someone actually read this in 2 minutes lol. Opinions really are scary, aren't they?

Crysis
Emeritus
April 16th 2016


17476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the fact that Moonsorrow present everything in Finnish, from their lyrics to even all of their song and album titles. From a business standpoint, this move is bold at best. It is idiotic at worst.




This is stupid. It isn't bold or idiotic to write lyrics in your native language. Even from a business standpoint, in a genre like folk metal it is VERY common to have non-English lyrics, to the point where it is basically a non-issue. This album is number one currently on the Finnish charts, and there are tons of very successful bands who write lyrics in Finnish.



I'm confused with your reasoning as to why you dislike this. You're faulting this album heavily because it isn't a clone of Kivenkantaja or Verisakeet when it isn't meant to be in any way shape or form. Saying that this record sounds like Moonsorrow wants to backtrack is ridiculous, they have never once been a band to hinge on regression, something you say outright in the review when you mention their constant evolution toward darker, black-metal influenced sounds. You are claiming that it puts you into "emotional limbo" yet the final two tracks (which you fail to mention at all) are prime examples of "entering a higher gear", something you say the album never does. "Mimisbrunn" is the most dynamic, fulfilling, and realized track this band has released in a very long time.





Digging: Paysage d'Hiver - Im Wald

Crysis
Emeritus
April 16th 2016


17476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

As for the review itself, I find it lacking substance. You talk for ages and ages about how this album isn't satisfying and how it only sounds like Moonsorrow are seeking regression and aren't firing on all cylinders, yet the only concrete analysis done in the entire 1233 words of this review is this one sentence:



For instance, the choirs/chants in “Ruttolehto” and “Ihmisen Aika” are epic and are sonically and texturally perfect, but they deliver subpar melodies. “Suden Tunti,” the album’s shortest track, plods along at a slow-mid tempo for most of its duration, and does eventually build logically to a crescendo, but the climax consists of a bizarre chord progression that fails to deliver something resolute or even reminiscent of a payout.


SCREAM!
April 16th 2016


15756 Comments


"You're faulting this album heavily because it isn't a clone of Kivenkantaja or Verisakeet when it isn't meant to be in any way shape or form. Saying that this record sounds like Moonsorrow wants to backtrack is ridiculous, they have never once been a band to hinge on regression, something you say outright in the review when you mention their constant evolution toward darker, black-metal influenced sounds."

Kind of overly harsh. He explains the backtracking well enough by saying this sounds like a cross between Kivenkantaja and Verisakeet which would involve backtracking as those are earlier albums. Also he faults the album for falling between those two albums style-wise without and consequentially not reaching the same height as either style. Falling in a sort of valley between both peaks.

Obviously I don't agree and the review could have been better and more detailed but come on man.

Crysis
Emeritus
April 16th 2016


17476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't find it overly harsh. It appears to me that he claims this record doesn't reach those heights because it doesn't commit enough to executing on either style. You cannot fault a record for not being a perfect stylistic blend of two old albums when it is doubtful the band intended to even do something like that in the first place. If he actually took the time to back up his claims of poor execution I would be more lenient on him but making such a broad claim without backing up your opinion with concrete examples is worth calling out.



My argument is that he is fundamentally wrong in so strongly and directly comparing this to Verisakeet and Kivenkantaja, thus I claim his backtracking argument to also be wrong. Personally, I think this bears many significant differences from their other albums, especially Kivenkantaja. The parallels between this album and that I believe to be rather thin.

DoctorVelvet
April 16th 2016


180 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"This is stupid. It isn't bold or idiotic to write lyrics in your native language. Even from a business standpoint, in a genre like folk metal it is VERY common to have non-English lyrics, to the point where it is basically a non-issue. This album is number one currently on the Finnish charts, and there are tons of very successful bands who write lyrics in Finnish."



...I think you completely understood the point I was making with that paragraph. Either that, or you completely ignored the next few lines which said Moonsorrow beat the odds by gaining global fame anyway, the decision speaks strongly to their integrity as musicians." I am not even remotely faulting them for writing lyrics in Finnish. And you can't begin to say with a straight face that the majority of European bands write in their native tongues. Statistically/factually, most of them write in English. That's not say that Moonsorrow writing in Finnish isn't the most uncommon choice in the world, as it definitely happens. But the idea of this paragraph had solely to do with singing praise for the band. It's just an odd part of the review to harp on (for the reasons you did).



As for the rest of your first comment, I thoroughly appreciate SCREAM! for rebutting it better than I even could. I feel like I thoroughly explained those things you took issue with. And a lot of your complaint in this paragraph is almost exactly you just saying "No, I don't think it's like this so it's not like this."



I will fully agree with any comment that criticize the review for lacking when it comes to specific detail. There is also a lot of useless fluff and repetition in the review. I churned this out very quickly last night to submit as a product review for a media course I'm in (had to hit 1500 words). I figured I'd also share it here, but there are definitely some glaring issues with the review, despite it reflecting my general opinion.









DoctorVelvet
April 16th 2016


180 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"My argument is that he is fundamentally wrong in so strongly and directly comparing this to Verisakeet and Kivenkantaja, thus I claim his backtracking argument to also be wrong. Personally, I think this bears many significant differences from their other albums, especially Kivenkantaja. The parallels between this album and that I believe to be rather thin."



You are one of the very few, if not the only person I've ever come across who is making a point to completely discount a comparison between Jumalten Aika and Moonsorrow's more melodic stuff, like Kivenkantaja. This album draws on a TON of Moonsorrow's melodic roots from older albums, and I included in the review that I picked Kivenkantaja as the album to summarize that. There are enough people that specifically reference that album with Kivenkantaja that for you to outright state "your argument is wrong" is not only arrogant, but ignorant.

Crysis
Emeritus
April 16th 2016


17476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You are reading between the lines. Nowhere do I state that the majority of European bands write in their native language. I was simply stating that making the general claim that Moonsorrow somehow "beat the odds" by being successful yet also writing in Finnish is a weak argument in a genre like folk metal where the very point of the entire genre is to reflect the culture of your native land.



And a lot of your complaint in this paragraph is almost exactly you just saying "No, I don't think it's like this so it's not like this."




You are right. That's exactly what I'm saying. That is the entire point of argument - to say I don't think it is as you claim. I believe you are wrong in comparing this so directly and specifically with Verisakeet and Kivenkantaja. Even in its most folk-laden moments ("Ruttolehto"), the record never begins to approach what Kivenkantaja brought forth in terms of heavy-handed folk "cheese" (maybe this is why you think Jumalten Aika doesn't live up to Kivenkantaja?), and it doesn't try to craft atmosphere as carefully and precisely as Verisakeet did. To me, this is a more straight-forward, direct folk metal record with a strong emphasis on heaviness and guitar riffs that aren't necessarily complex or melodious but sharp, simplistic, and effective. Verisakeet and Kivenkantaja do not strive to be this forthright in their atmospheric intentions, they instead go for a more hard to achieve, grandiose, airy feel. This is directly opposite to that: close, restrained, thick, and pervasive.



Please provide a counter-argument, because you review did not and all you are telling me here is that I'm ignorant and wrong because my view of this record isn't the same one as many others. I just want to know why you think what you think.

Crysis
Emeritus
April 16th 2016


17476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

There are enough people that specifically reference that album with Kivenkantaja that for you to outright state "your argument is wrong" is not only arrogant, but ignorant.




Funny how someone who got angry for getting negged for having a different opinion is so quick to call someone who has a different opinion arrogant and ignorant.



I feel like I thoroughly explained those things you took issue with.




That's half the reason I bothered posting and starting this whole thing in the first place: your review explained little. You go into almost no detail about how this parallels with those two albums and why it falls short. I wouldn't have said anything if you had explained your reasoning well enough in the review.



By the way, this falls short of your 1500 words needed for your course.

Alastor
April 16th 2016


2137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

When looking at Doc Velvet's Moonsorrow ratings, it seems like they already lost him at Verisäkeet.

SCREAM!
April 16th 2016


15756 Comments


I do agree with crysis about the language thing. Folk metal and black metal are probably two of the genres where writing in your native language is the most common so it isn't particularly bold or idiotic for a band that combines both to do so.

Otherwise though, I think the review could have gone more in depth with mentioning specific moments or songs as examples of your points but you did a decent job with describing the general sound of the album.

Asmodeuss1990
April 17th 2016


370 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Negged because review is shit.



I HOPE ALL THE SOFT DRINKS YOU CONSUME FOR THE NEXT YEAR ALL TASTE FLAT.

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2016


11774 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review I think, although I take issue with two statements. The first is the langiage thing which has already been talked about, the second;



"but musically the band’s music was starting to shift more in the direction of black metal; tonally they were becoming darker, more aggressive, and less folky, and amazingly their songs were getting even longer (rather than sitting on and just under the ten minute mark, their album V: Havitetty was comprised of two tracks totaling 56 minutes).



If these changes in musical direction could realistically point to something, it would be that Moonsorrow were making every effort to alienate as many potential fans as possible."



I disagree with this becuase grandiose, larger-than-life atmosphere is something that's really common with this kind of music, so longer tracks aren't really alienating (also that's a pretty bad goal for a band to have anyway), they're just taking things further.



Either way, I think this is a good write-up for the most part, lacks some direction though and a lot of fat could be trimmed but you make some good points.

FearThyEvil
April 17th 2016


17213 Comments


I haven't read the review but personally this album isn't clicking with me much at all. I really want to like this though

Dizchu
April 17th 2016


288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I wouldn't say that it's a poorly written review but I wouldn't say it's particularly great either.



Judging by your ratings though it does seem that this wasn't going to be your cup of tea to begin with. Kinda like rating Kid A 1.5 because it wasn't like OK Computer.

siIverspawn
April 17th 2016


129 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh hey a negative review, interesting.



"I wouldn't say that it's a poorly written review but I wouldn't say it's particularly great either."



Pretty much. Though honestly I think there are no shortage of reviews that are worse and are received with next to no negativity. I agree with it lacking in substance a bit; the writing style itself is smooth.



I also agree with a fair portion of the points you made. I really just think the album lacks a clear vision and a purpose.



Oh, and I completely agree that writing in finish is a decision we should applaud.

emester
April 17th 2016


8271 Comments


I mean the guy can definitely write thats for sure, but I dont think his points make much sense or even relay back to being valid complaints about the album. Making a claim and using "because it is" as your reasoning is a pretty big misstep. Present evidence rather than just say that you have it.

Also there's a ton of fluff in the writing here, which I also am extremely guilty of in how I write reviews or pretty much anything. Sure it sounds pretty in your head but try to read this aloud and tell me it doesn't sound conceded or snobbish when heard.

As I said before, you definitely write well, but as you said before, you just quickly cranked this review out, which explains all of the glaring problems.

fuckinghostile
April 17th 2016


74 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I dont have a problem with this review at all, many of the points I have to agree with. Especially them revisiting their older pre-Verisakeet stuff (to the point where u can almost hear the same fucking riffs), and I also have to agree with the statement that this mix of pre/post Verisakeet style is unfortunate, aaand I also have to agree that the execution is there, but the melodies and riffs arent as nailed as they might have been.



What I have to disagree with is the language thing and the rating. Even though for me personally is a not as sonically perfect as all of their post Kivenkantaja releases, its still a 4 for me.



The most dissapointing thing in this album imo is the feeling of stagnation of the band. After 5 years I was hyped as fuck only to be left to admit that this time around they didnt really progress anywhere (maybe productionwise)..



I think on the next one they could maybe strip their sound a bit. I think it would be interesting to hear a MS album with much less instruments and atmospherics and choirs. Heck, Id even leave the atmospherics, interludes and all that shit out alltogether. Or create atmospherics with guitars or keyboards, doesnt need to be fucking crows again.. Choirs to use only when really needed.. And go more black, or prog. Just pick a direction and make a tighter sounding album..



Oh and btw, Suden Tunti is the most interesting song of this album. Mainly because it sounds fresh and a bit different from what theyve done before...







AsleepInTheBack
Contributing Reviewer
April 17th 2016


6498 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well written review, but I agree with some of the comments. You seem to state the same point over and over, that it takes elements from several of their past projects and combines them, without really discussing in detail why that's such a big issue. I mean you do elaborate on it, but the review seems to focus far more on stating your argument rather than explaining/actually making an argument.



Part of the problem could be that it reads like a 3 or 3.5, as most of what you're saying seems to be that it's a really good album but not the best you've heard from moonsorrow, or that you don't love the blend they've gone for.



Still a solid review, just think a few tweaks to focus your argument could have helped

Dizchu
April 18th 2016


288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

If you dislike the album you dislike it, that's fair enough. But it kinda feels like you're missing the point of Moonsorrow's post-Kivenkantaja material.



Now I know how this argument might sound, it could be seen like saying "you can't rate this Emmure album a 1 because you just don't understand the juns, man". But you say that Moonsorrow are intentionally trying to alienate listeners with their post-Kivenkantaja sound when in reality they only seem to have alienated you.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy