Looks like Century Media is attempting to define themselves as a metal label once again. The label added Finnish folk metal pioneers, Moonsorrow to its repertoire last year. Moonsorrow released their first new album in five years mere days ago and the thing is more epic than Roman warriors fighting each other to the death. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to write this review.
Jumalten Aika is an orchestral epic that was too intense for merely a single disc. If you aren’t pagan, you will be after listening to this album. The CD is available in limited edition packs as a two disc set featuring disc one, Jumalten Aika, and disc two, a bonus disc with two tracks that should be mandatory listening along with the rest of the LP. All of the tracks on Jumalten Aika are of ridiculous length but keeping engaged in the music is hardly an issue as Moonsorrow manage to keep their sound interesting throughout the album. But isn’t that just Moonsorrow’s credo anyway?
The overall feel of Jumalten Aika isn’t wildly different from the band’s previous effort, Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa, or any of their earlier works really. What this is, is simply another Moonsorrow album; a classic in the making. The album kicks off with the title track, which begins with a folk inspired, tranquil intro and builds itself up slowly increasing in fervor throughout the track. Like a saga though, the album really begins at track two, Ruttolehto Sis Päivättömän Päivän Kansa. It is here that the album begins to sound a bit like a spirited game of Advanced D&D come to life.
The band strategically places folk laden interludes throughout the album. The expertly combined folk elements enhance the melodic elements well. Before you can get bored, Moonsorrow speeds things up. Their brand of “heaviness” may not be the most aggressive but it’s in perfect balance with the other elements of the sound. Disc 2 really gives listeners the heaviness they’re craving. Soulless exudes blackened dissonance in the sound of the guitar and the overall fullness of the sound. It’s also the shortest and most “single-worthy” track on the album. Mimisbrunn is another stand out track on the album because of its progression between melodic, prettier portions of the song that feature beautifully executed, clean vocals and more aggressive passages. But one could say that about any of the songs on the album. Each is an epic in and of itself.
The only fault I could find (and I really have to grasp at straws to find any fault with this album) is the spotlessness of the production. I feel as though the album would be more powerful if the production were a bit more stripped down. That’s probably just a symptom of the band being on a huge label though. What I enjoyed most about Jumalten Aika, however, was Moonsorrow’s complete immersion into folk music periodically throughout the album. Their approach was unapologetically straight forward.
Ville Seponpoika Sorvali’s harsh vocals added an unexpected fervor to the sound of the album. His vocals, coupled with, a bombastic, orchestral interludes, as well as slow and emotive passages creates a sheer masterpiece. I highly recommend this album to both fans of Moonsorrow, and people who might not know Moonsorrow but dig epic/folk along the lines of later Bathory, Summoning, or Falkenbach. It shouldn’t disappoint.