Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Moonsorrow - Jumalten Aika

Moonsorrow, that band that gives my music library classification scheme a massive headache by trying to figure out what the hell genre they really are, has a new album! After a 5 year gap since Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa (which is nearly as long as it took me to write this post, thanks grad school), we get Jumalten aika. As one comes to expect with Moonsorrow, you have a 66 minute album consisting of 5 tracks, and it's generally best to listen to the album as a whole experience rather than isolating individual tracks. At least, that's my own experience with this Finnish quintet.

Jumalten aika represents a step back in a much folkier direction for Moonsorrow. While Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa was a great album in its own right, it featured a much more stripped down sound than its successor. Jumalten aika is about as strangely opposite of that as you can get, with pretty much constant backing from (going off the Metal Archives lineup credits) keyboards, an accordian, a jaw harp, a recorder, and a tin whistle. Then throw in a backing choir for good measure.

And the effect is amazing. This is what epic folk metal is supposed to sound like.

The sound of the album throughout feels, for lack of a better term, big. The production is excellent over the entire album, such that none of the instrumental variety is drowned out. Like ogres and onions, this album has layers, and the more I listen and pick those layers apart, the more I enjoy it. Nothing feels out of place or excessive, so massive credit to the album producers as well.

One thing I personally love about Moonsorrow is that it's very easy to just get lost in the music. First, they use very rough vocals that almost become a part of the music itself. Second, they sing in Finnish, so I can't understand a damn thing they say regardless of vocal style. A big part of this, of course, is that the mixing emphasizes the instruments over the vocals, a style that I personally tend to approve of.

So far, this is my favorite album of the year, even this long after it originally came out.

Final Verdict: 4.5/5 iron atoms

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