As we approach the Pagan holiday of the Winter Solstice, what better way to celebrate than some Pagan metal? Moonsorrow are a band that combines black metal and folk metal to create a unique blend that makes them stand out. “Jumalten Aika”, their most recent album, is a perfect example of that. And with songs pushing 10+ minutes, there’s no shortage of material on this album, which runs over an hour. “Jumalten Aika” opens up with a very ambient, folky opening before launching into some epic sounding black metal. This song, like most on this album, switches between folk and black, changing the pace and vibe of those songs. Each track on here feels like multiple songs, all tied together as one bigger piece. “Ruttolehto sis. Päivättömän päivän kansa” is next, and opens with chanting vocals, and on here, you’re not getting the typical chanting vocals. On here it feels ritualistic, like the members of the band are summoning a deity, or using their music as some sort of prayer. The vocals on this track dominate the album, and atmosphere is shown here very prominently.
“Suden Tunti” opens up with a nice riff, and ends up being the most straightforward song on the album, focusing more on black metal and being a heavier song. However, this is by no means a dud, this just adds to the albums variation. This leads into “Mimisbrunn”, which has a soft, very folky opening, before launching into some very epic sounding black metal. This song does a fantastic job going between both styles that the band utilizes, and does so repeatedly. “Ihmisen aika (Kumarrus pimeyteen)” ends this album, and this track feels epic, and ends this album on such a high note, the pace shifts on here feel natural, and the songwriting, like with the rest of these songs, feels very tight. This is amazing. Some people will be turned away by the track length, but these songs fill that time with music that honestly makes this release feel short. Even after an hour, there still feels like a need for more. Moonsorrow have crafted an album that hooks the listener, and doesn’t let go even after it’s finished. The epic feel, the tight writing, and the amazing compositions cannot be overstated. If you listen to one album in the near future, make it this one.
Overall Score: 10/10
Review by Sam Hookom