Dreary evening drives on freeways do have a brighter side because they provide an apt ambiance for some extreme metal and recently it was a Moonsorrow record which found its way into my rustic CD player. Verisäkeet has this bizarre ‘business as usual’ feel to it, so effortless and nonchalant that someone could imagine this being cranked out of a machine when it is fed with staples of folk, death, black and progressive metal.
Compared to Kivenkantaja this record is a quantum leap in terms of quality and complexity, also on hindsight V: Hävitetty was the next obvious step in the same direction which transpired during the course of Verisäkeet. The striking attribute of this record is its unrestrained tone, there are numerous instances where these guys spontaneously break into this folk instrumentation and maintains that flow. The whole seventy minute album is like one big song split into five and mandates a continuous listen. The mellow folk instruments or the choir hardly tarnishes the genuineness of the compositions, on contrary they just seem to add more value to the authenticity of this record. The Finns for sure has managed to steer clear of cliches in compositions and sculpted a real honest, unpredictable sound which exhibits uniquely vibrant textures .
The first song “Karhunkynsi” does show some rare progressive death influences and might just deceive the listener about the real nature of the album. The distinct riffs played towards the second half of the song is quite uncanny for a black metal band, needless to say that this small window of sanity is short lived and expires right when a frantic vocals lead to the incessant black metal guitar picking; from that point on it is real quality extreme metal, the vocals gets harsher and the guitar breaks into the most blaring of speeds, more than compensating for the slow build up.
The parts with keyboard and slow guitar strumming is reminiscent of the doom death ambiance but the vocals still hold on to the sheer black metal roots. The fact that choir and the keyboards never dominate over the guitar and vocals mean that the sound is primarily black metal like and Moonsorrow gets this aspect of mixing perfectly in sync with my taste. The abrupt mellow passages with the folk instruments like Accordion are thrown in almost randomly and it is as if they are proving a point that being aesthetic hardly matters. The second half of “Pimeä” is a minefield of ceaseless tempo variations, high frequency switching of mellow and brash parts, it is pretty much about sifting and surfing across a myriad of extreme metal sounds and culminating with another passage of serenity. The exhibition of this devil-may-care mindset only accentuates as the record progresses, they might have just bulldozed their way through the record producer’s and label’s opinions to create something this raw and ravaging.
This Moonsorrow experience is almost analogous to a train ride which manages to traverse a multitude of musical terrains with a signature speed and artistry, if we imagine each railway track as a different musical style then their confident flawless way of switching across them has sculpted a real benchmark for gauging all the metal albums fusing multiple genres.