Folk metal is an odd beast. Often conjuring images of happy-go-lucky singalongs while drunk and men with no Celtic heritage dressed in kilts dancing round campfires at festivals. However for those who dare to venue a little deeper there is a darker side to folk metal. MOONSORROW are one of the names that will often be mentioned as they are held by many to be the kings of the dark and epic compositions the genre offers. Album number seven Jumalten Aika (The Age of Gods) is set for release soon and fans will no doubt wonder where it stands within MOONSORROW’s already impressive catalogue.
Opening with the title track Jumalten Aika it is clear that the Finns will not be rushed. Slowly easing into the album with a choir and folk induced section before the metal elements kick in in earnest. The approach on this album certainly lends itself to being described as black metal in places with the folk being laid over the top to complete the epic feeling the band are clearly going for. The middle section of the track relies heavily on the folk to provide this feeling.
Ruttolehto incl. Päivättömän Päivän Kansa continues where the first track left off, with another short choir for an introduction before the metal begins. While not particularly technically impressive of its own accord, the black metal on offer here is complimented perfectly by the folk elements for a satisfying experience. Another quieter middle section is dominated by the folk elements on the track, with the choir again making an appearance. The rough nature of this choir would not feel out of place on a BATHORY album from their Viking era. The track finishes on a folk led note as well.
The shortest track on the album at only 7 minutes Suden Tunti is next. Dispersing with the folk introduction the band instead launch into a truly classic black metal riff and aside from incredibly short folk interludes towards the end the track continues in that vein for its entire length. In comparison to the other tracks it feels somewhat lacking, for MOONSORROW at least, as a result.
Mimisbrunn balances this out by being heavily folk focused. Slightly slower paced than the earlier tracks it takes a while to build up to anything and drops off once it reaches it. Arguably the weakest track on the album as the elements that make it up are done better elsewhere. Final track Ihmisen Aika (Kumarrus Pimeyteen) is also the albums longest. Stylistically it is closest to the two opening tracks, trying to find a medium between the black metal and folk elements on offer with several dips in intensity to allow the folk to shine through. A Finnish spoken word outro closes off the album.
MOONSORROW have done themselves proud with Jumalten Aika. Epic sounding Black/Folk metal is a difficult beast to pull off well and this band have made a career of it, with this album being no exception. While not bringing anything particularly new to the table Jumalten Aika is enough of a mix up on their formula to excite fans.
Jumalten Aika is set for release on April 1st via Century Media Records.
MOONSORROW tour the UK with KORPIKAANI in April, for tour dates click here.