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Tulimyrsky - EP

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Album Review

As their avid fans know all too well, Finland's Moonsorrow have never had much use for brevity; rather preferring to spin their Viking metal yarns well beyond conventional song lengths, while resisting the temptation to abandon their native tongue for English-sung lyrics and the almost certain greater commercial acceptance this would bring. In other words, they do things their own way, and anyone who may have forgotten this will surely be reminded by 2008's Tulimyrsky, which the quintet has the temerity (or good humor — who knows?) to categorize as an EP, even though its five songs add up to over an hour's worth of music! Then again, this choice of nomenclature was surely motivated by the nature of the songs themselves, as they include two covers, two re-recorded early demos, and but one new composition — albeit a 30-minute long one — in the title track (which translates to "Firestorm"). Divided into nine separate "chapters," "Tulimyrsky" is pretty much epic Viking metal defined: beginning and concluding with a restrained mixture of deliberately mournful synthesizers, oceanic sound effects, and baritone narrations (imagine Manowar's "Defender," only in Finnish), that sandwich an ever-changing (yet, amazingly, almost always engaging) collection of black metal tendencies, ranging from the vilest blastbeat-driven barrage to quasi-symphonic elegies that, by comparison, sound exceedingly civilized (or at least well considered: these are marauding Vikings). Of the covers, Moonsorrow's orchestral dramatization of Metallica's "For Whom the Bells Toll" simply must be heard to believed (like so many Metallica covers, half the shock lies in Moonsorrow's sheer balls at giving it a try), while their folk-enhanced reinvention of "To the North," originally recorded by pioneering Swedish death metal band Merciless, is pretty damn spectacular. And as to the two re-recorded demos (both dating from the late '90s; both over eight minutes in length), their still formative black metal templates are significantly spruced up by the incremental arranging of maturity and instrumental improvements Moonsorrow has accumulated in the decade since they were first imagined; and as such, may as well qualify as new songs, not least because so few were able to hear them the first time around. That's an EP according to Moonsorrow, then: they put the extended back into "extended play."


Formed: Helsinki, Finland

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Formed in 1995 by cousins Henri (guitar/keyboards/vocals) and Ville Sorvali (bass/vocals), Finland's Moonsorrow traced a path similar to that blazed by their countrymen Amorphis by combining death and black metal with heavy doses of atmosphere and Finnish folk traditions; but theirs was arguably an even more ambitious and epic approach. A number of demos, including 1996's "Thorns of Ice," 1997's "Metsä" (meaning "Forest"), and 1999's "Tämä Ikuinen Talvi" ("This Eternal Winter") laid the groundwork...
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Tulimyrsky - EP, Moonsorrow
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