"The crusaders of epic heathen metal, Moonsorrow was founded in 1995 with the goal of creating metal art with a good touch of national romanticism and a distinctively pagan approach."
Moonsorrow originally started as a black metal band on their demos; influence from the greats such as Enslaved and Emperor are readily apparent. The band dropped this style starting with Suden Uni, their first full-length album, but black metal elements have reappeared in their last few albums. They have six full-length releases, each of which is a unique creation. All of them, however, retain the band's strong identity. I should highlight this. Each album has its own character entirely, yet somehow fits into the larger context of the band itself. There is a clear progression in sound from the first album to the last.
The compositions are immersive and rewarding and the narrative song structures explore and combine different motifs in ways that continue to fascinate me. The songs are living, breathing entities, developing and flowing organically from exposition to conclusion. All lyrics are in Finnish; they are stunningly poetic, and I have been told that the effect is enhanced in the original, un-translated versions.
Avoid associations between Moonsorrow and bands like Ensiferum, or any other "folk metal" garbage. The former is a seamless integration of a primarily heavy metal framework with Finnish culture and tradition (manifested in the lyrics, the use of rhythms, time signatures, and melodies common in Finnish folk music, and the instrumentation). The latter is formulaic rock music with metal aesthetics and occasional displays of archaic instrumentation that provide little more than novelty. Ensiferum and most of that ilk is unadventurous, insubstantial, and dumb.
I do not recommend this band to those of you who dwell on the dark side, so to speak. Moonsorrow's music is very consonant in comparison to death metal and black metal, so you may find them repulsive haha. There are occasional moments that you may consider cheesy, perhaps due to the presence of keyboards. Their music is sincere and serious though, so don't let this distract you.
Considering the general musical taste of users here, I suggest that you avoid the first two albums, Suden Uni and Voimasta ja Kunniasta, until you are familiar with the other works. While they are remarkable, they sound somewhat stereotypically "folk metal," whereas the subsequent releases pursue a more distinct style. I fear that these first albums will alienate you from the band. My recommendation for first exposure is V: Hävitetty, an ambitious work. Sit down with it, it deserves your attention. Then move to Kivenkantaja and Verisäkeet, and then Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa.
My purpose in creating this thread is to expose a band that I consider fantastic to a group of intelligent individuals who will hopefully appreciate the music and provide discussion about it. Also, if this music is trash and I failed to see this, then you can help me realize that I am wasting my time listening to such a vapid musical excursion.
Moonsorrow is best listened to in album format, but here are some song selections:
Jäästä syntynyt / Varjojen virta (Born of Ice / Stream of Shadows) (from V: Hävitetty)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fywRBI8r6fA
Raunioilla (At the Ruins) (from Kivenkantaja)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtEIb6sX6Xs
Karhunkynsi (Bearclaw) (from Verisäkeet)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSEjORBQOvI
Muinaiset (The Ancient Ones) (From Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3DDwVQn_V4http://www.moonsorrow.com/main.htmlhttp://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Moonsorrow/89