Nowadays MOONSORROW are arguably the most popular Viking Metal band from Finland, probably beyond as well. 2001's "Voimasta Ja Kunniasta" release is largely responsible for that; it is the bands second full-length album, after their debut "Suden Uni". Not a whole lot has changed, it just became better and better. This album futures superb epic melodies, bombast, folk and acoustic parts and great riffs that should leave any fan of the style in awe.
All words are in Finnish, which is both good because I like bands who use their own language (except Dutch, but anyway) and it just sounds excellent, not that I understand any of it. Luckily, the nice people from the band have decided to include English translations in the booklet. So “Voimasta Ja Kunniasta” translates to "Strength And Honour", a well chosen title, as one finds out listening to the music.
"Tyven" kicks of the album as an intro, a beautiful composition of folk keyboards and epic melodies; without flaws the intro changes into "Sankarihauta" that is started by an enthusiastic scream by singer Sorvali. Great bombastic melodies are constantly present, sometimes caused by the guitar, but usually by the grand symphonies of Henri Sorvali. The vocals are pretty harsh in a Black Metal vein, but blend extraordinarily well with the rest of the music, even lots of haters of screams and growls often don't mind MOONSORROWS music! Besides the scream there are of course the hymnic choirs, synonymous with the style. "Kylän Päässä" has some sword samples in the beginning, just in case you're wondering if it really is Viking Metal! The rest of the song has a bit heavier guitar riff then its predecessor. Everything is still mid-tempo, until near the end of the song when you are treated on a great finale, with more bombast, great aggressive drumming and simply an awesome enthusiastic delivery by all band members. This is certainly one of the bands greatest songs, encompassing all the facets that the band is famous for in their best manner.
"Hiidenpelto" is a little slower and darker at first, a good relaxing song, with some acoustic guitar play besides the distortion. Like many MOONSORROW tracks it's of epic length, running at a respectable 9 minutes. "Aurinko Ja Kuu" epitomises the bands sound, with all aforementioned facets like lush melodies and an overall enchanting atmosphere, albeit presented with a little less bombast. For the bands standard that is. This another track that has a cool tempo shift near the end, refraining the listener from getting bored. As the album closes with "Sankaritarina" you hear great sounds of nature and an inviting campfire. It is a perfect closing track, with a good laid back atmosphere and beautiful arrangements. Again it's a 10+ song, but not boring at all.
The great melodies on the record aren't reached by keyboards alone; instruments like an accordion, mouth harp and timpani are used as well and on the other hand, some songs have good guitar solos as well. All these instruments and complex arrangements deserve a good production as well, which for sure is the case! No instrument is overshadowed by the other, except that the keys of course play a major role. For sure this is both a classic for MOONSORROW and the genre of Viking Metal! Well recommended for many Metal fans and certainly Viking Warriors! (Online March 9, 2005)