posted on 7/2008 By:
Ep-ic [ep-ik]: noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style.
Ep-ic as Balls [ep-ik az bawls]: the song "Tulimyrsky"
What you're witnessing here, ladies and gentlemen, is a band striking the anvil with all the expertise of a master ironsmith. Wrought from pure steel and forged in the brightest of fires, the Tulimyrsky EP is an exquisitely crafted full-length album (*cough*, this sumbitch is 70-minutes long!) that will fit the grip of the heartiest Viking setting sail into battle. Those fans worried about Moonsorrow's progression further and further from their blackened roots need not worry, the bulk of the material presented here rips with a blackened fury that hails to the band's early years, but it also does a wonderful job of spotlighting the grand and triumphant exultation Moonsorrow's been honing over the course of the last two records. Simply put, this EP should appeal to both old and new fans, and if you count yourself a devotee of epic Viking metal and haven't yet heard these guys (is that even possible?), you need to drop this hammer into your arsenal post haste.
Tulimyrsky is considered an EP because it actually only brings one new song to light, but what a lordly and majestic tune it is. Much like the material found on 2007's V: Havitetty, "Tulimyrsky" stretches just shy of 30-minutes, and it clatters, sweeps and climbs across a multitude of emotions during its impressive span. The tune starts very quietly as the story is introduced through soft atmospherics and spoken word, but the blackened ripping hits full stride once you cross the 5-minute mark. From this point forward, the song spends a majority of its time delivering Moonsorrow-styled epic black metal with plenty of rasped howls. In fact, apart from the way the song begins and ends, there's really only about a minute-and-a-half's worth of full-on, lock arms and twirl folk music and one other 1-minute quiet/acoustic interlude breaking up the pure metal of this grand opus.
What's masterful about "Tulimyrsky" is how nimbly the black metal manages to build and swell into majestic waves before gloriously crashing into your skull. The halfway point, for example, is as epic as anything I've heard off Tales from the Thousand Lakes (obviously aided by the guest bellowing of Amorphis' Tomi Koivusaari), and when such majestic moments strike you'll have no choice but to inch that volume knob ever closer to ear-splitting levels. Honestly, by the time the battle horns are sounded towards the climactic conclusion of "Tulimyrsky", my body actually felt wracked from the sheer amount of times my muscles clenched from wanting to charge some illusionary shore in my mind's eye, but the treats are actually far from over...
The Tulimyrsky EP rounds things out with two updated versions of songs from Moonsorrow's days of yore ("Taistelu Pohjolasta" from their 1999 demo, and "Hvergelmir" from their 1997 demo), and two smokin' covers from Metallica and Merciless(SWE). The updated tunes are a big score for diehard fans and fit nicely because of their focus on the band's early black metal roots (including the Emperor-styled keys that peppered their sound in the early days), but I honestly think the two covers outshine them because of how impressively Moonsorrow weave their own sound within them. This is how covers should be done, folks. Don't just regurgitate a tune we all agree is worthy of covering; take that song and drag that fucker through your band's filter, which is exactly what these guys do quite proficiently here. Never before has "For Whom the Bell Tolls" sounded more magnificent. In fact, at this point I think I might actually prefer Moonsorrow's version, simply because of its freshness. And "Back to North" truly closes the EP on a grand note.
As obviously indicated by my scores, I think the Tulimyrsky EP touches perfection. The production is superb, allowing all instruments to be heard at any given moment, and the music presented is sound evidence of a band that's striking the anvil while the iron is white-fuckin'-hot. As far as I'm concerned, there's no other band playing this style of epic Pagan metal better than Moonsorrow, and the Tulimyrsky EP is certainly indicative of grand things to come. This is an incredibly rewarding and enormously inspirational release, and I give it my highest recommendation.
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