It’s been 5 years since Moonsorrow released Varjoina kuljemme kuoleiden maassa, and now it’s time for something new! On April 1st, 2016, this fantastic Finnish band released a new album, Jumalten aika, to thus far excellent reviews. The album was released on the same day as their album release gig, so the Virgin Oil Co. was sold out to eager fans hoping to hear live versions of the new material. Musicalypse had to be there to check out the show!
The fans were lining up as the doors opened to get to the front of the stage at Virgin Oil on this lovely Saturday night. The venue was already quite full for the opening band, Alghazanth. These guys were pretty standard black metal with corpse paint. They had some decent melodies when they weren’t doing the black metal speed stuff, but as a whole were simply okay. Also, a goblet of wine? Really? Been there, seen that with Gaahl. Not very original.
After the stage change, the intro music played a solid 6 minutes before the show started. I’m not sure what song it was that was playing, but it had that delightful mouth harp and had a very similar vibe to some songs from the Witcher game series soundtracks, only kind of better (in my humble opinion). The band came on stage to a very enthusiastic and impatient crowd when the intro track faded out, about a minute late, to get things going with the title track from the new album, “Jumalten aika.” I do love when a band starts an album release gig with the first track off the album, and it was a strong introduction to instigate some headbanging and general glee from the black-clad crowd of metalheads. This band has a rather magical ability to combine brutal with beautiful, which is evident on their albums, but also ever-present in their live performances.
Virgin Oil isn’t exactly known for its excellent sound quality, so this night was a nice surprise. Everything was in rather decent balance and there was no reverb or buzzing, which was a pleasant change of pace. Another thing I noticed is that there’s something a bit different for me about attending a Moonsorrow gig. I tend not to go in hoping to hear certain songs because I admittedly can’t name most of them, or tell where one ends and another begins. It’s more about going to have a musical experience, and they consistently deliver. The music they play is always great – they are extremely strong live performers. It’s easy to get lost and mesmerized in their music and if you close you eyes and absorb everything, you start to hear new nuances to the music that you may have missed on the album because you’re paying attention with your whole body at a live show.
The setlist was quite decent. “Raunioilla” followed “Jumalten aika” and is always a great choice – it’s a fantastic song and a definite crowd favorite. “Suden tunti” is the shorter track from the latest album, but they didn’t play everything from Jumalten aika. I was sad that they didn’t play “Mimisbrunn” because I think it’s the strongest and most beautiful song off the new album. Of course, everyone always sheds a tear during every gig that “Huuto” doesn’t get played, and this was no different. But every other track from the new album, plus a few others, were including. They turned the lights out completely for the first few minutes of “Pimeä,” which was a cool effect and something I’d be open to bands trying more often, as this was my first time seeing a band do that. They closed out the show with the last track from Jumalten aika, “Ihmisen aika,” pleasing me once again by closing an album release gig with the last song off the new release. They came back for one more song as an encore, “Sankaritarina,” and that finished off the night!
Moonsorrow is definitely a band worth seeing if you like their music. They are equally good for expending energy/pumping your first in the air as they are for closing your eyes and letting the music and feeling envelop you. Ville Sorvali (vocals, bass) chats briefly with the crowd between songs, introducing tracks and making sure the crowd knows how grateful they are for their patronage, but doesn’t waste time when they get to play so few songs. Time is precious after all. This was a wonderful show and an exceptional album release gig, and if Moonsorrow will be in your town soon, we suggest that you be there, because the new album is fantastic and you’re going to want to hear these songs live!
1. Jumalten aika
3. Suden tunti
4. Ukkosenjumalan poika
5. Kuoleiden maa
6. Ruttolehto incl. Päivättömän päivän kansa (live premier)
8. Ihmisen aika (Kumarrus pimeyteen)
Text: Amy Wiseman | Photos: Eliza Rask