Moonsorrow performing at Myötätuulirock 2011
|Genres||Folk metal, pagan metal, melodic black metal, progressive metal, Viking metal|
|Labels||Sagittarius Productions, Plasmatica Records, Spinefarm, Century Media|
|Associated acts||Amoral, Barathrum, Finntroll, Barren Earth|
Moonsorrow is a pagan metal band formed in Helsinki, Finland, in 1995. Musically, the band incorporates elements of black metal and folk metal in their sound. The band call their sound "epic heathen metal" and try to distance themselves from the term "Viking metal". They have distanced themselves from other folk metal bands, emphasizing that their music is pagan and spiritual and is challenging for its listeners, rather than happy or danceable. The band members have varying levels of pagan belief but they draw on pagan spirituality for lyrics and inspiration.
The group's earliest formation consisted of cousins Ville Sorvali (vocals and bass) and Henri Sorvali (guitar and keyboards; also keyboards for Finntroll, Barathrum, and session member of Ensiferum) who released various demos that were much more characteristic of melodic black metal than future releases.
Their debut album, Suden Uni, recorded in early 2000, was released in 2001, along with Tämä Ikuinen Talvi ("This Everlasting Winter"), a re-release of a 1999 demo. Suden Uni ("A Wolf's Dream") combined Finnish paganism and folk elements. After recruiting Mitja Harvilahti and Markus Eurén, Moonsorrow started playing live, releasing Voimasta Ja Kunniasta ("Of Strength and Honour") in late 2001. However, the real takeoff for the band is generally held to be[weasel words] their 2003 release, Kivenkantaja ("Stonebearer"). In 2005 the band followed it up with their fourth full-length album, Verisäkeet ("Blood Verses"). The album is also their first to use ambient sounds such as birdsong and crackling fire in between tracks.
In January 2006 the band played their first US show at the Heathen Crusade Metalfest in Columbia Heights, MN. On March 7, 2006, Moonsorrow announced a 2-album contract with Spinefarm Records, and that their next album was slated for release in late 2006. On June 19 it was revealed that the upcoming album would feature guest vocals by Thomas Väänänen, the former vocalist of Thyrfing; Viides Luku - Hävitetty ("Chapter five - Ravaged") was released in January 2007. The album contained only two tracks and displayed more overt influence from progressive rock.
An EP called Tulimyrsky was released in 2008. The EP is over one hour long and contains one new song (the title track), two remakes of old songs, and two cover songs. It was released worldwide by Spinefarm Records, and in May the German label Drakkar Entertainment released it in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
In Fall 2010, Moonsorrow entered the studio to record their sixth full-length studio album, Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa ("As Shadows We Walk In The Land of The Dead"). The album was released on February 21, 2011 through Spinefarm Records.
In April of 2012 Moonsorrow announced on their official website that they have signed a deal with Century Media Records. The band commented: "We are thrilled to start working with Century Media, a label that is home to many fellow artists already! We never make our music half way or with compromises and we know our art is in good hands with people who have the same mentality in running a record label. Now, after a year since the release of our last album we are ready to begin creating something new. The new chapter in this epic journey of Moonsorrow!"
In June 2013, the band announced a vinyl box set of its collected works to be released through Blood Music. At a projected 13 LPs, it is being advertised as the largest metal box set in history.
Moonsorrow's lyrics draw inspiration from Finnish mythology, legends and poetry; since Tämä Ikuinen Talvi they have been written exclusively in Finnish. For instance, the song "Sankaritarina" from Voimasta Ja Kunniasta features lyrics directly translated from Hávamál.
In April 2008, Moonsorrow and other performers on the folk metal festival Paganfest were accused of being Nazis, racists, and fascists from the German Antifa and BIFF (Berliner Institut für Faschismusforschung, which freely translates to "Berlin Institute for Studies on Fascism" — actually a one-man "registered association" by psychologist Peter Kratz). Ville Sorvali of Moonsorrow and Heri Joensen of Týr issued a joint video statement to refute these accusations, noting that the bands are in no way connected to fascist groups and actually are against fascism. Guitarist Mitja Harvilahti told the German Feindesland webzine that the band has nothing to do with fascism."
- Henri Sorvali – rhythm, lead guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Ville Sorvali – bass guitar, lead vocals
- Mitja Harvilahti – lead, rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Markus Eurén – keyboards, backing vocals
- Marko Tarvonen – drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Thomas Väänänen (Thyrfing) – guest vocals on Viides Luku - Hävitetty
- Hittavainen (Korpiklaani) – fiddle, jouhikko, recorder
- Janne Perttilä (Barren Earth, Rytmihäiriö) – guitar (live), backing vocals
- Studio albums
- Suden uni (2001)
- Voimasta ja kunniasta (2001)
- Kivenkantaja (2003)
- Verisäkeet (2005)
- Viides luku – Hävitetty (2007)
- Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa (2011)
- Extended plays
- Tulimyrsky (2008)
- Demo albums
- Thorns of Ice (1996, unreleased)
- Promo (1997, unreleased)
- Metsä (1997)
- Tämä ikuinen talvi (1999)
Side project: Lakupaavi
Lakupaavi (Liquorice Pope in Finnish) is a grindcore sideproject of the band. The project started as a joke: when Moonsorrow were recording their 2005 album Verisäkeet, they said in an interview that the album would be named Raah Raah Blääh and it would be very different stylistically than their previous releases. Although this was just a joke, many people took it to heart. Later they stated that it had been a joke, but they then decided to actually record one of the songs, called "Kuolema Taidehomoille... Ja Muille" (engl. "Death to Art Faggots... and Others"). It didn't end there, however: the band ended up actually recording the whole Raah Raah Blääh album and released it on the internet under the new moniker Lakupaavi.
- Biography of the band. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- Roth, Rachel (2012). "Interview with Ville Sorvali of Moonsorrow".
- "Interviews: Moonsorrow". Spirit of Metal. February 2005.
- Angle, Brad (November 13, 2009). "Pagan Metal Roundup: Moonsorrow". Guitar World.
- Moonsorrow.com: Information to "Tulimyrsky EP". Retrieved on 2008-04-29.
- Moonsorrow at Drakkar Entertainment. Retrieved on 2008-04-29.
- Moonsorrow.com: Lyrics for "Voimasta Ja Kunniasta". Retrieved 2008-04-29
- Ville Sorvali of Moonsorrow and Heri Joensen of Týr (2008). Statement on behalf of Moonsorrow, Týr and Eluveitie. Youtube.com. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- Feindesland.de - Interview mit Moonsorrow
- Lakupaavi on Moonsorrow.com. Retrieved on 2008-04-29.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Moonsorrow.|
- Official Moonsorrow home page
- Moonsorrow discography at MusicBrainz
- Moonsorrow at Encyclopaedia Metallum
- Moonsorrow discography at Discogs