Check out HOME OF THE WIND, the forthcoming documentary about Moonsorrow's first 20 years of history, based on this biography. Crowdfunding campaign starting in May!

24 December 2010

Markus

(2008)

Markus Eurén

Markus Eurén, also known as Lord Eurén, was born in Helsinki on April 19th, 1978. A big fan of Ronnie James Dio, Kiss and Dismember, the first band he played in was Gorewinter, together with Marko, where he played the guitar. Although he obviously knew how to play keyboards, he became officially a keyboardist when he joined Moonsorrow, which happened in their second concert (2000·4·13; on the first one they had had a guy called Kharadrai). He started studies of engineering but didn't finish them; he currently works operating a paving machine. In his spare time he likes to listen to music and to play chess.

Of the official members, he's possibly the one who participated the less in the band, as he not only didn't appear in Suden uni (Moonsorrow was a trio back then) but also in Voimasta ja kunniasta, the band being already the same quintet it is nowadays. He also didn't appear as a member of Lakupaavi; all he did in Raah raah blääh was to write and perform the outro. However, he recorded keyboards in the rest of albums and always performed with them on stage.



Gorewinter

(ca. 1999)

On his first gig
with Moonsorrow
(April 2000)

Recording the 6th album
22 Sep 2010



Gorewinter - Demonblood

22 December 2010

The statements against false accusations

Video statement uploaded on April 12th, 2008
featuring Ville Sorvali of Moonsorrow and Hari Joensen of Týr



Statement appeared in Moonsorrow's official website (www.moonsorrow.com) on April 13th, 2008

Recently there have been claims about Moonsorrow being a fascistic orientated nazi band. We would hereby like to declare that Moonsorrow is not affiliated or fascinated with the nazi-movement in any way. They are not political, they do not have connections to any political parties or societies, not in Finland nor elsewhere in the world.

As Ville Sorvali, the lead singer and lyric writer of the band says: "We, Moonsorrow, have come across news that Antifa wishes to prevent our concert in Berlin on April 17th. We hereby announce that we are not a Nazi band, nor we have any political connections whatsoever. We are strictly against fascism and all restrictions against freedom of speech. We wish that Antifa would withdraw any actions they have taken against the concert and let it proceed normally."

Some have said that Moonsorrow have an SS-rune in their logo. The logo has been handdrawn many many years ago and it has not been renewed since. The S in the logo is not intended to look like an SS-rune, it has been drawn in an angular manner to suit the logos other letters. We apologise if drawing one letter in such a way makes the logo look national socialistic - it is and has not been our or Moonsorrow's itention to sympathise with the Nazis by drawing the S in such a way. Changing the letters' appearance would make the whole logo look inconsistent and incomplete - hence we have not even considered changing it nor do we intend to, it has never occurred to us or to the members of Moonsorrow that there could be such a problem as this with the logo.

Some have said that the lyrics to the bands song "Blood of an apostate" are close to an old nazi song which is against jews. We have to say first that the members of Moonsorrow have not to this date heard of such a song, they are not familiar with any national socialistic songs or with German lore. Secondly we have to say that the lyrics come from a wholly different, easily recognisable FINNISH source. The lyrics to the bands song "Blood of an apostate" come from an old Finnish legend - the murder of the Bishop Henrik committed by the peasant Lalli. Moonsorrow have made several lyrics based on this tale. This legend is told in Finland already in pre-schools, it is a very common Finnish folk tale. You can find more information about this legend from this address: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lalli.

There have been claims that Moonsorrow's music is somehow sympathetic to the Nazis. Moonsorrow's metal is certainly epic, but it has nothing to do with politics. It is purely epic metal made in Finland that tells of ancient Finnish tales - not about tales sympathised by the Nazis now or earlier.

With best regards,

-All members of Moonsorrow and the Artist & Relations team of Spinefarm Records, a Universal Music Company

13 December 2010

Chapter 9.3

Chapter 9.2 - Index

The affected bands initially tried to ignore it, but then the media started to make it big, and some days later they realized they had to do something to defend themselves, so on April 12th a video was uploaded to Youtube showing Ville and Hari Joensen, of Týr, saying they had nothing to do with that ideology they were accused to belong to, and that runes had existed for hundreds of years. Also, Moonsorrow posted a statement on their website saying basically the same thing, and also explaining that the lyrics of “Luopion veri” come from an ancient Finnish legend that’s told to small children and the S has that shape to match the rest of the letters of the logo, and they did not intend to change it. (Both the video and text statements can be seen HERE.) Some people in the forum said they were following their game and the best

Kivenkantaja UK
to do was to ignore those accusations; Marko answered: “It's not that simple to just ingore them. Since they obviously have power to cancel the shows in Germany (Impaled Nazarene's tour in 2006, they cancelled about 7 or 8 shows in Germany!), we really cannot risk anything in Germany (a country where our main markets are business-wise) nor anywhere else. Of course we in the band think also that this whole thing is ridiculous and we don't want to think about it too much”. Henri spoke in a more general sense: “Trust me, it´s not business of money which keeps us defending ourselves here, as I got that impression of Marko´s text. Simple as it is- we just want no-one to harass our band- activities on absolutely non-factual accusations. Even though we have different political views within our band, we have never been taking any stance into any direction whatsoever as a collective group”. I don’t know if they had more similar problems besides the BIFFF accusations, but I think in the end they didn’t have to cancel anything. Some months later, Mitja told his thoughts: “That false propaganda was all over the press in Germany. And just one guy behind it all. […] The scale of it was surprising. Some words can mean so different things in different countries. If you use the word “national romanticism” in Finland, everybody links it to the arts and to a specific era when Finnish artists started to seek the aesthetic values of Finnish nature, language, etc. as a source to their art. If you say the same words to a German, he will most definitely link it to Hitler and far-right nationalism!”.

In September, the then recently created British subsidiary of Spinefarm, simply called Spinefarm UK, re-released Kivenkantaja, on 22nd to be precise. Besides the original album,

Mexico posters
this edition has a slightly different cover, the picture being the same but adding the logo on top, a bit distorted (that’s what the label happily called “extended artwork”); a booklet with more pages, including some photos, a few words by Ville and a couple of articles by the owner of the label; and finally, the most juicy feature is a bonus CD called Thunder in London with three songs recorded live in the label’s presentation concert in London the 8th of April of the same year, where they shared stage with Kiuas and Children Of Bodom. One of the articles of that label guy says the rest of the concert will be released at some point in the future, but Marko was clear on that: “No it won't. There were too many tech problems during the first half of that gig so only 3 last songs were good enough quality for the release”. Later, the rest of the albums were re-released too, one by one, without any extras.

The rest of the year they basically toured. In autumn they went to North America again, visiting Mexico for the first time. When I read they were going to León, my

Fireee!
Montréal (left) - Helsinki (right)
heart turned over, until I saw it was the Mexican León. On November 21st, in Montreal, they played with fire-eaters (or whatever they’re called) on stage during the first and last song. As they hadn’t rehearsed (“what could happen anyway, it's just fire you know”, said an ironical Ville), the girls danced for longer than the band expected, so they ended up playing an instrumental version. On December 31st they finished the year with a gig in the club Nosturi, in their hometown Helsinki, sharing stage with Korpiklaani and Kiuas and including, for the first time, pyrotechnical machines. There are very nice photographies of both concerts in www.shutterblast.net.

To be continued... some day!



Sankaritarina
(live in London 2008 - official recording)

Chapter 9.2 - Index

27 November 2010

Chapter 9.2


The total running time of the EP was more than an hour, which is not the most usual for an EP. Actually, only one of their own albums (Verisäkeet) lasts for more than one hour. Some people said: I don't know why they call it an EP if it lasts more than an hour. Others complained: what a rip-off album, only one new song and the rest covers and old stuff. They were actually answering each other: the band called it an EP because of that covers-and-old-stuff thing, and in fact emphasized a lot that it was in no way the sixth Moonsorrow album, even the title that appears in the cover is Tulimyrsky EP, thus leaving no possibility of misunderstanding - something similar to what Metallica did with their The garage days re-revisited: The $5.98 EP. A good thing was that it came out at EP price. "We just didn't want to do this half-way but decided to give the fans their money's worth with an overlengthy EP", stated Ville. The release was planned for March 26th, but it kept being pushed until April 30th, when it finally came out. I think nobody knew what to expect, some fans were afraid it would be a "Hävitetty 3", but again they surprised. The new song had elements from V&K and from Kivenkantaja, more melodic and faster, as well as from the two previous ones, with rougher sounds; and even a couple of parts so fast and aggressive that they remind Tämä ikuinen talvi. Besides this mixture of elements from all periods, of course they

Tulimyrsky front cover
maintained their usual epic sound, but there was something new: it was very evident that there was a story being told there. All of almost all their songs tell stories, but this case was different, it was obvious that "Tulimyrsky" was a narration with its introduction, development and ending. For the second time, the booklet comes without the translations, because apparently, even though it's translated by Ville, he then sends it to someone else to correct it, and the correction didn't arrive on time. We had to wait until September to see the translation in their site; the Finns were probably very happy with the story, but the rest, until then, had to content ourselves with guessing that here's a battle, here's a description of the landscape and this final part is a triumphal chant of those who won. Indeed, the song tells a story of swords, and is the continuation of the facts narrated in Voimasta. In this occasion, the attacked ones of the first story become the attackers, thus taking their revenge. Special mention is deserved by the illustration that comes with it, made by Belgian artist Kris Verwimp. The cover is a simple seaside landscape, with water and mountains in the background, very similar to Bathory's Nordland; nothing a priori that may remind a firestorm. When you unfold the whole sheet, you find out a magnificent drawing that shows some Viking longships in a shore and a horde of warriors burning a village. For me, it's undoubtedly the best Moonsorrow cover so far. The banner of this biography blog is an early sketch by Kris for that cover.



Click on this masterpiece to see it in 300 glorious DPI

Let's go back to the beginning of April. The second day of that month, Moonsorrow embarked a new touring festival called Paganfest, which took them around Europe together with Ensiferum, Korpiklaani, Eluveitie and Týr. (That was the first Paganfest; it would be repeated in consecutive years with different line-ups.) From day 2 until 22, one concert per night. But then they encountered a problem that at this time seemed unlikely: a guy from the German anti-fascist organization BIFFF learnt about their next concert in the pub “SO36”, Berlin on 17th, and wrote a statement informing that the venue had programmed a festival of “extreme right music” with bands that, according to him, exhibited nazi symbols, xenophobic lyrics and so on and on. The text criticized Ensiferum for their martial-looking photos; Týr for their usage of the rune of the same name and for showing a blood stained sword in one of their covers, even mocking the note they have in their website saying that they have nothing to do with politics; Eluveitie for calling themselves

Paganfest Europe 2008: standard and Budapest posters
Celts; but the worst part was for Moonsorrow, who had more charges: to begin with, in their website they called themselves “crusaders of epic heathen metal”; the S in their logo is the Sigel rune, the same that appears in the nazi SS logo; in their official biography they claim to have “a good touch of national romanticism and a distinctively pagan approach”; in the lyrics of several songs in the early albums they talk about warriors and raising swords against the enemy. Concerning lyrics, the most attacked song was “Luopion veri” (“one of their hits” according to that site - I doubt they have played it after 2001, if ever), for being clearly anti-Christian, and some lines about beheading the invader in the name of the gods sound fascist when taken out of context. The author of the text compared these lyrics to those of an ancient national-socialist anthem. Even the Guild of the Runescratchers who made the stone for Kivenkantaja was criticized, because this German dude found the link in their site and also attacked them because of their pictures of runes.


Luopion veri

Chapter 9.1 - Index - Chapter 9.3

10 November 2010

Chapter 9.1

Chapter 8.2 - Index - Chapter 9.2

Ninth chapter:
Censorstorm
(2008)

On January 14th they started recording the EP, which would be called Tulimyrsky (Firestorm). This time they didn't go to Kemi, but chose to stay in Helsinki and record in Jive Studios, property of Jukka Varmo, who is also their live sound engineer. Now I could start to write about the recording process,

Jukka Varmo
but Marko and Henri do it better than me. Not being a studio diary, they kept telling stuff in the forum. Marko, please?

"It was only the title track that we had to hurry on the writing before entering studio. It was written ready a couple of days before the studio was supposed to start. We didn't even got time to rehearse it together so everybody had to learn their parts on their own (at home, work, bus, even in car haha!).

"It took 2 days to play the drums for every song so it's pretty much the same as on the earlier sessions. This time we've been extremely fast setting up the sounds because we work at our live engineer's studio and he knows what we need. Also every other instruments were played during the first week leaving 5 or 6 days for Ville to do his vocals without hurry and without being afraid of losing his voice."

Henri: "I just wanted to point out that EVEN we finished the composing of the title track only a couple of days before entering the studios, it does not mean that it's done hasty or something like that. As usual, the final tweaking took a LOT of time,

Tomi Koivusaari (Amorphis)
and I had e.g. three different versions how to end the song of which I had to choose from, etc. etc. We're all extremely satisfied with the material."

The recording was finished in the end of February. They had three guest musicians: Tomi Koivusaari (of Amorphis) sang some lead lines, Oppu Laine (of Mannhai) contributed to the choirs and Olav Eira, guitarist of the folk band Áigi and of Norse origin, helped Ville to correctly pronounce Norwegian "because we didn't want them to sound like Manowar do (for Oh-dinn's sake!)" and also read some fragments of the Edda in Icelandic / old Norse for the end of "Hvergelmir". As usual, they had Janne in choirs, and for the first time they hired an actor to put his voice in the narrations, which are also a novelty in Moonsorrow. The actor is called Turkka Mastomäki and is very famous in Finland, apparently, but not outside. It was also revealed that the new song would last for half an hour, and the other four would be two re-recorded songs from the demos: "Taistelu pohjolasta" and "Hvergelmir"; and

Turkka Mastomäki
the other two would be covers: "Back to North" by Merciless and "For whom the bell tolls" by Metallica, being the latter a recording they had done back in 2005, when they recorded Raah Raah Blääh; the arrangement and a demo recording had been done as early as 2003. Truth to say, it sounds much more like Moonsorrow than like Metallica. Curious fact: it's sung by Henri. And two questions they would be asked in all interviews are the ones Ville's answering here: "The Metallica cover was recorded in 2005, and in that moment we had no idea about the EP. When we started to plan this EP we knew this cover was still available and we could incorporate it. Concerning "Back to North", we used to play it live back in 2000/2001. [...] Covering Bathory in Moonsorrow style would be something very boring. It would sound too much like imitation of the original, and there is no point in doing an imitation. We chose Metallica and Merciless because we had our own, distinctly Moonsorrow-sounding vision of those two songs in mind."

For whom the bell tolls


Chapter 8.2 - Index - Chapter 9.2

10 October 2010

Chapter 8.2


The release was followed by a short tour in Canada, which was in turn followed by another one in Finland, Finland driven into the fire, together with Kiuas in some places and with MyGrain in other places; and finally, on March 30th, they started a European tour with Swallow The Sun, who had released their Hope the same week Hävitetty came out. The tour, which was given the extremely original name Ravaged hope, took them for twenty days to Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France (their first concert in the Gaulish country, done on April 10th at Annecy, was also the #100 gig

The Annecy poster
in the history of Moonsorrow), Belgium, the Netherlands and Czechia. In those days they also created a Myspace profile and opened an official webshop, thus expanding a little more in the “business” side of music business. During all this year they played in almost every concert a short version of “Tuleen ajettu maa” (shorter in this case means “twenty minutes instead of twenty-five”), always strategically placed in the third or fourth position of the set, when the audience is starting to get into it but isn’t tired yet. However it’s always a bold thing to do to play a 20-minute song at a concert where probably many people don’t know too much about you, unless you’re Pink Floyd or Jethro Tull; before going on tour they were conscious of that: “It will definitely be the most challenging live number we have ever done. […] It can be very weird for people who haven't heard the

Blood, an indispensable fluid in Moonsorrow gigs
album to hear the song live and wonder when is it going to end, but well, we play it through and after it they can decide if they liked it or not - if they didn't get bored and leave, that is.” In the end, everything turned out quite well; one year and a half later, Marko and Ville commented: “It could be a gig-killer for the audience but usually it was very well accepted by the crowd. Actually in Holland they even had stage diving during that song. It just doesn’t make sense!”.

The year 2007 doesn’t have too much to tell about, basically because they dedicated it mainly to touring, touring and more touring, it was the year with the most live activity until today (2010), with no less than 56 concerts, counting almighty Wacken among them; even though apparently that wasn’t the first time they were offered to play there, judging from what Henri said in January 2006 when asked about any Wacken plans: “Yes, not attending. Next time they want to book us they should definitely consider something better for payment than the goddamn insult they offered, which wasn't even enough to cover our travel expenses. Just the fact that they are Wacken (ohhhhh) doesn't make them gods.” Looks like this time they were offered a more decent amount. Also, in September they visited Spain again, specifically Murcia this

Sankaritarina in Pratteln [link]
time, Alhama Metal Madness festival – as headliners, thus existing a clear contrast in comparison to the previous year, when, as mentioned a few pages ago, they played in the afternoon.

In summer they revealed in an interview that they planned to make a mini-album the following winter. They gave some details; among them, the fact that there would be one or two new songs, much shorter than the ones in Hävitetty, as well as two re-recorded old songs and a Metallica cover version they had recorded years before. They didn’t talk about that again for quite a long time. When, a couple of months later, rumours started to spread that they were preparing an EP, they were soon confirmed by Marko, but he only said they would be entering studio in January and Spikefarm planned to release it in March, but he didn’t go into deeper detail. And, as that interview is lost in the vast internautical oceans, the content of the EP continued being a mistery for many.


Pimeä (live in Annecy) - BOOTLEG


Chapter 8.1 - Index - Chapter 9.1

27 September 2010

Chapter 8.1

Chapter 7 - Index - Chapter 8.2

Eighth chapter:
Infinity made into sound
(2007)


On January 10th, the awaited album was finally released in Europe; Americans had to wait until April 26th. The cover artwork was made by Travis Smith, famous for his designs for Opeth, among others, and it shows an arid, rocky, burnt landscape, with a raven standing in a branch in the center of the image. The promo pictures were taken in Kaivopuisto park en Helsinki, and show the five members dressed in street clothes and simply standing, the predominant color being grey, or simply black and
white. V: Hävitetty entered the Finnish charts directly in the 16th position, as had already happened with Kivenkantaja, being also the highest position reached by a new album that week. In the German charts, it appeared in the 40th position. Marko was astonished: “What has to be done then to have it done uncommercial? Let's see, we don't have: 3 or 4 mins hit songs; music video; radio play; myspace; pretty boys or girls in the band”. What they did have was an album with only two half-an-hour long songs, full of depth and progression and very slow parts and sounds of nature and hearsh vocals and some blasting here and there. More or less, the sound continues the style of Verisäkeet, dark and atmospheric. Perhaps a little less aggressive. At the beginning and end of each song there’s a wind-like sound; that’s not an effect, it’s actual wind – a photo exists which shows Henri under a snowfall, recording with two antenna-looking devices. The
back cover of the album doesn’t show the songtitles, just the total playing time, I guess it was done in order to avoid the eventual buyer to think it’s a single or something like that. In that moment, Moonsorrow was already a well known band within the pagan scene, which partially explains the success in sales; but, despite that success, the album consisting of two hyper-long songs made many fans who preferred lighter stuff run in the opposite direction; many of them had started to lose hope after the radical change in Verisäkeet. In all the interviews that followed the release, they were asked about the reason of doing such long songs, and the answer was always the same: “In fact, it wasn’t exactly a decision. When we started writing material for the new album, we intended to make more songs,

Recording snowflakes
some six or seven, and easier to play live. But we soon realized the first song was becoming something totally epic! Then there was no turning back. We didn’t want to cut the song, so we did our best to maintain the intensity through the whole album. The arrangement of these long songs has been a very interesting project, and we’re extremely satisfied with the record. This time, the album was completely produced by Henri, so the sound is a bit different to Verisäkeet, but it still keeps the characteristic touch Moonsorrow’s known for.” “The song is ready when it's ready. It often happens that we have 10 minutes of material and the songs still seems to be needing something. The songs just kept stretching and stretching, and in the end we realised we are having these two massive tracks. And because they both have their musical structure very carefully thought, they definitely couldn't work as shorter tracks.” “When we finished the first song, we realised it was very very long. And then we said: let’s make another one!” “It's like a book, if you haven't reached the conclusion on page 20, you can't stop reading yet”.

Tuleen ajettu maa (7 minute extract)


Chapter 7 - Index - Chapter 8.2

11 September 2010

Chapter 7.1

Chapter 6.2 - Index - Chapter 8.1

Seventh chapter:
...More of the same
(2006)

The new year started with the first concert overseas, in Minneapolis (Minnesota, USA) to be precise, on January 21st, together with, *drumroll*, Thyrfing and Primordial, which I guess made Ville clap his ears, since those are two of his most admired bands. That concert was followed by another one in Montreal two days later; this quick visit to North America was, rather than the beginning of a conquest, a reconnaissance mission, since they didn’t leave Europe any more that year. A year which was, by the way, quite calm for Moonsorrow, there’s little

Thomas Väänänen in TicoTico
to tell really. On March 7th they signed a new contract with Spikefarm for two more albums. Short after that, in April, they played all over central Europe in a tour called Heathen Crusade (I think the Minnesota concert was included in this tour, or something – however, the name was the same even though practically all the bands were different) together with Mourning Beloveth, Gardens Of Gehenna and, again, Primordial, being this the first time they went on tour with an important band in the pagan scene, and doubtlessly an important milestone in Moonsorrow’s history. They did eleven gigs in eleven days, visiting five countries: Hungary, Austria, Holland, Germany and Belgium.


The tour ended on April 16th, and short after that, Henri and Marko were already in Kemi recording a new album; to be precise, they entered Tico Tico on May 29th, in a moment when Lordi and heavy metal in general were in fashion, because the mentioned band had just won the Eurovision contest with an all-time record in votes, which brought about some jokes in the studio diary. The other three guys joined them the following week. The album’s working title was Homosika (gay pig), but this time they said since the
How not to get bored in a hotel
beginning that it was just that, a working title. Again they had a very special guest, this time on vocals: mister Thomas Väänänen, who used to sing in Thyrfing back then, and whom Ville cites as one of his main influences in his vocal style. In mid-June they left the studio, having recorded 98% of the material, and came back on the first half of August to record the choirs and mix the whole thing. This time around, they had better economical means than in the past; in Ville’s words: “We had a bigger studio budget than ever, counting up to 5 weeks reserved for recording and mixing the album, so the session was quite relaxed compared to some of the previous ones. In the end we even had time to delve into some details we used to be a bit more careless about, such as spontaneous vocal overdubs and all sorts of interesting panning experiments”. After recording, emptying a fire extinguisher over a cigarette, mixing, covering a hotel room in plastic and improving some details here and there, the last task was mastering, which took place in September. Not even then they wanted to reveal the final title or any other details. However, the promotional machinery had started to turn, and soon some info appeared in the internet: it would be called Viides luku: Hävitetty (fifth chapter: ravaged) and contain only two songs, with an approximate total playig time of one hour. Their titles: “Jäästä syntynyt/Varjojen virta” (born of ice/stream of shadows, being the former the intro), clocking up to thirty minutes, and “Tuulen ajettu maa” (a land driven into the fire), twenty-five. The working titles had been “Paskaa” (poo) and “Kusta” (pee), respectively. The release date was prudently set right after Christmas.


At some point this year they signed a contract with the booking agency
Atarfe 2006 (foto: Wikipedia)
Dragon Productions, which became noticeable the following year, during which the number of gigs almost tripled in comparison with this 2006 we’re talking about. Also, on March 11th they had come to Spain for the first time ever, to the festival Atarfe Vega Rock, province of Granada. They were the second band in the schedule, at about half past two in the afternoon and, as far as I’ve been told, the place got filled when the Finns went onstage, and half-emptied again when they finished; apparently many people attended that festival only to see them. Henri was there too.



"Unohduksen lapsi" in Budapest, April 5th, 2006
AUDIENCE BOOTLEG

Chapter 6.2 - Index - Chapter 8.1

28 August 2010

Mitja

(2008)

Mitja Harvilahti


Mitja was born in Helsinki on December 29th 1979. As a kid he studied classical guitar and music theory for something more than ten years, but he declares himself seriously obsessed with electric guitars since he knew the Beatles, being four years old; actually, being that age he did an acoustic guitar concert with his father. He lived for couple years in Italy and surrounding countries when he was a child; already as an adult, in Finland, he studied cinematography, and currently he works as a cameraman, gaffer and as a freelance photographer.

He joined Moonsorrow as a live guitarist in 2000, and a short time later he was already an official member. He has also participated in other bands, like Tyrant, his first band; Milkweed, who later changed their name to The Sinkage (Janne played here as well); Shadow Cut, in which Mitja played the bass; and more weird things like Itäväylä. Finally, he has appeared as a guest in albums by other bands, either singing or playing guitar. He's endorsed by Amfisound Guitars.



17·III·2001
Nosturi

Evil elf goes metal
(Kemi 2006)
Bloodstock
2008 (UK)



Shadow Cut - Throatcuts nine

20 August 2010

Chapter 6.2


In the spring of 2005, Henri and Marko recorded a demo with a parallel project they had created, also featuring two more guys I don’t know, called Ukkosenjumalan Pojat (Sons of the God of Thunder), in a clear allusion to Suden uni’s opening track, “Ukkosenjumalan poika”. This recording was uploaded to the Internet; their style was a tongue-in-cheek mixture between folk and punk, in the vein of Ireland’s Dropkick Murphys; Marko described it with a word I find quite amusing: folkcore – yeah, without L. Henri called it folkish-oi!/streetpunk. The demo was called Viikonloppu Valhallassa (weekend in Valhalla) and contained six tracks, three of which had extracts uploaded in the internet. In

Ukkosenjumalan Pojat cover
Marko’s words, “All I can say we did this one demo for ourselves just to know how this new band is sounding and if it's gonna work. So far we've been more than satisfied although it's been made in a huge rush and alcoholic state of mind. One Swedish UG-record label [UG=underground] contacted us so maybe we'll put some mini cd out from that session.” But that never happened. The next time something was heard about them was one year later, in June 2006, when they told they had decided to write the songs in English, so they had also changed their name for Thunderdogs, by swapping letters from thunder gods I guess. Trollhorn informed: “We have changed our lyrics to English and thought about changing the band- name also. More about that when it's official. But the point: We're definitely not dead. But at the moment we've got our hands full of Moonsorrow (and other shit, like Finntroll for me) so we really haven't had time to concentrate on the band lately. However, we will activate in october or so, so have no worries!!!!!!!!” Then October came, and October passed, and the months that follow October passed, and nothing was heard about this project again. The

Raah raah blääh cover
following time they were asked about this matter, already in March 2009, Marko’s answer was simple: “The lack of time happened.” The few minutes they uploaded can still be found here: Ukkosenjumalan Pojat.

The Raah Raah Blääh story didn’t finish when Verisäkeet came out. In autumn 2004, short after finishing the recording, an impatient fan asked for a sample of the new material in the forum. On November 1st, Henri said: well, here’s your sample, and linked to a real song recorded by the band, called “Kuolema taidehomoille… ja muille!”. The track was short and lacking any musical quality – they had apparently recorded it during some spare time they had. People played along with them and some said they could make a whole album like that; then Henri revealed: “We were just talking last weekend […] that maybe we should do it. You see, as the song took me and Ville 5 minutes to "compose" and 10 minutes for everyone to learn, we could basically reserve Jukka's studio for... say, two days and actually make that "Raah Raah Blääh"- album. There.” And that’s what they did. In the end of April 2005 they recorded the album and uploaded some pictures in their website; finally, on September 19th they uploaded they whole thing to the internet in mp3 format together

Lakupaavi: audio terrorists
with the lyrics in Finnish. They obviously didn’t want to “stain” the name of Moonsorrow with these twenty-something grind punk chaos tracks (more than one fan got scared), so the material came out under the name of Lakupaavi, meaning “liquorice pope”. Henri made a horrible artwork which was uploaded too. For some reason, Markus wasn't a part of the "official" line-up, however he wrote and performed the outro for the album. So the line-up consisted of the other four, plus Janne, plus Jukka Varmo, their sound engineer. In Lakupaavi, the six members had a nickname:

Henri - The Sieg Heil Man;
Ville - Dead Editor;
Marko - Pate Perestroika (Perestroika Head);
Janne - Luxus Kristus (Luxurious Christ);
Mitja - Vitun Mitu (Fucking Mitu);
Jukka - Pentti Orvokki (Violet Boy or something).

Translations can be wrong, blame Google for that. Later on, Ville laughed when asked about this matter: “We did it for fun, it was a joke of drunks, we didn’t think it would be news, blame Blabbermouth or whoever published it.” Marko mentioned a couple of times that they would do two more albums in the future and complete a trilogy, but so far (August 2010) they didn’t do anything more. However, in Ville’s words: “Lakupaavi is NEVER dead”. Link to the site: http://lakupaavi.tk/


And this is basically what happened during 2005. Of fifteen concerts they did in all the year, seven were in Finland, and eight in other European countries; the tendency started to reverse.


Lakupaavi - Kuolema taidehomoille... ja muille!


Ukkosenjumalan Pojat - Demo medley


Chapter 6.1 - Index - Chapter 7

10 August 2010

Chapter 6.1

Chapter 5.2 - Index - Chapter 6.2

Sixth chapter:
Dark
(2005)

Moonsorrow’s debut album, Suden uni, was liked by many people and earned them a contract with an important label. Voimasta ja kunniasta was a surprise for the public and soon became a reference in the genre, as well as attracted many people’s attention and earned them some new fans. For the third album, the expectation was relatively big, the result fulfilled it and hit the charts in a high position. Now, for the fourth opus, the expectation was high again, for it would be difficult to surpass Kivenkantaja. And again they surprised the public. But must be said

Verisäkeet artwork
that, if I’m not wrong, Verisäkeet was the first album that leaked in the internet before its official release, it actually could be found in p2p networks as soon as December, and this didn’t please the guys at all. Thus, the day of the release, many people with interest in the album knew it already; however, on February 25th it was released and, pre-listened or not, it turned out not to be an attempt to surpass the previous one, but something completely different to anything they had done before. It’s still epic, it still sounds like Moonsorrow and the songs keep getting longer and longer, but all the pomposity and the baroque style of Kivenkantaja were gone, replaced by much darker atmospheres and raw sounds. This time around, the influence of the second wave of black metal (aka Norwegian black metal) was more evident, including some blastbeats (the last had been in “Pakanajuhla”, the fifth song in Suden uni) and atmospheric keyboards, with less protagonism than before; they remind of

The case
Burzum in some moments. No Emperor here, though.

They had Hittavainen as a guest again, who recorded some bagpipe parts for “Karhunkynsi”, but finally they were not used, “because it sounded like a hundred drunken Scots invading our studio and exploding their bagpipes to ruin our majestic march”, said Henri. (If you’re curious, you can check out Arkona’s “Po syroi zemle” and you’ll get an idea of how it would sound... it’s incredible how much both songs resemble each other – and both were released the same year.) Not only the music is dark: the disc’s case is completely made of black opaque plastic, with the logo in golden letters in the front and a small sticker with the songtitles in the back. The booklet is austere, made of matt paper, and, for the first time in several years, it doesn’t have the translations of the lyrics, because they wanted to make it as austere as possible. In Ville’s words, “the booklet was left very simple, it would be too big with the translations. We have no compromises in our concept, it’s a way of showing it… this is what we do, take or leave it”.
Chap, chap
However, they can be found at their website. Besides, one can find a couple of references to the joke/lie: among the thanks, it says “Blabbermouth for the truth”, and the inner side of the inlay, in such a way that it can only be seen if you remove the black plastic, says “Raah raah blääh!” in one side and “Kuolema taidehomoille!” (the first title of the false tracklist) in the other. There was also a change in the promo pictures: they weren’t disguised as warriors in snowy landscapes, but this time they were made at Ville’s father’s basement, and the five of them appeared partly naked, splashing about in a pool of mud. One week after its release, the album was in position 18 of the Finnish charts.



Karhunkynsi

Chapter 5.2 - Index - Chapter 6.2

24 July 2010

The origin of "Matkan lopussa"


Today we're taking a break from the biography. I hope you find this short article interesting or, at least, curious. However, there's still a lot that can be said about this traditional song, so if you know Russian or Finnish or just know better about the song, please feel free to leave some comments! (No need to be registered anywhere.)

"Matkan lopussa", meaning "A journey's end", is the last song of Moonsorrow's third album Kivenkantaja (2003). The lyrics were written by Ville Sorvali, but the music is traditional - not Finnish, as one could think, but Russian. The first known version was a Russian hussar mazurka from the 18th century, but the lyrics are unknown, and actually only the melody of the chorus was borrowed in later versions. There's also a romance whose melody is based in this one: it's called "Fragrant clusters of white acacia" (Белой акации гроздья душистые), and was transcribed as sheet music for the first time around 1902. Its lyrics talk about the loss of youth.

During the Russian Civil War (1917-1923), this song was used under the title Смело мы в бой пойдём, with the same melody but obviously a different character, as this is a war song. It was actually used by both sides, but some lines were different; there even were versions with minor differences within the same side (for example, a "white" version starts saying "listen, grandfathers" and another one says "listen, brothers"), but all of them said pretty much the same. This is the Red Army version:
Слушай рабочий Война началася Бросай своё дело В поход собирайся Припев: Смело мы в бой пойдём За власть Советов И как один умрём В борьбе за это
Listen, workers, the war has begun. Leave what you're doing (?) and go on campaign. Chorus: Boldly we will go into battle for the power of Soviets, and as a single person die fighting for it.
And this is the White Army version:
Слыхали, деды, Война началася, Бросай свое дело — В поход собирайся. Припев: Смело мы в бой пойдём За Русь святую, И как один прольём Кровь молодую.
Listen, grandfathers, the war has begun. Leave what you're doing (?) and go on campaign. Chorus: Boldly we will go into battle for the Holy Rus (=Russia), and as a single person spill young blood.
The Finnish version is pretty much the same as the older Russian one, the romance: the melody is identical and the lyrics are an approximate translation of the original. Note that Finland was a part of the Russian empire at that time, so it's not strange to find this song there too. This version is called "Valkoakaasiat", which means "White acacia"; you can read the lyrics in the first comment of this entry. Here I'm posting some of the versions I could find:
Tamara Lund, 1962
Instrumental acoustic guitar version by a band called Steelers
Moonsorrow arrangement with title changed to "Matkan lopussa", lyrics by Ville Sorvali
A Russian film called Дни Турбиных - Days of the Turbins, dating from 1976, showed a different version of Белой акации гроздья душистые (the romance) - so different that it's even hard to find parallelisms in the melody. It's actually called "Целую ночь соловей нам насвистывал..." - "A nightingale was singing for us all night long". So don't confuse both versions. You can find many more versions on YouTube: Finnish and Russian, older and newer, by different singers... etc etc. Have fun! Thanks a lot to Bogdan, who gave me the basis to start with, and to Óðinn, who clarified several points I wasn't sure about.

13 July 2010

Chapter 5.2



I just changed the song of the previous post, as I had mistakenly added an unrelated one.

In the last chapter we were saying that, during the recording of the fourth album, Henri revealed the supposed album tracklist, which consisted of twenty-one titles, each more insultant or disrespectful. Here’s the original thing plus the translation/explanation, thanks to Viking Metaller from the forum:

MOONSORROW: RAAH RAAH BLÄÄH tracklist
- copyright (c) Moonsorrow 2004 -

01. Kuolema taidehomoille... ja muille - Death to the art gays...and others.
02. Puutarhurin painajainen - Nightmare of the gardener
03. Myin lapsesi Jammu- sedälle - I sold your kid to uncle Jammu (finnish child-raper)
04. Vitun runkkarit ja muut - Fucking wankers and others.
05. Saatanan lehmä - Satans Cow
06. Homo Jeesus - Gay Jesus
07. Saatanan saksalaiset, teistä ei oo mihinkään - Goddamn German people, you are worthless.
08. Shitter Limited on maailman paras bändi (feat. Vitummoista pörinää) - Shitter Limited is the best band in the world. (Feat. Lots of fucking buzzz)
09. Vapauttakaa Matti Nykänen - Free Matti Nykänen (finnish ex-ski jumper hold in prison for stabbing)
10. Matti Vanhanen on homo joka ei kestä viinaa - Matti Vanhanen (then prime minister of Finland) is gay who cant deal with booze
11. Juutalaiskysymys? - Jewish question?
12. Morjens!!!! - Hello There!!!!
13. Anna pillua Jonne Aaron - Give me some pussy Jonne Aaron (finnish extremely gay "goth" singer in the band Negative)
14. Vitun verhoilijavitunmestari - Fucking curtainmakerfuckmaster
15. Perspillu ja hyvät vitut (puh runku) - Assfuck and nice pussys. (dunno whats "puh runku" ment to mean)
16. Se hyvä biisi - The good song.
17. Kumipaskiainen - Rubber asshole
18. Hakaristi on oikeesti kaunis - Swastika is actually pretty.
19. Bjarne Kallis työnnä risti vittu perseeseen - Bjarne Kallis pull a cross up your fucking ass. (the former spokesman of the Finnish christian democrat party)
20. Ime meisseliä Silikoni- Janita - Suck some chisel silicone-Janita.
21. Outro: Viikset - Outro: Moustache

Very Moonsorrow… yeah, right. A few days later, Ville was proud of the stir the tracklist had caused in the internet. In next entries they told how they spent their days recording, but they didn’t put too much effort in pretending,

Breaking news!
and did things like mentioning always the same two or three titles, saying “…we recorded two test takes (two songs = thirty minutes)…” (this was actually previous to the publication of the tracklist) or even that sentence that says “taking a step forward (backward?)”. Among fans, the response was varied, from the half-sceptical-half-surprised ones to the ones who just laughed and never believed it. Concerning media, I imagine many ignored the news, but many others swallowed the bait and even seemed to swallow it anxiously, the mighty Blabbermouth among them. Because, of course, everything turned out to be an immense lie. In the last entry of the diary, when they had finished recording, Henri, moderate as always, wrote: “Very many of you readers suck. How come? Well, how the HELL could you be so stupid that you actually believed in our "tracklist"? It was made to piss anyone off, including the internet "media", which proves that it´s still nothing but a crappy excuse for so-called journalism (excluding some). Even some Finnish "medias" believed it, which is the most stupid thing ever. Please, feel free to be embarrassed.” After that he revealed the actual information on the album: it would be called Verisäkeet (Bloodverses), would last about 65-70 minutes and would have four songs plus an outro. Concerning the lie, it must be said that, even before they entered studio, Spikefarm’s future releases list showed the real title. When the truth was revealed,

Quorthon (1966-2004)
some media just published the news (like Blabbermouth), but others considered it “a joke with which Moonsorrow wanted to draw attention” (like bloodchamber.de).

On the 7th of June, Bathory’s mastermind Quorthon was found dead in his home in Oslo. This was a tough commotion for extreme metal; Moonsorrow always cited Bathory as their main influence, and joined the mourn by dedicating him the chorus of “Matkan lopussa” (“A journey’s end”):

Once will the worldly curtain
fall before all men.
O' hear me sing this one last song
echoing through the heavens.
- RIP Quorthon


On October 22nd they participated in a Bathory tribute gig in Turku, playing songs of his viking era. And then the year 2004 ended.



Matkan lopussa

Chapter 5.1 - Index - Chapter 6.1

04 July 2010

Chapter 5.1

Chapter 4.2 - Index - Chapter 5.2

Fifth chapter:
The big lie
(2004)

The band started the year 2004 with a concert in Helsinki on January 3rd and a subsequent break of almost three months. During the previous year they had done only eight concerts, as well as in 2002. Right, they released a lot of stuff, but they weren’t the most active band touring-wise. In spring they started to write again and to play some gigs. April 30th would become an important day in Moonsorrow’s history, as they played outside Finland for the first time ever. The chosen place was the Croatian city of Osijek.

Dead-serious in Croatia
Two days later they played a festival in Budapest (Hungary). Ville, tell us something please? “In Croatia we had a strange show with no lights on the stage (!) and in Hungary we played our biggest concert so far (for 2000 people). We also spent some extra days in tropical Budapest, which was fun.” Besides, the Budapest gig was special for another reason: they did a jam session with local heavy metal band Kalapács, all of them dressed with the t-shirt of the other band, and also that day Moonsorrowers had decided to wear corpsepaint. The photos suggest that it was something worth seeing. Some months later they went to Oslo, and that’s all they played abroad that year.

During the following months they finished the composition of what would be their fourth studio album. And one day came where they revealed its title in

Moonsorrow and Kalapács
their website: it would be called Raah Raah Blääh. This made everybody surprised, because such a nonsense title didn’t fit Moonsorrow at all, or what they’re about. Then they started to say that they had planned to change their sound, as they thought they had exploited the epic themes and progressive structures to the maximum, and considered it was time to evolve towards other sounds. Towards grindcore, to be precise. In April, the news in their official website said: “The band has started to write the new album "Raah Raah Blääh" at the infamous Ragnarök Audio studio. Album will be recorded after summer once again with Ahti Kortelainen at Tico Tico studio in Kemi, Finland.” So they did, and on August 29th they had written the first entry in their studio diary. The given title had provoked many reactions, but Henri’s comment on September 2nd was the talk of the internet fan community during several days; it said: “We have now decided to publish the tracklist of "Raah Raah Blääh" officially. As you folks

Dark-us Eurén
propably know, this album is going to be a bit different release, as we thought not repeating ourselves musically and lyrically. So, no more overlenghty boring songs and epic shit, but some seriously pure aggression, hate and even some politics. (!!!!) Some of you might think it´s not acceptable for taking a step forward (backward?) but might I remind you that it is us who decide the direction of the band, not you. Live with it or start listening to Åkercocke.” The tracklist is too long so it will appear in the next chapter. See you next week, my loyal fanatics!


1065: Aika (2003 master)

Chapter 4.2 - Index - Chapter 5.2

17 June 2010

Chapter 4.2


During the months that followed the release of Kivenkantaja (remember we are in 2003) they did several concerts, including Tuska festival in Helsinki on July 11th, and recorded a new videoclip, this time for an edited version (five minutes instead of ten, approximately) of “Jumalten kaupunki”. In an interview of December 2002, Henri didn’t seem too happy about the idea of making a video: “A video would be nice, but as our songs are not the shortest around, it would pretty frustrating to edit the songs to last for 4-5 minutes, as they tend to lose their musical meaning then in my opinion. If we ever did one, though, it must be done very professionally and good-looking. This kind of band has all the elements of failuring the video lurking behind, as there is a very fine line between «pompous and dramatic» and «pathetic and laughable». If I could choose, it wouldn't be a

Autumn in Finland
«story» but more like a scenario, or «sum» of the story of the song. And of course it would include forests, castles, horses, swords, battles, fire, and things like that with no guitars etc. at all. Now imagine how easy it would be to turn a great, Ýberpompous video-idea into a massive pile of world's most pathetic crap a'la Grave Digger or Rhapsody.” But finally they did it, and they did it the way Henri wanted: with warriors and swords. Mitja studied Image and Sound and had worked in a television studio; that studio is where they recorded the video, and the director was Mitja himself. “We got this huge TV-studio for one weekend for free because Mitja has studied and worked there previously. So he got some of his fellows to assist on the production (or “production”). We set the staging ourselves and shoot some shit with two expensive cameras. Also we got these guys who are mad about Viking and all the medieval stuff acting some sword fights”, tells Marko. Those guys he mentions are involved in an association dedicated to medieval and iron age re-enactment, some of which are old friends of

Tuska 2003
Henri’s. The videoclip turned out to be quite decent, but later they stated that they will never make another video. “We just concentrate on being ridiculous otherwise. We don't need any videos for that”, joked Ville, in the same interview in which Mitja told, “it was supposed to start with the words «Now, this is spinal tap! », but Henri disagreed”.

On September 6th 2003 they announced that they had signed a new contract with Spikefarm for two more albums. The first thing they did was to immediately start preparing the re-release of Suden uni, since Spikefarm had finally got the rights from Plasmatica. That autumn they sent it to Mika Jussila to have it re-mastered (or rather mastered for the first time - see chapter 2.1), designed a totally new booklet with a different cover artwork by Niklas Sundin (guitarist of Dark Tranquillity and professional graphic designer) and translations of the lyrics, took some new promo photos, put together their two videoclips and four songs recorded live at Tuska 2003 in a DVD, and on December 8th it was in the shops. I found a review whose writer complained about the album being re-released after only two years; obviously, this person didn’t know the story of all the trouble with Plasmatica. Truth to say, the improvement in the sound of the album is noticeable. Concerning Tuska, the four songs included are all they played

A wolf's dream as imagined by Niklas Sundin
except for one; the lacking one is “Raunioilla”, whose sound quality wasn’t considered good enough to be published. (However, that particular song was aired by the Finnish TV channel YLE in a report about the festival that also appeared in the internet; if any of you readers own a good quality version of this footage, please let me know!) Moreover, they added a bonus track to the CD: “Tulkaapa äijät!”, recorded during the Kivenkantaja sessions and featuring the Lejon brothers and the Thyrane guys. It’s a Korpiklaani-like traditional party tune, recuperated by Swedish duo Nordman under the title “Kom un gubbar”; Ville translated the lyrics of this version into Finnish, and it’s played in a very ‘alcoholic’ way – which is quite, erm, unexpected, since the lyrics talk about a funeral and are supposed to be spoken by the dead person. But apparently funerals in Scandinavia used to be quite big parties in the past. There’s no need to say that the Plasmatica versions became then rarities.



Tulkaapa äijät!

Chapter 4.1 - Index - Chapter 5.1