A great warrior is standing at the gates of a castle that is about to be stormed looking to the sky as a bead of sweat drops down his nervous brow.  This grand swordsman wipes the sweat from his brow and hides all of his nervous inhibitions so he does not lose the courage of the army standing behind him.  He know he must be brave and strong for the people at this castle have oppressed him and his people and land for far too long.  To muster up his courage and of his men he unsheathes his great iron broadsword made by his brother, the blacksmith.  Light reflects off snow landing and melting on the edge of his blade as he raises high into the air.  This light calls the attention of his men along with the thundering battle cry that come pouring from lungs.  “We have come, and we will take back what you have forcefully taken from us!”  And then turning to the castle, the swordsman thunders, “Prepare to return to where you have come from.  Our blades, our spears, and our arrows are thirsty, and today, they will sated!!!”  The army bellows in agreement and then the epic battle ensues.

This along with other epic images and stories are what fly through my mind when I listen to Kivenkantaja(trans. Stonebearer) by Moonsorrow.  Epic is a word that is thrown around quite loosely, but I cannot think of a better one to describe the sound of Kivenkantaja(and other Moonsorrow albums).  The howls and choirs call you to attention and direct you through battle, the keyboards and folk instruments build frozen landscapes as well as jolly victory melodies.  The drums and bass keep your heart pounding and help you to forget the long march you have been on, and the guitars keep you in a battle frenzy while in combat and relax your soul while you enjoy a horn of mead or wine.  By the time one finishes listening to this album the feeling is of winning a victory of the grandest battle of Middle-Earth, Westeros, Finland, or where ever grand battles are fought.

But that victory comes with a price.  You ready yourself for battle with “Raunioilla” and storm the castle with “Unohduksen Lapsi” and eventually overcome your enemies with “Jumalten Kaupunki/Tuhatvuotinen Perintö”.  You celebrate you victory with “Kivenkantaja” and appreciate nature and your fellow brethren on “Tuulen Tytär/Soturin Tie”.  But on “Matkan Lopussa” you realize the destruction of battle is costly and in reality, very painful.  All the ravaging that has happened to the land and the people must be attended to, but you are left with a sense of hope that all can be accomplished with lot of hard work and love.

I cannot speak highly enough of Kivenkantaja, I honestly cannot find a single fault within it.  For some people I can see how how the harsh vocals, which are not over used and really build atmosphere in my opinion, can be a turn off for some.  To that I say, try to look(err, listen) through that and you will be rewarded with a massive accomplishment in metal history.  Go buy this album today!!

Here’s the first track for you to check out.  Enjoy!!  And if you like it, Purchase it!!