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 gents, 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,Tulimyrsky is an exquisitely crafted full-length EP (this sumbitch is 70-minutes long!) that will fit the grip of the heartiest Viking setting sail into battle. Or, you know, any nerdy metal fan with a bag of multi-sided dice.
The bulk of the material presented here rips with a blackened fury that hails to the band’s early years, but Tulimyrsky does an equally wonderful job of spotlighting the grand and triumphant exultation of pure “epic metal” Moonsorrow‘s been honing over the course of the last two records as well. In other words, this material should appeal to both old and new fans, and if you count yourself a devotee of Viking-themed metal and haven’t yet heard these guys (is that even possible?), you need to drop this hammer into your arsenal right fucking now.
One song. One song that stretches just shy of 30-minutes. I suppose that’s enough to throw more than a handful of onlookers off the trail, but “Tulimyrsky” clatters, sweeps and climbs across a multitude of emotions during its impressive span. Things start very quietly as the story is introduced through soft atmospherics and spoken word, but the blackened ripping hits full stride once the 5-minute mark is crossed. From this point forward, “Tulimyrsky” spends a majority of its time delivering absolute epic fire with only the briefest snippets of twirling folk and acoustic guitars to further pretty the corners.
What’s particularly masterful here is how nimbly the music manages to build and swell into a 100-foot wave before crashing into skulls with a magnificently epic plunge. The halfway point, for example, is as epic as anything from Tales from the Thousand Lakes (aided by the guest bellowing of Amorphis‘ Tomi Koivusaari), and when majesty such as this strikes and strikes this often, there’s little choice but to splinter your eardrums by inching the volume ever higher. By the time the battle horns sound toward the song’s climactic conclusion, you will be wrecked. Completely and gratefully wrecked.
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, plus two smoking covers from Metallica (“For Whom the Bell Tolls”) and Merciless [SWE] (“Back to North”). The updated tunes are a big score for diehard fans and fit perfectly, thanks to the focus on the band’s early black metal roots. But honestly, the two covers outshine them because of how impressively Moonsorrow weave their own spin on familiar notes. This is how covers should be done. Never before has “For Whom the Bell Tolls” sounded more…imperial.
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 as close to perfection as the band has come. Incredibly rewarding and enormously inspirational.