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21 February 2010

Chapter 2.2

Short after recording (not releasing) Suden uni, the first Moonsorrow concert took place, on March 31st 2000 to be exact, and not in Helsinki but in Turku, in a venue called S-Osis. As they were only three and three people can’t play five instruments, they called two more guys: one for playing the guitar, called Mitja Harvilahti (b. December 29th 1979); and for keyboards, a man called Kharadrai, who only played with them in that concert. Actually, in the next concert (April 13th, Tavastia, Helsinki), he was replaced by Markus “Lord” Eurén (b. April 19th 1978), a childhood friend of Marko’s and with whom he had recorded several demos under the name Gorewinter. They were just session members back then. Later they did a couple of concerts in August, and that was all that year. The songs they played in the first two concerts were the same,

The first concert
as they were the only ones they had rehearsed with the full line-up; the titles were:

Ukkosenjumalan poika
Köyliönjärven jäällä
Kuin ikuinen

Before December, both Mitja and Markus were already official members, being Moonsorrow a five-piece line-up which still keeps nowadays.

Once the year 2000 finished, 2001 came (surprising, eh). This was undoubtedly the busiest year in Moonsorrow’s history, with three releases in nine months, as we’ll see later in this chapter. In April, Suden uni was finally released; some people said their music had slowed down a lot, etcetera, but the reviews were mostly satisfying. Anyway, it’s true that the songs in general are much slower; they have the same basis and a similar structural development, but the performance and rythms changed totally to more paused and melodic forms.

Plasmatica's Suden uni artwork
Description: “Epic heathen metal calmed quite a deal down from Tämä Ikuinen Talvi. Folkish and pompous.” The first pressing consisted of 1000 copies. Although the lyrics were in Finnish, they included an explaining paragraph next to each song telling what it talked about. Of course, after all the trouble and delays they had gone through with Plasmatica, they didn’t sign with them again.

While they were looking for another label, the band got an offer from the label Sagitarius Productions to re-release their second demo, Tämä ikuinen talvi, but this time they would do it properly: instead of tapes with poor sound, they chose CD format and improved sound. To be precise, what they did was to re-record all Ville’s vocals, because the original sounded quite crappy; adding choirs in some parts, with all five of the members participating; and re-mixing the whole thing again. Besides, and for the first time, the booklet included full English translations of all the songs, as well as a new cover artwork, perhaps the most beautiful of all the albums. This was done en May 2001, the same month during which they signed the deal with Sagitarius Productions to release it, who acted faster and put it in the market in August. “Without their offer, we wouldn't have done it at all”, emphasizes Ville. In that moment they stopped making dubs of the tape, so the cassette version was left limited to 500 copies. The CD pressing consisted of 1500, but the Russian company CD Maximum made another edition (licensed) which, although I think it’s already out of print, can be easily found on eBay – more easily than the Sagitarius version anyway.

Tämä ikuinen talvi, CD version
Later on, Sagitarius made more pressings, I believe the last one was done in the beginning of 2004. I don’t know if 1500 is the total number of copies or just the first pressing. Meanwhile, in July they signed with Spinefarm, by recommendation of Sami Tenetz (leader of Thy Serpent and owner of the subsidiary label Spikefarm), for two albums. It was also around that time when a Swedish fan called Stefan Lejon asked them permission to make a fansite. Moonsorrow didn’t have an official website at the time, so they said: do it for us! And so it happened. On June 14th, the first message appeared: “After months of relentless battling, Moonsorrow is finally online.” Nowadays, Stefan Lejon is still their webmaster, and he has even participated in an album, but we’ll deal with that in the right moment.

Talvi (2001 remaster)

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