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!

10 June 2010

Chapter 4.1

Fourth chapter:
Of celluloid and lots of melody

There was expectation among their fans, but they preferred not to upload any song (or piece of a song) until the album was out. The release was a little delayed for reasons of the label’s agenda, but finally, three months later, March 10th 2003 to be precise, Kivenkantaja was released in Europe (and also in the rest of the world, I think), so finishing the two-album contract they had with Spikefarm.

Kivenkantaja artwork
Six days after the release, and for the first time in the history of Moonsorrow, the album appeared in the Finnish charts, being this fact a surprise for everyone. Ville described the moment when they knew abou it as “one of those ‘what the fuck’ moments”.

Concerning the album, it’s the most melodic they ever did. Henri tells that he had listened to a lot of classical music and film soundtracks during some months before the composition of the songs, and he took many elements from that kind of music. The songs, always keeping that Moonsorrow sound, have more complex structures, longer durations and an overall baroque sound, so to say. Pompous and adorned and high-flown and so on. As always, Henri wrote the music for all the songs, with Marko’s collaboration in some cases, and Ville did the lyrics,

Pacific warriors
which also evolved: while the previous albums told stories and battles, becoming somehow softer every time (from the “christian beheading” in the demos to the “warrior’s destiny” in V&K), now they’re mostly descriptive and abstract poems. It’s undoubtedly the most melodic and calm album they have. However, the promo pics still showed chainmails, shields, swords and torches.

The cover artwork has an anecdote too. To make the rune, they contacted an association which dedicates to that exactly: drawing runes in stones. The Guild of the Runescratchers, it's called. This particular stone was called Moonstone. When it was made, they took it in a truck to a forest to take the photo; but it was so heavy that they couldn’t move it to a more adequate place. They tried to transport it on a wheelbarrow, and as a result it got smashed and the wheel exploded, so the photo is taken a few meters away from the truck. “The whole Stonebearer concept is about us carrying that runestone on the cover from the woods of Myrskylä to Helsinki”, joked Marko. The stone was then relocated to the backyard of the Spinefarm office, broken in two pieces. Since a series of renovations that eventually splintered the stone into smaller pieces, and after Spinefarm moving their office elsewhere, the fate of the Moonstone (or what was left of it) remains unknown.

Looking for interviews of this period, I found one by Heart Of Steel/Metal Rules that turned out to be quite revealing, as it anticipates lots of things. When asked, concerning the 13 minutes of “Raunioilla”, if they impose themselves any limits for the duration of the songs, Ville answers: “No time frames, the songs just take shape. If we ever have a good song that is 20

The Moonstone in the works
minutes in length, we will use it!” When the interviewer asks about the evolution from Voimasta ja kunniasta to Kivenkantaja, saying that the atmospheres get more epic and melodic, Marko is conscious that keeping going in the same direction could be a mistake, and reveals: “Yes, there´s always the problem how to top the previous works, but so far we´ve succeeded in it. I think the next album is going to have more dynamic variations. […] I´m personally going to concentrate on the more guitar-oriented stuff on next album”. Finally, when asked wether they would do an album with just one very long song, Marko says that they had thought about it, but find it a very risky thing to do. “We might do a fast and ugly firestorm as well next. We´ll see…” With these declarations, they are anticipating their future projects one year, three and even five, respectively. We’ll deal with all this in next chapters.

Tuulen tytär / Soturin tie

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