This is the new direction, is it? Clearly that was another Sorvali The Elder prank that most of us saw right through. Think of it more as Viides Luku: Hävitetty track three than the first part of the world's longest EP; in much the same way as its immediate predecessor, this will take up half an hour of your life and make it seem like three minutes. This time, though, they seem to have crammed more into the time; it's noticeably faster through most of its length (think of the second half of Karhunkynsi and you're getting there). The lyrics have helpfully been divided into nine "chapters" - although these don't entirely correspond with how the whole track could have been broken into smaller pieces:
Intro (0m00s - 3m48s) - chapter 1 & narration of chapter 2
Part One (3m48s - 12m45s) - rest of chapter 2, chapters 3-4
Part Two (12m47s - 19m20s) - chapter 5
Part Three (19m20s - 26m43s) - chapters 6-8
Outro (26m43s - 29m32s) - chapter 9
This review has been aided and abetted by a highly appropriate storm kicking off outside as I write it...
A conversation I had with blackmetalbaz some time ago lamented those bands who play covers exactly as the originals sounded without adding any of their own sound to it. I am pleased to say this version of For Who The Bell Tolls pulls it off spectacularly... other than Henri's rather strained not-so-suitable-for-thrash voice it sounds more like it came from Verisäkeet than Ride The Lightning. I was originally concerned this would be a throwaway track, given (for instance) Ensiferum's efforts with Breaking The Law and Battery... I should not have worried. As for Back To North: I've never heard the original but they've done a superb job with it.
The most obvious change is the amputation of the intro (Osa I: Luo Veljien) from Taistelu Pohjolasta, trimming it down to an eight-minute hit single, and the addition of the kind of chugga-chugga guitar parts that were more at home on Suden Uni. Everything else is there, though, including what sounds like the original keyboard parts. Still, to hear the whole track, you'll have to track down a copy of Tämä Ikuinen Talvi; you can have mine when I'm dead. As for Hvergelmir: that's been given a more thorough update from the squashed-bat-shrieking-over-a-vacuum-cle
They've done it again. Rapturous applause all round.