|Review: Ensiferum - Two Paths|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2017
Genre: Folk Metal
Review online: September 15, 2017
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (8 Votes)
Ensiferum's latest campaign through the mythical forests, heroes tales and...well, Metal, Two Paths, continues their legacy of being epic, energetic and true to its roots. Right from the first seconds of intro "Ajattomasta unesta" you get to feel the aura the group is trying to illustrate, and when "For Those About to Fight for Metal" kicks in, it becomes absolutely imperative that these guys know how to create fun, catchy and bombastic experiences. This – I dare say – is one of the best compositions of Ensiferum's history, being not just a ton of fun, but also surprisingly grandiose.
As the name suggests, the album basically takes two different paths in terms of songwriting. There are the epic portions, which tend to turn to the Viking/Pagan side of things, with Petri Lindroos leading the band with his harsh vocals and the sounds being more aggressive and "in your face", like the already mentioned opener, the dauntless "Way of the Warrior" and the relentless, yet sorrowful "I Will Never Kneel"; and those times were the Finnish go full-on Folk like the Skyclad-esque "Don't You Say", the magical "Feast with Valkyries" and "God Is Dead".
The songwriting is as good as any album from Ensiferum: while the amount of energy is high enough, the lyrics often hit a brick wall of creativity. The production value seems decent, but there are some parts where some riffs sound bland or where the vocals are mixed in a strange way, but there are no visible problems when the unorthodox Folk segments – like when Netta Skog's accordion is more evident – come to light, which is, of course, the main proposal here. The core of what Ensiferum represents is maintained and still intact in the entire effort, but much like its predecessors One Man Army and Unsung Heroes, it still slips on some occasions, mainly when it drastically changes from an epic and aggressive badassness to a joyful and medieval fair-like soundtrack.
Two Paths is a good album in the same way that Lethal Weapon is a good movie: when you have this amount of action blowing up in your ears, you don't need much story and complexity. Ensiferum didn't create a mind-blowing, erudite form of art; rather, they chose once again to just make you want to grab that drinking horn, fill it with mead and get drunk with some kick-ass Epic Folk Metal playing in the background.
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