|Review: Ensiferum - Ensiferum|
Label: SpineFarm Records
Year released: 2002
Genre: Viking Metal
Review online: June 26, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4.1/5 (82.08%) (48 Votes)
When you say a band is 'Viking Metal' you can mean a lot of different things by it. A lot of VM bands are basically Black Metal, some are not. But if a band is all about Vikings and incorporates folk music into their riffs, then they are a Viking Metal band, no question. Ensiferum are not Black, not Death, and not Power Metal, but somewhere in between.
Musically this band hovers between Melodic Death Metal and speedy Power Metal, with a lot of keys backing them up and a heavy, heavy folk influence. The fast and melodic music is often reminiscent of folky power metal like Elvenking. The vocals on this disc, however, are almost entirely harsh and raspy with some breaks for chanted bits or the odd cleanly sung passage. It took me a few listens to catch who this band was reminding me of. But overall Ensiferum are highly reminiscent of Children Of Bodom (not surprising, as they are from Finland as well). I do have to qualify that by saying that Ensiferum are way better than CoB, with vocals that are not relentlessly annoying and better songwriting overall, but the resemblance is there, as well as to similar bands like Kalmah. Ensiferum have that distinctive Finnish melodic style, with the haunting and mournful harmonies, and there is way more dynamic on this CD than on the other bands I could compare them to, as they sometimes slow things down a bit and sound a bit like Mithotyn.
So for some good, driving folky metal this is an excellent, very solid and consistent album. The songs don't distinguish themselves from each other very much, but they are all enjoyable, with no filler cuts. Ensiferum are not reinventing any wheels here, but they are kicking some ass, and I'll take that any day.
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Interview with guitarist and vocalist Markus Toivonen and keyboardist and vocalist Pekka Montin on September 18, 2020 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with vocalist and keyboardist Pekka Montin on March 14, 2020 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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