Whether or not you've jumped on the bandwagon of the whole folk metal craze in recent years, you have to love and appreciate a band like Ensiferum. Since 2001, the lads from Finland have been thrilling the metal scene with their blend of brutality, folk majesty, and melodic symphonies on numerous releases and tours. With Unsung Heroes, they've thrown some curveballs at their fanbase after the rip-roaring affair that was 2009's From Afar, toning down the speed a bit and dialing up lots of folk textures, drama, symphonic soundscapes, and haunting melodies. If you've gotten used to their relentless attack on previous releases, Unsung Heroes might be a bit of a disappointment at first, but once you get through the album a few times, you'll start to realize just how catchy, memorable, and textured many of these songs are.
Tunes such as "In My Sword I Trust" and "Burning Leaves" are mid paced metal tracks with addicting choruses and layers of vocal harmonies soaring over thumping riffs and beds of keyboards."Celestial Bond" is a wonderful little piece with angelic female vocals, acoustic guitar, pipes, and flutes, while the speed metal blaster "Retribution Shall Be Mine" contains more than enough ferocity for those who crave the bands heavier material. "Pohjola" is another crusher, with acrobatic drum work, blazing guitar riffs, and a mix of clean operatic vocals and brutal growls. Throw in the amazing epic "Passion Proof Power", which basically has something for everyone (power metal, folk, prog, symphonic metal), and you have a varied release that shows that Ensiferum aren't relying on a standard formula, but are comfortable with mixing it up a bit and offering some variety to the listener.
Whether Unsung Heroes contains too much variety will be up to you, but with some many acts who toil in the folk metal area pumping out one album after another that sound virtually identical, this one is quite refreshing in the end.
2. In My Sword I Trust
3. Unsung Heroes
4. Burning Leaves
5. Celestial Bond
6. Retribution Shall Be Mine
7. Star Queen (Celestial Bond Part II)
9. Last Breath
10. Passion Proof Power