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Ensiferum: Two Paths

Finland's Ensiferum have been a real run of form recently. Firstly there was the utterly magnificent Unsung Heroes which was in my top five albums of 2012 and this was followed by the pretty excellent One Man Army and now the streak continues with Two Paths. Former Turisas accordionist Netta Skog, who became a full-time member of Ensiferum in 2016 has replaced Emmi Silvennoinen. Bassist/vocalist Sami Hinkka notes that, "Netta really knows her stuff! She comes from a different kind of musical background, and besides being an amazing performer, virtuoso with her instrument and world class singer she is also full of creative ideas, so her input for Two Paths was really important." Skog gets a couple of writing credits on Feast with Valkyries and Unettomaan aikaan.

Two Paths, despite what the band claim, is not massively different from its predecessors or indeed the band's entire back catalogue. Yes, there are two versions of "God Is Dead" and "Don't You Say" with either clean or harsh vocals which the listener can access depending upon their preference I prefer the harsh versions. One elements of Ensiferum's work I have long enjoyed is that they let their songs breathe yet don't let them outstay their welcome and this can be found on most of the tracks around the five minute mark. I'm sure that some would like some judicious editing but for me Ensiferum present a grown up version of folk metal and remain a reliably solid outfit. I'm off to buy a plastic sword just on the off chance that the band grace the UK in the near future.

Track Listing:
1. Ajattomasta unesta 2:12
2. For Those About to Fight for Metal 5:17
3. Way of the Warrior 3:57
4. Two Paths 4:48
5. King of Storms 5:16
6. Feast with Valkyries 4:08
7. Don't You Say 3:39
8. I Will Never Kneel 5:00
9. God Is Dead 4:15
10. Hail to the Victor 5:10
11. Unettomaan aikaan 2:14
12. God Is Dead (Alternative version) 3:55
13. Don't You Say (Alternative version)

Added: October 11th 2017
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1320
Language: english

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