Care for some Finnish styled Viking metal? Then get off your ass and pick up a copy of the latest from Ensiferum, titled Victory Songs. This is the bands first release here in the United States (courtesy of Candlelight Records) and sees the band take the styles of acts such as Finntroll and Korpiklaani and combine with levels of extremity found with Enslaved, Amon Amarth, Borknagar, and Thyrfing. Finnish folk instruments such as kantele, bagpipe, nyckelharpa, and bodhrans make an appearance on Victory Songs, adding that traditional element from Ensiferum's homeland to give this album a certain warmth.
This is the bands third full-length release since their inception in 1995, and it's a very polished effort. Comprised of guitarist Markus Toivonen, singer Petri Lindroos (ex-Norther), bassist Sami Hinkka, keyboard player Meiju Enho, and drummer Janne Parviainen, Ensiferum blow through one uptempo number after another, hitting all the right prog-metal buttons on "The New Dawn", diving into epic folk-metal territory on the lengthy title track, and crossing over into Viking styled black metal on such ravenous pieces like "Blood is the Prince of Glory" and "Deathbringer From the Sky". The sprinkling of majestic keys and relentless double bass drum fury also gives the arrangements a heavy power metal vibe as well, as on the Children of Bodem-meets-Blind Guardian "Ahti". Then again, if you like folky, symphonic metal ala Finntroll, you'll absolutely love "One More Magic Potion", a real excuse to get up on your feet and dance the humppa.
They might not be a household word yet in the world of metal, but Ensiferum are certainly on their way to increased recognition with the release of Victory Songs. So, to all metal fans here in the US-take a listen to this CD and find out what much of Europe has been raving about.
1) Ad Victoriam
2) Blood is the Prince of Glory
3) Deathbringer From the Sky
5) One More Magic Potion
7) Raised By the Sword
8) The New Dawn
9) Victory Song