Ensiferum
Ensiferum


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
January 18th, 2007 | 256 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist


Sputnik's very own Grant Hunter had the right idea when reviewing Bathory's Blood Fire Death. Vikings are pretty damn cool. And, you know, metal is obviously pretty cool as well. So it would only make sense to combine the two, am I right? Surely. So now we've combined Vikings and metal to get Viking metal, pretty simple right? But wait…what exactly is Viking metal? Is it loud, aggressive metal akin to death or thrash which rapes and pillages the poor ears of its listeners? Does it include odes to the might Odin? To be honest, until recently, I didn't know either. And though my eyes have been to said genre, this isn't the place to go into such intricacies. So I won't. But I what I can do is tell you about one of this mysterious genre’s bands. Formed in 1995, in (seriously, get THIS) Finland (don't worry, I was surprised too), the band is set to release its third album, Victory Songs, in around a month. But the inevitable "how will it stand up to the band's previous albums?" question will surely come up. And as it stands, I'm sceptical to whether the new album can stand up to Ensiferum's epic debut titled…Ensiferum.

So you might be wondering why I think such things. Well part of the reason might have been the band's slightly disappointing 2006 EP, Dragonheads, but a larger, more positive reason for my supposed lack of optimism is rests in the actual excellence of Ensiferum's self titled debut. Full of rousing, sing along hymns; folky, melodic guitar lines and riffs; and memorable choruses Viking style, Ensiferum as crafted themselves a very enjoyable sound. Of the fifty-five minute album, there are two songs which particularly showcase the band's style at its best are Hero in a Dream and Goblin's Dance. Expressing the distinctively Norse sound of old, both tracks are quite lively affairs which stress power and melody. The atmosphere of said tracks is also quite notable. Most, if not all of the tracks sport a very epic atmosphere. And with song titles like Battle Song, an epic, rousing sound shouldn't be much of a surprise. If this atmospheric element was stressed in any of the tracks, it would have got to be the aforementioned Goblin's Dance. The song, quite reminiscent of a victory song, is one of the most sing-along tracks on the album, and the up-beat offering just beckons its listeners to shout out along with the rest of the band. Yes, Ensiferum's debut album is undeniably quite the experience.

Undoubtedly, the most impressive member to be heard on Ensiferum is Jari Mäenpää. Taking on the roles of guitarist and vocalist of the Viking metal band, Jari's efforts are quite commendable, as he handles both roles exceedingly well. His straightforward guitar playing mixed with the harsh growls that might have come out of a black metal album combines exceedingly well to produce an exciting, impressive sound which dominates the tracks to be found on the album. Unsurprisingly, the rest of the band takes after Jari. As a whole, Ensiferum's sound is quite controlled. Solos are present, yet guitar noodling is not as prominent as on some of Ensiferum's related bands. I would venture to guess that the music is at least somewhat complicated, yet the effort put into the moulding of songs like Token of Time and Old Man (Vainamoinen) make them sound more streamlined and simple with more emphasis on actual song writing than technical profusion.

Ensiferum's self titled debut album is definitely an excellent platter of Viking metal. Ensiferum definitely met, and eat times even exceeded the expectations I had for it. The Finns put forth an excellent effort, one that combines heavy, yet melodic riffing, impressive, folky interludes, and fun sing/growl-along atmospheres. Fans of this Folk, Viking, or even Power metal should find themselves right at home with this release. If you're looking to get acquainted with Ensiferum, this is definitely the album to check out, as it's easily a stronger album than the band's second, Iron (that said, Iron does have better artwork). Check it out if you have the chance, it's quite a fun listen.

Recommended Tracks:
Hero in a Dream
Goblin's Dance
Token of Time
Old Man (Vainamoinen)
Battle Song



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user ratings (563)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
A.K. (5)
Something for everyone, great melodies, headbanging riffs, excellent vocals and very good lead work....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Thor
January 18th 2007


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Goblin's Dance is a great song. Good review as well.

Digging: Black Crown Initiate - The Wreckage of Stars

Mikesn
Emeritus
January 18th 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it's one of my favourite songs from Ensiferum. I still prefer Wintersun though. Thanks Thor.

Blue Collar Man
January 18th 2007


16 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Amazingly great album. Not a bad track on here whatsoever. Definately one of the defining albums of the genre, deserving 5 stars from me.

Mikesn
Emeritus
January 18th 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Amazingly great album. Not a bad track on here whatsoever.
Agreed, but some songs are a bit weaker than others.

Eakflanderyof
January 18th 2007


2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is an amazing album and definitely a classic in the genre. I've been really into to folk/viking metal lately.

Good review.

I have one question though. How can Eternal Wait not be on the recommended tracks? To me, Eternal Wait is the greatest folk metal song of all time.

Shattered_Future
January 18th 2007


1541 Comments


This is the best thing Jari has ever done. While it still has its faults, it's a ridiculously good album. Battle Song for the win.

Doppelganger
January 18th 2007


3124 Comments


Thanks for reviewing this. It's a great review, as well. I still have yet to get this. Hopefully it's better compared to Iron.

FatalEnergy
January 18th 2007


40 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This one is great, but I like Iron more

suspect
January 19th 2007


16 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

*cough* The band is Finnish, not Swedish. *cough*

Doppelganger
January 19th 2007


3124 Comments


That's the first time I've heard someone other than myself mention Eluveitie. Pretty good band.

This stuff is more like Finnish folk-tinged power metal.

Mikesn
Emeritus
January 19th 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

*cough* The band is Finnish, not Swedish. *cough*
You know, I swore wikipedia said they were Swedish...oh well thanks. I'll change it now.

Yeah, Folk influenced power metal would be accurate.

Eakflanderyof
January 19th 2007


2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm still in tears because Eternal Wait isn't a recommended track

GuardianDarkGuardian
January 19th 2007


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

this album is pretty good even though iron is my favorite

Mikesn
Emeritus
January 19th 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm still in tears because Eternal Wait isn't a recommended track
I'M SO SORRY.

I agree, it's a fine song.

I've never heard Eluveitie.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2007


16485 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I have yet to get my hands on this one. I've never seen it in a store and Amazon usually is out of
stock, however I will buy it as soon as it comes back, Ensiferum rocks.

Mikesn
Emeritus
January 19th 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You rated it even though you only heard two songs?

Well whatever, they do rock.

SynGates
March 6th 2007


2467 Comments


I just listened to "Battle Song" and "Hero in a Dream" off of their myspace. Pretty sweet stuff, I will be investigating furher.

Mikesn
Emeritus
March 6th 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good to hear. They've got a new album coming out soon.This Message Edited On 03.06.07

SynGates
March 6th 2007


2467 Comments


Sounds Great.

Eakflanderyof
April 25th 2007


2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My opinion of this album has changed a lot. I can't make it through this album so easily now.



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