Ensiferum
Iron


4.0
excellent

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
August 14th, 2007 | 50 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Epic Folk Metal at its glorious, melodic best.

A high wind is being swept through a thin mountain pass. The sun is just peaking over the distant ridge, bringing first light to the stiff, cold night air. The desolate ground is devoid of any plant life, just the unforgiving bare rock and the cold embrace of a winter night's snowfall. At each end of the pass is a large force, gearing up for a bloody onslaught. War drums ring out across the pass, along with the chants from each opposing army. All goes still and silent for just a moment, the wind ceases, the sun seems to hang in place. A soldier rears back his blade and fires it forward, letting out a deafening scream. The two armies charge to a bloody, bitter doom.

Ensiferum is a Finnish Folk Metal band, crafting their sound from medieval lore and great battles, incorporating soft acoustic guitars, epic keyboards, and melodic riffing to craft a sound which is epic and foreboding, while still maintaining a very melodic tone. The lyrics sing of epic battles long forgotten and lost tales from another time. This all may sound cheesy and over the top (in a sort of power metal way) but I can tell you it is not. They take themselves and their sound very seriously, and try their hardest to portray this to their fans, and it shows. From soft female vocals to death growls, from clean singing to verses in another language, they incorporate everything you could possibly think of to make their music true to their roots in folklore.

A definite highlight to this album is the fantastic musicianship from each of the band members. Guitarists Jari Maenpaa and Markus Toivonen throw down some really melodic and catchy riffs and maintain their heaviness throughout the entire album. Their guitars are part of what make this album what it is, and riffs like the fantastic opening to "Into The Battle" show that they are capable of writing some of the best melodic riffs in metal. The guitar solos, while not very frequent or lengthy, are great and add some variety to a sound which can get old after many listens. The acoustic guitars are another factor which round out the edges to their sound, weaving the keyboards and electric guitars together, and providing some awesome folk-sounding tunes to each song. The opening to "Sword Chant" showcases some really fast guitar picking, and gives you a hint at what is to come, and the slow, pounding intro to "Lai Lai Hei" is just awesome to listen to. The bass, sadly, isn't very audible all the time, but the times when you can hear it bassist Jukka-Pekka Miettinen can play some great lines which fit in with the guitars well. Drumming is well executed, playing beats which keep the pace perfectly. They aren't afraid to use a lot of double bass drumming, which is obvious in many of the tracks.

Keyboards are a huge player in Ensiferum's sound, colliding with the guitar riffs to add to the medieval, folk-sounding style that Ensiferum has pretty much perfected. They are prominent in pretty much every song, but they don't overpower the guitars, something which bands like Summoning do. The opening instrumental "Ferrum Aeternum" features a lot of keyboard effects, as well as the title track Iron. Jari Maenpaa's vocals are really good, he can do a very raspy scream and a very epic clean voice. The changes from clean vocals to death metal rasps are showcased in every song, and it's one of the few things on the album which doesn't wear off over time.

So with Iron, Ensiferum take the sound from their S/T and refine it even more to create probably one of the best Folk Metal albums that I've heard. While this isn't perfect, it is a damn fine attempt at a very hard genre of metal to get completely right. Epic and heavy, fast and melodic, this will surely please many metalheads who enjoy a broad range of music.

Pros

+Great Musicianship All Around
+Some Fantastic Riffs
+Great Drum Fills And Double Bass
+Excellent Use Of Keyboards
+Awesome Acoustic Guitars
+Great Varitey In Vocals

Cons

-Very Repetitive
-Not Enough Guitar Solos
-Some Of The Random Chanting Is Very Awkward



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Comments:Add a Comment 
masscows
August 14th 2007


2236 Comments


I'm a big LOTR fan, so this would be pretty cool even if its theme isn't directly tied with LOTR. I may look into this.

Good review!

Altmer
August 14th 2007


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Summary is stupid since Blind Guardian does the whole Tolkien thing alot better.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2007


16434 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ya I was thinking that, because when I mentioned Summoning in my review I thought they were more LOTR oriented... I might change it.

Digging: Swallowed - Lunarterial

FR33L0RD
August 14th 2007


1464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

So many good Metal bands & too little time

blackmilk
August 14th 2007


584 Comments


The whole descriptive scenery intro trend ended a long time ago.

masscows
August 14th 2007


2236 Comments


Liar.

Anywho, this isn't on the websites I usually order stuff from so I'm getting their s/t next time I order cd's.

I loves me some epic battles.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2007


16434 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The whole descriptive scenery intro trend ended a long time ago.


If you ever listened to this album you would say something different.

You'll like their S/T Masscows, its awesome.This Message Edited On 08.14.07

ZapatoDiablo
August 14th 2007


167 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First post--
Is it just me or does it seem like the bass drum is mixed really high on this album? At any rate I fancy this cd a lot. Good review as well.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2007


16434 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes the bass drum is very prominent. Sometimes if I listen to this in my car stereo with the subwoofer in the trunk I have to turn it down.

ZapatoDiablo
August 14th 2007


167 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[quote=Crysis] Yes the bass drum is very prominent. Sometimes if I listen to this in my car stereo with the subwoofer in the trunk I have to turn it down. [/quote]

I'm actually kind of picky about how the bass drum sounds especially in metal music - I really like to be able to hear it clearly. This cd has one of my favorite bass drum sounds (even though it sounds triggered) but my favorite is Lopez' kick in Ghost Reveries. This Message Edited On 08.14.07

Wizard
August 15th 2007


19502 Comments


Jari Maenpaa's Wintersun destroys any album done when he was in this band. Excellent review.

Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2008


16434 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Been digging this a lot lately. "Into The Battle" and the beginning of "Lai Lai Hei" rock.

Whispered4tw
October 3rd 2008


620 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ensiferum has a weird effect on me. I don't like them THAT much, I think they're just ok/good (this album, first one was awesome), yet I find myself listen to their music again and again.

Must be Jari, cause with their new work(aka Petri) I don't have this at all.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2008


16434 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Going to see these guys Saturday and if they play "Into The Battle" im going to be fucking PUMPED.This Message Edited On 10.15.08

AngelPhoenix
October 15th 2008


2764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, people always talk about how viking metal makes them think of, well...vikings. And axes and battles and stuff. Have no idea what they're talking about half the time. But I definitely get that from this band.

Whispered4tw
October 19th 2008


620 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

''I... I will break your will
I... I will crush your faith
I... I will slay your dreams''

Slayer of Light, without a doubt, my fav.

EnCrypt.
February 19th 2010


882 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I thought he said I will crush your face i was like holy shit thats badass, sword chant is m fav

Phantom
February 19th 2010


8930 Comments


"I WILL CRUSH YOUR FACE

by sitting on it".


-Dino Cazares, 2010.

Gorification
November 28th 2010


1124 Comments


ensiferum has always bored me.

Terrifyer
November 28th 2010


3403 Comments


only song ive heard by them is Victory Songs, heard it on Death.fm (lol)

was pretty cool tbh



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