Ensiferum
From Afar


2.0
poor

Review

by Altmer USER (175 Reviews)
September 8th, 2009 | 49 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Power metal with harsh vocals is still power metal. And this isn't particularly good power metal either.

I hate writing intros. Sometimes you write an intro and can’t think of anything interesting to write. In some cases, when you are bored like that, you end up writing lots of nonsense to pad whatever you’re doing. In my case that is a review. In Ensiferum’s case, it’s an acoustic intro. Did I mention I hate bands that use intro songs" Why write an intro that doesn’t even flow into the next song" This is pointless time wasting, and no, showing that you can twang the strings on an acoustic guitar does not make you cool. So, this band is a strike down before they’ve actually showed us an actual composition, rather than “look acoustic campfire atmosphere intro!” Damn, Ensiferum, that’s one point you’re missing at the end of this review.

Now they could salvage this album if they wrote anything of interest on it. But this is Ensiferum: they are from Finland; they have long hair; and they play guitars. You can guess what this sounds like: fruity power metal, with lots of solos and folksy lead melodies, and (thank ***) harsh vocals instead of clean vocals most of the time (there are some clean choruses, but they are mercifully not the typical balls-in-a-vice-pitch). Ensiferum need to be reminded, however, that power metal with harsh vocals is still power metal. In other words, this may not be as disgustingly over-the-top as Rhapsody of Fire, but it’s still pretty damn cheesy regardless. The la-la-la folksy melodies over the top don’t help the material at all, making the whole ordeal more irritating than catchy.

Now there are bands that play some excellent folk metal, even if it is fruitier than a banana tree (Turisas jump to mind), but these guys (meaning Ensiferum, not Turisas) have the sheer audacity to record a two-part song called Heathen Throne. Those songs are both epics, over eleven minutes long, and have… two modes: folksy twang and repetitive power metal with harsh vocals. And the audience is expected to sit through twenty-three minutes of this drivel" Boring is the word. The stronger moments on the album come from the shorter, less orchestrated tracks. Ensiferum can compose a concise (though average) power metal tune, as exemplified by Twilight Tavern; unfortunately the skill that made them do this, which made them good on the self-titled and Iron album, has seemed to disappear with the loss of Jari Maenpaa. Please, Ensiferum, focus on writing songs and working your trade, even if the trade you’re dealing in is an old, obsolete trade.

For the people who dig Ensiferum, and all their Finnish friends (Korpiklaani, Finntroll, and co.), this won’t change a thing. They will always sound like this: fast, typical speedy double bass work out, with folk-influenced melodic lead guitars and harsh vocals. They will always sing about the Kalevala and other really epic Finnish mythology and culture. They will always appeal to longhaired metalheads that play Dungeons and Dragons. There’s nothing wrong with that. That is their chosen niche. But I wish that if they choose this niche to play for once and forever, they would actually do it like they used to (because Ensiferum used to be good), and stop boring us with semi-aggressive, ball-less, and most importantly overlong compositions. Because in a genre that’s hard to make interesting, concise songwriting becomes even more important, and this album clearly shows that the Finnish boys need a collective fire up their backsides to get the awesome moments of “Hero in a Dream” or “Iron” back. It’s obvious Ensiferum need to get back to the drawing board and rethink their formula, because this one has grown awfully stale.

4 twilight taverns by the dividing streams inhabited by longhaired metalheads playing Dungeons and Dragons out of 10.



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other reviews of this album
Metalstyles EMERITUS (4)
From Afar might not be as mind-blowing as Ensiferum’s self titled was, nor is it as catchy and eas...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
September 8th 2009


6453 Comments


Not fair, I was told to wait to post my review of this.

As far as the review, the album sounds different than the others in the band's catalogue so I have to disagree with you there.

Digging: Cursive - The Ugly Organ

Crysis
Emeritus
September 8th 2009


17368 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Totally disagree with everything.

Ulsufyring
September 8th 2009


1748 Comments


http://www.sputnikmusic.com/album.php?reviewid=28875

oh wait that isn't this review weird

Ponton
Emeritus
September 8th 2009


6453 Comments


I hope this doesn't become another one of those bands where its "cool" to hate them. Not to say that you are doing it for that reason, but lately a lot of people seem to hate these guys.

LepreCon
September 8th 2009


5451 Comments


Totally disagree but its a good review so I'll pos

entarthedryden
September 8th 2009


175 Comments


these guys suck

Wizard
September 8th 2009


20208 Comments


This is clearly folk metal, which is obviously based around power metal. I have no idea why you don't like this Altmer. It seems like everything you hated about this tends to pop up in alot of stuff you love. You do love power metal? Or am I nuts?

Poet
September 8th 2009


6005 Comments


I think he's slowly grown away from it. Which makes me very =( because no one here besides RNR is like a big power-metal head anymore.

Wizard
September 8th 2009


20208 Comments


Recommend me some good power metal.

Crysis
Emeritus
September 8th 2009


17368 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Kamelot- Epica

gaslightanthem
September 8th 2009


5208 Comments



Recommend me some good power metal.


thought long and hard about this

and erm nothing power metal sucks

Iamthe Nightstars
September 8th 2009


2753 Comments


Not as much as folk metal though.

Wizard
September 8th 2009


20208 Comments


Kamelot- Epica

Gay!

Crysis
Emeritus
September 8th 2009


17368 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Gay!


Don't venture into power metal then lol

Zip
September 8th 2009


5312 Comments


4 twilight taverns by the dividing streams inhabited by longhaired metalheads playing Dungeons and Dragons out of 10.

This was such a bad attempt at being funny that I actually laughed because of how gay it was. I guess that's worth something.

rasputin
September 8th 2009


14968 Comments


ensiferum fans cumming from afar

Zip
September 9th 2009


5312 Comments


lolololololololol

Altmer
September 9th 2009


5701 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Power metal used to be one of my favourite things, and I do like some power metal; on occasion. I just tend to like the less fruity, more guitar-driven stuff. Occasionally a band will get it right even with heavy keyboard use (I love Sonata Arctica and Kamelot). I like power metal when it's done right. I just can't get into this stuff.



I guess I am sort of neutral about it now. I have slightly grown out of the Tolkien phase of my life (well I still love Tolkien BUT UH).



Good power metal: Sabaton - The Art of War; Blind Guardian - Imaginations from the Other Side; Kamelot - The Black Halo

Eakflanderyof
September 9th 2009


2421 Comments


Album is good. Maybe not self-titled good, but still good nonetheless. And I don't see why people always lump Ensiferum, Wintersun, and many other folk metal bands into the power metal genre. It exhibits few traits of power metal. I think in order to be considered power metal you have to have one of those gay ball-grabbing guys on vocals. Not to say I don't like BG though. Having epic choruses doesn't make a band power metal.

Either way good review although I disagree.

On a side note, is anyone going to Chicago this weekend to see Agalloch? I'm definitely traveling for it.

Altmer
September 9th 2009


5701 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I've seen them play already.



And this exhibits lots of traits of power metal. Vocals aren't the distinguishing feature. As I mentioned: power metal with harsh vocals is still power metal. This has happy lalala melodies, lots of double bass and keyboard work, and heavy metal riffing. For this to be death metal it'd need to be absolutely amelodic (and I can barely call this melodic death metal just because it has harsh vocals). Melodic death metal is an odd term. It's like death metal with solos. This is not death metal with solos.



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