Ensiferum
Thalassic


3.5
great

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (298 Reviews)
July 14th, 2020 | 33 replies


Release Date: 07/10/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: simplistic albeit memorable nuggets of Folk-inspired Power metal

I think we all remember the days back when Ensiferum were headed for bigger, brighter things in their career. It all started with a fresh vocalist who ensured his appearance would guide Victory Songs and From Afar to becoming every bit as important to the band's career as their first two albums. That said, it was a reaffirmed belief amongst the majority of the core fanbase that the band could go further and be braver with their output, even with Jari's disappearance still a clouding factor. What wasn't expected after From Afar was a steady decline in inspiration, something which resulted in three half-hearted albums and eventually rendering Ensiferum as a less remarkable band in the Folk/Power metal sub-genres.

It's thankful then that Thalassic sees the band returning to their comfort zone and somehow releasing the most inspired set of songs they've collectively written in just over a decade. Immediately, you get the sense that the band are simply at ease with their output here, the none-too-serious opener “Rum, Women, Victory” galloping along with renewed vigour and accompanied by a fan-bolstered video which reminds us all to make the most of 2020's dire global situation. Not only that, but it's a damn fine rhythm section at work here. Whilst nothing here sounds particularly different to what we heard pre-2010, it's done so with 100% and doesn't give you the impression of a band ready to call it quits. Such is the excitement of the speedy “Run from the Crushing Tide”, the call-to-arms experience of “Andromeda” and the brevity of “One with the Sea”. All done with instrumental flair, but also reminding us each and every (socially distanced) band member has a smile on their face.

One thing which does stand out on Thalassic is the usage of vocal delivery. Whilst it's never exactly been one of Ensiferum's strongpoints (neither has it been a disadvantage, it's just been there), here newcomer Pekka Montin gives off one of the most memorable vocals performances in any Ensiferum album. Sure, the fact that his voice has been pushed to the forefront during “Andromeda”, “For Sirens” and passionate closer “Cold Northland” means that the accompanying instrumentation seems pushed aside at time, but it's also hard not to singalong with a silly smile on your face as the striking choruses unfold. It's simple fun, but it's integrated in this way for a reason, and that reason is to make the listener enjoy the experience tenfold. A song which sticks out like a sore thumb however is “The Defence of the Sampo”, which to begin with is too slow and slumberous for its own good and demonstrates such an abrupt vocal change that you'd be pondering if it's even the same band that wrote the song. It's not so much a folksy jig as “Midsummer Magic” is, nor does it run on the momentum produced by the much stronger “Rum, Women, Victory” and “Andromeda”, but it doesn't even seem to try. The earthy vocal work has proven questionable, even amongst the fanbase, some even going so far as to make Turisas comparisons which, at this point, makes you wonder if Ensiferum were reaching for a little inspiration. Alas, for one song it would seem pointless, and surely you'd rather have another version of “Andromeda” or “Midsummer Magic” in its place.

Ensiferum haven't exactly been top tier over the last decade, and the band are probably aware. Yet with a fresh face in clean vocalist and keyboardist Pekka Montin, each member seems revitalized and refreshed and it's clear just how enjoyable the songwriting comes across. There's a general fluency in most songs here that render them simplistic albeit memorable nuggets of Folk-inspired Power metal to enjoy. Thalassic may herald Ensiferum's return to the throne, and hopefully the next album will ride on its momentum.



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user ratings (63)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2020


2637 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

c/c welcome as always. I've felt pretty uninspired during lockdown, so my reviewing is pretty rough at this point. It's nice to know Ensiferum seem reinvigorated though.

Digging: Self Hypnosis - Contagion of Despair

Atari
Staff Reviewer
July 14th 2020


26009 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

was hoping this would get a review! this album was an unexpected surprise.. first 3 tracks are especially good

Digging: Disavowed - Revocation of the Fallen

Mort.
July 14th 2020


15173 Comments


'I think we all remember the days back when Ensiferum were headed for bigger, brighter things in their career'

nope

Mort.
July 14th 2020


15173 Comments


i think the review is well written btw, i just find that starting line a bit presumptous

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2020


2637 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I seem to remember the band getting really popular around the time "From Afar" was released. Probably just me.

Flugmorph
July 14th 2020


23009 Comments


i do declare

zaruyache
July 15th 2020


22834 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

album is OKAY.



I saw them on tour in like december and they apparently are bigger than Kalmah by a bit, so that's something.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
July 15th 2020


26009 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Seafarer's Dream could be a Summoning track. love the way that song leads into "Rum, Women, Victory"

DungeonBoy
July 16th 2020


7938 Comments


wait what, Ensiferum has gone power metal? Not sure I want to hear that, but out of curiosity i'll probably give it a spin

DarkNoctus
July 16th 2020


11167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

for sirens is a banger



cold northland feels very similar to the closer of that last nightwish record (the first disc)

Digging: Noumena - Anima

DoctorVelvet
July 16th 2020


181 Comments


Why does this new vocalist sound like Galneryus' vocalist to me?

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
July 16th 2020


12851 Comments


Right review Rob.

Vanquisher
July 17th 2020


38 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I’m not sure what to rate this. In the world of music this is probably a 3.5, but as an Ensiferum fan this album was great and it completely revitalized my faith in them after whatever the fuck Two Paths. Plus the album needs the rating boost



And Cold Northland sounds a lot more like a continuation of Heathen Throne than Vainamonen, which I thought was a bit disappointing but still a cool song

hansoloshotfirst
July 17th 2020


1461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

after three shitty albums it's kinda comforting to see that they can still produce some good tracks.

DarkNoctus
July 17th 2020


11167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

i think the clean vocalist overdoes it more often than he nails it in this record but at least this album has some really good tracks so yeah, a return to form



i'm actually anticipating their next move which is something i haven't been able to say for ensiferum since 2009

Eakflanderyof
July 17th 2020


2870 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is getting better with repeated listens and I already enjoyed it first listen. Will agree that the singer is pretty over the top on some parts though

valek
July 17th 2020


112 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, after around 8 years of doing meh music ,seems like an album kinda interests me, im diggin' it so far, 4 songs to go.

Evok
July 17th 2020


7919 Comments


these guys are STILL beating his hokey folky schtick to death?

Digging: Winterfylleth - The Siege Of Mercia

Eakflanderyof
July 17th 2020


2870 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes viking metal still exists it seems

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2020


11787 Comments


Ooh glad to hear this is good, will jamalam.



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