ENSIFERUM — Ensiferum

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ENSIFERUM - Ensiferum cover
4.08 | 28 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2001

Filed under Folk Metal


1. Intro (1:50)
2. Hero in a Dream (3:40)
3. Token of Time (4:15)
4. Guardians of Fate (3:34)
5. Old Man (Väinämöinen) (5:32)
6. Little Dreamer (Väinämöinen, Part II) (5:20)
7. Abandoned (6:50)
8. Windrider (5:40)
9. Treacherous Gods (5:12)
10. Eternal Wait (5:13)
11. Battle Song (3:19)
12. Goblins' Dance (4:29)

Total Time: 55:00


- Jari Mäenpää / guitar, vocals
- Markus Toivonen / guitar
- Jukka-Pekka Miettinen / bass guitar
- Oliver Fokin / drums, percussion


- Henri Sorvali (a.k.a. Trollhorn) / keyboards
- Marita Toivonen / kantele
- Johanna Vakkuri / vocals
- Teemu Saari / vocals
- Antti Mikkonen / vocals

About this release

Label: Spinefarm

Thanks to bartosso, adg211288, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
I first heard ENSIFERUM on an internet radio station when they played the folk metal classic “Treacherous Gods.” This band has the honor of introducing me to the fact that there was a whole subgenre called folk metal. I can't think of a more epic and folky representation of the genre than ENSIFERUM which is Latin for “sword bearing.” I still wonder if folk metal deserves to be a separate subgenre since folk instrumentation is a fairly common embellishment in different styles of metal ranging from Spinal Tap to Neurosis to lots of power metal acts such as Rhapsody, but it has been established as a legit subgenre and ENSIFERUM is one of my favorite albums from that category.

The music is as most folk metal tends to be, that is a form of traditional metal attributes such as galloping riffs, soaring solos and a wider range in the vocal styles all mixed with the scales of traditional European folk music. ENSIFERUM pulls it off well keeping a nice melodic yet energetic pace throughout the album. Songs tend to start with acoustic intros that blast into full fledged metallic fury delivering exciting and epic sagas of times when heoric battles ensued in the primeval forests of days gone by.

ENSIFERUM was founded way back in 1995 by Markus Toivonen on guitar, Sauli Savolainen on bass and Kimmo Miettinen handling drum duties but by the time they finally recorded this album they recruited Jari Mäenpää as the vocalist and secondary guitarist who has the perfect raspy voice that suits this music quite well. The album has a very lush sound because we get guest musicians adding keyboards, several vocal parts and the addition of the traditional Finnish instrument the kantele which is a zither type instrument. If you want to start your folk metal journey with an album that delivers on an epic scale then this debut album by ENSIFERUM won't disappoint.
The music from the Viking's heart

I'll put it bluntly - I love this album! Everything is on board of this Viking ship - captivating melodies, fantastic riffing, great musicianship and, most of all, metal. Every time I need something melodic and accessible yet still ambitious, I reach for ENSIFERUM.

This album is like well told Nordic legend - fantastic melodic intro engrosses the listener in a fabulous world of almost forgotten events and heroes (with beards and axes for sure). The effect is attained with blackened growls, great Viking choirs and catchy riffs with folk feel about them. The guitarists draw from heavy metal and black metal traditions to create absolutely flawless guitar themes. Every song flows like the Norwegian current - there is no place for boredom, the music simply abound with consistent, atmospheric ideas. Although normally I would give 3 stars to that kind of record - good melodies and execution are not enough to describe an album as excellent - in this case it's neither atmosphere nor concept nor technical prowess which make up the core of this release. It's the heart. Those Finns know how to use it.

Why not 5 stars then? Well, there are two reasons: 1. not all of the songs are equally appealing. I don't mean that they're worse in term of structure/composition. It's just that some songs (e.g. "Eternal Wait", "Battle Song") leave me cold. They're nice folky tunes, I enjoy them, but nothing more. 2. That is highly enjoyable record, really. But it lacks in true depth which usually induce me to give the highest recommendation. I believe that with such a talent these guys would be able to create a breathtaking masterpiece. But they just want to play folk metal. And all credit to them for that.

ENSIFERUM is a must-have for all fans of heavy folk metal with beautiful, fabulous melodies. Honestly, I've never heard anything better in this sub-genre. It's a very, very good record, with a few masterpiece attributes, but it's definitely not a masterpiece. Well, in the Viking metal - yes it is. In the whole metal - no. Anyway, highly recommended!

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