Finnish metal band Ensiferum is now called true veterans in the genre. Ensiferum was founded in 1995 and they are generally still leaving headbangers with sore necks in 2015, probably a lot more than ever. The Fins who describes their type of metal as melodic folk metal has recorded their strongest album to date. The new album ‘One Man Army’ shows the group increasing their craft on every level.
Ensiferum’s sound is marked by combining death metal influences and harsh vocals with melodies and folk inspirations. On ‘One Man Army’ they have got perfected this blend further. The album depends on the 90-second intro ‘March Of War’ before it breaks into ‘Axe Of Judgement’, an antique opener with neck-breaking speed, many double-bass action and fast riffs. In true Ensiferum style they include references to Russian folk music, a choir plus a break within the middle from the song which doesn’t only groove but includes Accept-like choir sequences. Most metal fans will rejoice.
‘Heathen Horde’ follows and brings some metal parts, some guitar melodies even seem like Maiden. Arching over-all this may be the extensive use from the choir-like gang vocals, a recurring theme for the remainder in the album. The burglary the middle ventures into medieval folk music before this rock band picks up speed again. Ensiferum then enter fifth gear together with the title track ‘One Man Army’. Ultra-fast riffs, sharp melodies and again the choir would be the trademarks in this song. The 2-minute ballad ‘Burden Of The Fallen’ supplies a welcomed break.
The remaining six songs from the album remain on the same high-quality level. Ensiferum range between epic song structures (the 11-minute ‘Descendant, Defiance, Domination’) to fast up-beat tracks (‘Two Of Spades’) to late Maiden-like prog adventures (‘Warrior Without A War’). It is not easy to pick a highlight on the album. All songs have their own own little treasures to find out. The special of ‘One Man Army’ incorporates three bonus songs including a cover with the classic ‘Rawhide’ which really suits this rock band’s sound.
Ensiferum have not changed their style as compared to previous album. Neither have they been rewritten the storyline of rock. But what they’ve done should be to create a unique type of metal that’s recognisable and different from most mainstream metal bands currently. It is not scouting around for harder, faster and even more extreme metal you find for this album. Instead you will find well-crafted songs that will make for just a neck-breaking live concert.
Bottom line is that Ensiferum have released an extremely strong album which is to be on many top 10 lists at the end in the year. The metal veterans from Finland have perfected their sound a little more forward. Their six full-length album releases have cultivated stronger from record to record. ‘One Man Army’ would be the logical continuation with this row of strong releases. It seems this rock band has a lot more to present in the future years. Watch them live should they play in the area.