Album review: Ensiferum “Thalassic”

By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks

Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum returns with its eighth full-length studio album, “Thalassic”.

Finland remains a major force in global heavy metal. It has great bands playing many different kinds of metal sub-genres, but perhaps it is the world number one in folk metal. Ensiferum, formed in 1995, is no doubt one of Finland’s best folk metal bands. There have been numerous line-up changes over the years, but founding guitarist Markus Toivonen still leads the band. The band’s Nordic roots are obvious throughout everything it does: in the lyrics, visuals, choice of instruments and attitude. These are a bunch of proud Finns who don’t try to fit in or deliver what is considered to be cool. They just get on with playing the music they want to play. Their music has more variations and fewer self-imposed parameters for the music to fit into than some of their fellow Finnish folk metal bands. Ensiferum is certainly best described as folk metal. It is catchy, melodic, energetic and with some great brutality in places. At times this is power metal mixed with melodic death metal and great folk music touches to bind it all together in its Finnish glory. A song like “Andromeda” shows this beautifully and so does “Run from the Crushing Tide”, my favourite track on the album. But we also get almost straight-up folk music on songs like the fabulous “Merille Lahteva”. The album also features a magnificent cover of “I’ll Stay by Your Side”, originally done by 60s Danish pop band The Lollipops. But no matter what genre certain songs fit into, Ensiferum’s music on this album is simply terrific. The Japanese edition contains a terrific raw demo version of the single “Rum, Women, Victory” as a bonus track.

Ensiferum’s new album “Thalassic” is out now via Metal Blade Records internationally. The Japanese edition will be released on 24th July via Ward Records.

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www.ensiferum.com

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