Ensiferum Unsung Heroes 2012

The folk metal genre is usually keep simple kind of metal in the field. This left the folks usually a narrow space to develop this catchy genre. Many band only takes flute, sitar and folk melody then cooked them with double metal drum plus power chord. Ensiferum, however, so far is one of the band that successfully raise the genre beyond that simple formula. They bring elements of orchestral parts, folk song, chanting and choruses well composed in their works. They, usually, always a step ahead to the other. The general reading also “labelled” Ensiferum as the Viking Metal variant of folk metal. This month, the quintet from Finland released fourth album titled “Unsung Heroes”. In a what rather connected news, Wintersun also finally released new material to their new album, but let’s leave this alone for now.

As usual, Ensiferum put in a lengthy orchestral intro to track one, Symbols, that actually setup the mood to the folk and epic feel. In My Sword We Trust come in with the first riff we listen. Captivating the whole spirit, the titled corresponded to band name “Ensiferum” or “sword bearer” in Finland. It is a song perfect to call soldier to packing and jump into the battlefield. Rather slow down is track Unsung Heroes, for this Ensiferum choose to play in the “epic” tempo. The moment then saved again by Burning Leaves, in its typical folk intro answered by electric guitar melody the song has enough verse and chorus relationship that memorable and inviting listener to join the singing. The chain of mood break again by totally soft and sweet folk ballad Celestial Bond sing by female member keyboardist Emmi Silvennoinen . In some parts the song bring me to RPG games ala Final Fantasy or Chrono Cross feeling. The backing percussion, flutes and picked string really light up the atmosphere of open space and travel. Retribution Shall Be Mine is fastest track, in addition there is minor element of power metal feeling riff. Celestial Bond actually continued again in part II Star Queen. Slow track with emphasizes to lyric and theme executed by fine song writing. Pohjola is atmospheric Finnish language folk metal track. Then there is a seventeen minutes finale that combined all the elements , orchestral and sopranic voice in the Passion, Proof, Power. Hopefully this will exhaust everyone then forget them to listen the bonus tracks.

The album Unsung Heroes still come with catchy and energetic Viking songs. Only that the chain of mood rather ding dong out by slow ballads in every afterward of fast song. Petri Lindroos voice captured the brave spirit the warriors inside the story. Not forget the chorus that able to give the “crowd” chanting feeling all around for us to join. Then here comes the comparison to the previous album “From Afar”, Ensiferum seems did not managed to tackle their fantastic achievement on that album. Song like Twilight Tavern from album “From Afar” is what really we missed here. Nevertheless, Unsung Heroes give a different dimension, the "mature" dimension. Come abroad now all folk with this new vision.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Ensiferum Unsung Heroes
buy it here @ Amazon

Disc I
01. Symbols
02. In My Sword I Trust
03. Unsung Heroes
04. Burning Leaves
05. Celestial Bond
06. Retribution Shall Be Mine
07. Star Queen (Celestial Bond Part II)
08. Pohjola
09. Last Breath
10. Passion, Proof, Power
11. Bamboleo [Gipsy Kings cover] [deluxe edition bonus]

Disc II [DVD] [deluxe edition bonus]
+ From Symbols To Passion: The Making Of Unsung Heroes
+ Studio Diary: Week 1-7

Petri Lindroos - vocals, guitars
Emmi Silvennoinen - keyboards
Markus Toivonen - guitars, backing vocals
Janne Parviainen - drums
Sami Hinkka - bass

Guest musicians
Laura Dziadulewicz - vocals
Kasper Mårtenson - synthesizer
Vesa-Matti Loiri - speech
Ulla Bürger - soprano vocals
Lassi Lógren - keyed fiddle
Timo Väänänen - kantele
Pasi Puolakka - flute, descant recorder, sopranino recorder
Daniel "Fuchs" Täumel - additional voice
Adrian "Ady" Vogel - additional voice
Volkmar "Volk-Man" Weber - additional voice

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