There will be running and galloping, the drawing of swords, a rain of arrows. There will be battle axes and torches at night, the cleaving of bone, the wailing of women. There will be longboats on the rivers, blood will be spilled, heroes will be made. There will be kilts and animal skins and war paint. There will be victory songs and anthems to the ancestors. And they will all fucking rock.
Yesterday our installment in this series highlighted two bands that had varying degrees of folk-metal influence in their sound. Today, we’re wading deeper into Finnish folk-metal waters — but not just any kind of folk metal. It’s folk metal with lots of fucking swords.
Ensiferum is the Latin word for “sword-bearer”. The band was founded in 1995, and since their formation, Ensiferum have released four full-length albums, one EP, one compilation, three singles, and three demo albums. We’re not familiar with the full discography, but we know and like the last two albums — Victory Songs (2007) and From Afar (2009). We also got the chance to see them play in Seattle, and they’re even better live than on disc — they know how to whip a crowd into a frenzied, frothing mass of motion.
Ensiferum take the speedy, flashy mix of keyboard- and guitar-driven Finnish melodeath popularized by Children of Bodom and color it with folkish melodies and lyrical themes that speak of legends and myths and heroes with swords. They feature a mix of harsh and clean vocals, epic Viking chants, and fast-as-shit riffing and rhythms. (more after the jump, including a shitload of music and some exciting tour news . . .)