Sound — 10
Ensiferum, for anyone who didn't know, play a brand of Folk/power metal with extreme vocals. This is their self titled album and the best record they have ever done. Not a lot of people know the history of the band, so I'll do a short recap. They've released three albums (s/t, Iron and Victory songs) and they are responsible for making this reviewer do little jigs everytime he does housework. It's probably my favourite CD along with Gamma ray's 'Somewhere out in space'. It's pure escapism, the way music should be. When they released their second album, Main vocals/lead guitar playing Jari Whatever you call him left the band to start up his own project, the self proclaimed Epic winter metal outfit, Wintersun. The sound of this album is huge. Production is amazing, strangely it has better production than either two albums released in it's wake. Ensiferum's sound is a culmination of what is good about folk and power metal with some cream on the top. Clean Vocals, Harsh vocals, Chanting, heavy riffs, melodic breaks, this album has a lot of musical ideas. And they are all executed so well. Coming from an avid hater of most Extreme vocals, I'm impressed by Jari's Punchy Growl. it's a very high sound he makes, and his clean vocals are awesome as well.
Lyrics — 10
My favourite tracks as follows. Hero In A Dream - totally in your face track but melodic at the same time. Verse riff is a palm muted, Hetfield type affair. If you don't like the lyrics in the chorus you are probably dead. Its a very well structured song, has a lot going on and its all brilliantly executed. The solo shows promise of what Jari can actually do on guitar, well before the his manic solos on the Wintersun album. Token Of Time - very, very folky mid tempo track.One part of it bursts into a little Jig section which always make me want to dance. Ahem. The lyrics are typically insane ('I shall fight to restore the moon!') A Great Track, the mixture of clean vocals alongside growled works very well. Guardians Of Fate - another song in the 'Fry your ass off' collection, this track completely rips. The pre chorus has a huge viking riff, it fits in so well with the song despite it being a slow point in the song. Chanting ensues, it sounds like something you'd hear a Irish pub band play. Little Dreamer - mid tempo. Quite melodic and has excellent vocals and lyrics. Verse riffs use some tremelo picked ideas. The drums hook in well in these sections. Windrider - a bit of a grower this one. I didn't like first of all but listening to it a few times, it's probably one of the more stronger tracks on the album. Many different sections including two very melodic bits (the last one being fantastic). The lyrics are very strong, for some reason it makes me think the Windrider is an undead Viking Warrior, driven by revenge. Its probably not even about that, the mind wanders. Treacherous Gods - 'The land is silent, before the storm!' And with that Battlecry, the kickassery commences. I love this song. Absolutely adore it. The lyrics, the vocals, the riffs. It has a fast section at the end of the track, if you fail to be impressed by it you shouldn't be listening to music at all. Makes me want to unleash the 'Inner viking' and fight mighty gods. Eternal Wait - ballad like song. Vocals are astounding, heavenly layered choir type effect with male and female voices. Sounds very 'Greensleeves' at the start of it. Awesome, plain and simple.
Overall Impression — 9
Without a doubt, if you are going to buy an Ensiferum album, buy this one. It is a great introduction to their somewhat tiny catalogue. The only things wrong with it is one track I haven't mentioned. 'Old man' is a pretty good song but not my cup of tea. Very slow in places but I can see how others would like it. All the other tracks I haven't mentioned are wonderful. Battle song and Abandoned are powerful tracks. Probably the best album of all time. If you are a would be Warrior who likes Turisas, Eluveitie and Finntroll, then you probably own this. If you don't you have no excuses. A gem. I would buy it a million times over. Plus it is great to wash dishes to.