Sound — 8
I first heard of Ensiferum about a year ago, I was messing around on youtube and I saw a video set to this wonderful song. I inquired about it, and the video owner told me that the song I was listening to was Lai Lai Hei! I fell in love with that song. Anyways, earlier this year, Ensiferum released Victory Songs. This is the first LP that the new vocalist Petri Lindroos was on. His screams are very different from the former vocalist (Jari Maenpaa). I like Petris vocals more, they are screams, but they feel smoother than Jari's. The first track of the album is called "Ad Victoriam". It is a purely instrumental song, it sounds very much like something you would hear while playing Age of Empires. There are 10 total tracks to the new album, but there's one that stands above all the rest. "Victory Song". It is so creative and wonderful. It starts slow, with the midieval instruments, but then changes to the "heroic folk metal" that Ensiferum loves to play. It's 9:20 long, and every second is awesome. Other songs like Ahti, One More Magic Potion, and Deathbringer from the sky are also great songs. The song Ahti features Sami Hinkka doing low screams, which (to my knowledge) hasn't been done before. Sami's low screams combined with Petri's high screams make for an excellent song.
Lyrics — 6
Well, bands in this genre don't usually have the most creative lyrics. As sorry as I am to say, Ensiferum lacks great lyrics. They're cool to listen to, but they have no real meaning. In One More Magic Potion, Petri actually screams "We knocked the door very loudly!" I was cracking up the first time I heard that line. The other songs don't deviate from this either. Many have strange lines that are just plain bad. "The guard woke up the sleeping men with the sound of a bronze horn!" Ok? I love this music, but the lyrics just don't quite do it for me. I feel like Jari had much better lyrics in their past albums.
Overall Impression — 9
This, by far, is my favorite album from Ensiferum. Markus Toivonen has some brilliant guitar solos, Petri's screams are awesome, the drums will pump you up so much, you mght have to tranquilize yourself. Brilliant music, bad lyrics. IMO, Ensiferum is the top band in folk metal. They dominate every other band in this genre and even some bands that are in similar genres (COB). They have taken their music to the next level. I think they've reached the ultimate goal for a band. They have made awesome albums in the past and they just released another awesome album without keeping the exact same sound, but without losing the sound of Ensiferum, the sound we know and love. The biggest downfall with this album is that it was very hard to get here in the US. I probably could have downloaded it for free from Limewire or something, but I love this band sooo much, I just couldn't steal from them. If you have this album, I love you. If you don't, get your ass off UG and head over to Ebay or something. I can't wait to see what direction this band will take with their next album. Peace.