Sunday, 21 December 2008

CD Review: Victory Songs, by Ensiferum (2007)

Finland's Ensiferum continue to shine as the leading folk-metal band, with this their third CD delivering an outstandingly uniform songlist full of quality.

While Victory Songs unfortunately does not contain a stand-out track, it also avoids any weak or filler material. Clocking at a perfect 9 tracks and just under 50 minutes, Victory Songs is a collection of well-constructed, thoughtful and melodic heavy metal songs, never straying far from Ensiferum's folk roots but providing enough adventure and variety to remain fresh.

Ensiferum's achievements on this CD are made more remarkable by the fact that between 2004's excellent Iron and Victory Songs in 2007, three-fifths of the band's members changed. Only Meiju Enho and Markus Toivonen survived between the two CDs. But newcomers Petri Lindros, Sami Hinkka and Janne Parviainen slot in seamlessly, and the band sounds, if anything, tighter and more robust. Toivonen (music) and Hinkka (lyrics) do most of the writing on this CD.

The vocals, shared between three band members, are for the most part clean, and the lyrics are decipherable for those who wish to follow the stories of mystic warriors and epic battles.

The best tracks here are opener Ad Victoriam, a typical short but brilliant instrumental; One More Magic Potion, which grows in stature with repeated listens; and the closing title track Victory Songs, which occupies over 10 minutes, and delivers outstanding musical storytelling that transforms time back to the mist-shrouded medieval ages. It is Ensiferum's ability to deliver journeys like these that makes them a welcome addition to the heavy metal landscape.


Petri Lindroos - Guitars, Vocals
Markus Toivonen - Guitars, Vocals
Sami Hinkka - Bass, Vocals
Meiju Enho - Keyboards
Janne Parviainen - Drums

Songlist (Ratings out of 10):

1. Ad Victoriam - 9
2. Blood is the Price of Glory - 8
3. Deathbringer from the Sky - 8 *See Video Below*
4. Ahti - 8
5. One More Magic Potion - 9
6. Wanderer - 8
7. Raised by the Sword - 7
8. The New Dawn - 7
9. Victory Song - 9

Average: 8.11

Recorded and Engineered by Janne Joutsenniemi and Nino Laurenne.
Produced by Janne Joutsenniemi and Ensiferum.
Mixed by Nino Laurenne. Mastered by Mika Jussila.

All Ace Black Blog CD Reviews are here.

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