Oh man, this... Really, I... Ouf... This is... I... Well... Ack... WOW! I lack words like not in a looong time before!
For months I could read about ENSIFERUM and I could hardly await to hear them. After the whole waiting became too much, I just posted on a Finnish message-board (Hail "Suomi Finland Perkele"!), asking if anybody knew the band and - woop - I had a link to a song and from that moment on I was taken. Now, finally, "Ensiferum" is rotating in my player and I am on a musical cloud 9!
I really don't get how these Finns time and again manage to spawn such brilliant bands, is it in the water or maybe their mothers' milk has a higher Metal-content, I've got no clue, but for me ENSIFERUM are standing damn high up on the scale of brilliance in Heavy Metal already!
The logo of Tuomas Tahvanainen and the cover ob Necrolord Kristian Wåhlin alone are a feast for the eyes, but still they are nothing compared to the music, which is, well, before relapsing into my problems of the start, WOW! Supermelodic Black/Death Metal, in all speeds between slow-paced and hyperspeed (with soooooooo great double-bass!!!), incredible melodies from traditional Metal (the riffs) and folk, rough vocals and brilliantststst choirs, which would have secured the Vikings victory on any battle-field... And do not get me wrong, I have not yet described the whole album, but only the opener "Hero In A Dream"!!
The rest of the album? Well, also going into this very varied direction, brilliant Metal with gripping melodies, dynamic song-structures, super-tight rhythm-section, shredding guitars and great vocals (these choirs!!!)... Just brilliant! Catchy from the very start, but never shallow, must be a great mixture for a live-concert! And when "Eternal Wait" features a Kantele, you have full folkloric authenticity as well!
I don't want to even try to give you any songs to check out, because without exception ALL songs are brilliant and I do not want to be unjust to any song by naming a different one. They also are far too multi-faceted and varied as to be able to give you the gist of them. What, you want to read comparisons with bands like CHILDREN OF BODOM, FALCONER, AMORPHIS and co.? No, no, I won't compare anything, ENSIFERUM are ENSIFERUM, 'nuff said!
This album is a very hot contender on Top 5 of 2001, if not more! Who likes heavy, hymnic Metal with tons of variety and doesn't get ENSIFERUM right away or at least checks it out will be excommunicated from the Metal-fanship on the spot!