Ensiferum -- Thalassic


★★★☆ I’d wager that when you read the words "Finnish folk metal," some part of you is recalling the mental image of a wooden Viking ship. This album is like that connection: traditional, chilly, sensible, trve. Also, lots of fun. Special props to Pekka Montin on keyboards… and epicly heroic cleans!

Ensiferum -- Two Paths

EnsiferumTwo Paths

★★★☆ If you liked these Finns’ last folk metal album “One Man Army,” you’ll be equally delighted by this one.  There are some questionable vocal moments (the clean singing is especially shaky at times), but that’s a fleeting misstep in an otherwise rambunctious Amon-Amarth-meets-DragonForce beerhall adventure.

Ensiferum -- One Man Army

EnsiferumOne Man Army

My first though, on hearing the typical-for-folk-metal intro, was “God, I fucking hate folk metal.” And then the actual metal proceeded to kick my teeth in. It drags about two-thirds of the way through, but then the band throw a wild curveball with the disco stylings of “Two Of Spades.” Weirdest recovery of the year for sure.