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Iron

Ensiferum

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Album Review

Much like the sword-wielding Norseman depicted on its front sleeve, the eponymous debut album from Ensiferum unexpectedly invaded the new millennium's budding Viking metal landscape, speedily conquered the loyalties of unsuspecting listeners, and proceeded to set up a permanent settlement within the hearts of many devoted metal fans of all stripes. The strategy for this wholesale takeover was really quite simple, as the Finnish band obviously took stock of the broad inspirational foundations laid down by Sweden's pioneering Bathory before matching them with the more readily accessible songcraft perfected by countrymen Amorphis (while wisely subtracting Finntroll's goofy polka rhythms), to achieve a finely balanced and damn near irresistible Viking folk-metal formula. Move ahead three years and the group apparently developed an ambition to follow Metallica's trail towards world domination, as well, and enlisted the services of their former associate, Flemming Rasmussen, to engineer and mix their sophomore outing — sparingly but emphatically named Iron — at the same Sweet Silence studios in Copenhagen that spawned Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets. It's therefore no surprise that the album's captivating opening instrumental, "Ferrum Aeternum," sounds rather like a folk-metal interpretation of Ennio Morricone's Spaghetti Western classic, "The Ecstasy of Gold" (which of course remains Metallica's concert-opening theme); nor that ensuing numbers like "Sword Chant," "Into Battle," and the title cut bask in the kinetic rush of old-school thrash for inspiration. Conversely, songs like "Tale of Revenge" and "Slayer of Light" bear a more pronounced keyboard presence thanks to newly instated bandmember Meiju Enho, while the majestic march of "Lost in Despair" and the amusingly named "Lai Lai Hei" boast enough compositional flexibility for singer Jari Mäenpää to attempt some surprisingly operatic vocals. Ultimately, Iron is distinguished by further sonic extremes than its predecessor, and despite lacking some of that album's songwriting and stylistic consistency, it once again succeeded in hammering all of those often challenging Viking metal hallmarks into uncommonly immediate song templates. Ok, so achieving universal success on par with Metallica's may have proved too tall an order, in the end, but Iron nevertheless converted numerous new extreme metal fans to Ensiferum's cause. [The CD was also released with bonus tracks.]

Customer Reviews

I am so glad that iTunes has Ensiferum now

This album is really great. Although, in my opinion, all Ensiferum albums are equally superb. If you don't buy the whole album (which I recommend you do, if you don't already have it), a few songs to look into are "Sword Chant", "Slayer of Light", and "Lai Lai Hei". When I bought the album, I didn't recieve the bonus track "Battery" but the sample sounds sick. So just another reason to buy this freakin' album. Hails! and enjoy!

Top Notch

Easily one of the best folk metal albums ever. Every single track is mind blowing. The mix between brutal and clean vocals is perfect, and even includes a female singer on one track. Every song is so intricate. A must own for any self respecting metalhead.

IT IS ABOUT TIME!

It is about time that iTunes features this great Viking/Pagan band. This is the last album before Jari left and join WIntersun and it is a killer. Favs are Iron, Sword Chant and Into the Battle. Definately going to see them at the Paganfest USA tour. My question, though, is WHERE IS THE FIRST ALBUM, ITUNES?

Biography

Formed: 1995 in Helsinki, Finland

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s

A melodic power/death/folk metal band delving in Viking legends for lyrical inspiration, Helsinki, Finland's Ensiferum had to continually coexist with various simultaneous metal projects undertaken by its members. Founded in 1995 by guitarist Markus Toivonen, Ensiferum worked up a number of demo tapes before finally attracting the attention of Finland's powerhouse metal label, Spinefarm, which released their eponymous debut in 2001. The sophomore Iron followed in 2004, and both albums featured vocalist...
Full Bio
Iron, Ensiferum
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