Ensiferum – Unsung Heroes


Artist

Album

Unsung Heroes

Label

Spinefarm Records

Year

2012

Genre

For Fans Of

Amon Amarth – Enslaved – Alestorm

Summary

Grab the swords and heads for the hills.

Rating

72 / 100

Is it possible to be an unintended parody of yourself? While it’s a tongue-in-cheek question with no apparent answer, Finnish metal Ensiferum certainly go close to embodying this notion.

Folk/Viking metal, yep this is a style that only the Scandinavians can pull off. It just wouldn’t have the same genuine appeal if it were some upstart band from Los Angeles or even Melbourne.

Sometimes metal is just an overly precious genre, taking itself way too seriously. However, how stern can a genre be that features members in a Viking ship, wielding swords with their shirts off and what appears to be Major League Baseball cultivated eye black under the eyelids.

Self-labelled ‘heroic folk metal’ Ensiferum present their fifth studio – ‘Unsung Heroes’ in the form of 10 uplifting and flowing tales of conquest and history.

After an instrumental opening the tone transitions into ‘In My Sword I Trust’, which features the title sung in collective and repeated refrain throughout. It’s metal with a bit of character and a bit of charm. While, the listeners’ smirk is hard to wipe, in fairness, the music is consistent and well polished. It’s not as heavy as contemporaries Amon Amarth, but it has that same geographic and stylistic relevance. “Rise my brothers, we are blessed by steel. In my sword I trust.” – it says it all really.

Unsung Heroes’ is more dramatic and melodic in tone, while ‘Burning Leaves’ picks up the pace once more. ‘Celestial Bond’ is the folksy, female-sung ballad and ‘Retribution Shall Be Mine’ is probably the standout.

Sub-plots and overt imagery aside, ‘Unsung Heroes’ is a strong listen. It’s varied; it’s interesting enough and does have a strong melodic death element to the riffs.

Is this music powerful enough to inspire one to head to the hills, pillage the villages and take their rightful rewards or is it simply a fitting soundtrack to those people who play simulated fantasy games on weeknights at Melbourne’s Princes Park? it matters little. Ensiferum get a pass mark here.

Conclusion

‘Unsung Heroes’ is unintentionally over the top. It’s ludicrous, but in a very positive way. That makes sense, right? The themes may be grandiose, but the music is controlled and flowing.

Tracklisting

1. Symbols

2. In My Sword I Trust

3. Unsung Heroes

4. Burning Leaves

5. Celestial Bond

6. Retribution Shall Be Mine

7. Star Queen (Celestial Bond part II)

8. Pohjola

9. Last Breath

10. Passion Proof Power

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