Ensiferum – One Man Army


Artist

Album

One Man Army

Label

Metal Blade

Year

2015

Genre

For Fans Of

Wintersun - Finntroll

Summary

An entertaining balance of old folk sounds and grinding heavy metal.

Rating

90 / 100

Ensiferum have been flying the flag for folk metal for years. If you’re a band from Scandinavia it’s almost a prerequisite, right?! However, with some, dare we say (politely), average reviews for their predecessor, ‘Unsung Heroes,’ it seems Ensiferum need a jolt. A new source of inspiration, perhaps. Enter new release, ‘One Many Army,’ which shows a larger focus on the production of instrumentals and proves a solid piece of contemporary folk metal.

Intro track, ‘March of War,’ harks back to the old norse days. With its strings and ascending background vocals, the song sets up an air of heightened suspense before throwing the listener into the more metal driven ‘Axe of Judgement.’ When you think of folk metal you might not gravitate towards something excessively heavy but this aforementioned track is fast and angry, pushing you straight into the thick of battle. The intense guitars, raging vocals mixed with background old choir like vocals show an ideal balance between the prominent folk and metal elements.

The title track begins another onslaught of aggressive vocals and fast tempos to get your head banging. Equally, more high group choir vocals provide a perfect build up that invites audience interaction.

Conversely, there are a few slower, interlude type moments on this album such as ‘Burden of the Fallen,’ which provides beautiful slow strings and cleans vocals. These type of short one-two minute tracks provide you with a breathe of fresh air before the intense battle re-commences.

Ensiferum have been known to use female vocals before and we see this again utilised on both ‘Warrior Without a War’ and ‘Cry for the Earth Bounds.’ Both tracks take a slightly slower approach to the sound in places and include some intoxicating grooves. They build such an intense atmosphere that empowers you with visual imagery of long haired, bearded norse men charging the fields with swords in hand.

Additionally, the record also includes four bonus tracks and if you are going to listen to any of them, ‘Rawhide’ is definitely the one. It’s a little different to the rest of the album, it presents an upbeat moment befitting of a folk styled festival.

Folk metal is an acquired taste. It’s not designed to please everyone’s ears. However, with a title that sounds like it has a chip on its shoulder, ‘One Man Army‘ is quite a strong offering.

Conclusion

‘One Man Army’ is an album that has character and sucks you in. Memorable riffs and grooves, chanting group vocals and beautiful strings all the while mixed with intense metal create a real sonic atmosphere. It’s both a fun, inclusive and musically impressive piece of work.

Tracklisting

March Of War
Axe Of Judgement
Heathen Horde
One Man Army
Burden Of The Fallen
Warrior Without A War
Cry For The Earth Bounds
Two Of Spades
My Ancestors’ Blood
Descendants, Defiance, Domination
Neito Pohjolan
Rawhide (Bonus Track)
Warmetal (Bonus Track)
Candour and Lies (Bonus Track)
Bonus Song (Bonus Track)

Leave a Reply

You must be registered and logged in to comment on this post.