|Review: Ensiferum - From Afar|
Label: SpineFarm Records
Year released: 2009
Genre: Viking Metal
Review online: October 31, 2009
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 4.2/5 (84.05%) (74 Votes)
As the Folk Metal scene wavers and flourishes, it's becoming harder and harder to find quality in the endless stream of hangers on that seem to be populating the genre, but standing above them all with a furry bear-skinned boot planted firmly on the ground are Finnish masters Ensiferum, a band so damn authentic you'd think they were born with a sword in their collective hands. After a major line up change for the phenomenal Victory Songs, Ensiferum have returned with their fourth full-length, the scalding From Afar, and let me tell you boys and girls of the glade, this baby is a winner.
Now, those expecting perhaps any serious alterations to their sound will probably be disappointed, as the material found on From Afar sits very close to what the Finns have served up before. Only this time things are much more symphonic, and there is a greater concentration on developing atmosphere rather than theme, although lyrically this is just as chest-beating as their previous work, perhaps, on tracks like the epic "Heathen Throne", even more so. Through a cold, wintry production, Ensiferum lead us across ever more perilous woodland, mixing sweeping Folk Metal with dark Melo-Death and speedy Power Metal, complete with their trademark rasps and chants and their Elvenking-meets-Children Of Bodom-esque swagger. The songs this time are simply divine, from the blistering "Elusive Reaches" to the immense closer "The Longest Journey", From Afar is a veritable platter of archaic wonder that just sucks away the centuries. The two highlights, without question, are the bombastic "Stone Cold Metal" and, the best track the band have written since the superb "Iron", the majestic "Twilight Tavern", a song so damn catchy you'll have to chase it down with a mouthful of Corvonia.
The performances are as superlative as ever, the composition is nothing if not stellar, and as a whole, From Afar is a stroke of epic, medieval genius. Ensiferum have done it again, and as far as I'm concerned, Folk Metal doesn't get much better than this.
|Other related information on the site|
|Review: Ensiferum (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)|
Review: From Afar (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Two Paths (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Review: Unsung Heroes (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Unsung Heroes (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Victory Songs (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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