|Review: Ensiferum - Unsung Heroes|
Label: SpineFarm Records
Year released: 2012
Genre: Viking Metal
Review online: December 17, 2012
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Rated 3.28/5 (65.6%) (25 Votes)
Unsung Heroes is my first exposure to Finland's Ensiferum and, based on the reviews and comments I've read thus far, it is dividing the band's fan base. I hear Ensiferum combining the furious riffing of Tyr and the catchy melodies and keyboards of Sonata Arctica with folk elements and both harsh and clean singing on Unsung Heroes. To my ears, it sounds pretty damn good.
Unsung Heroes is not as epic as Eric the Red nor as catchy as Ecliptica and it doesn't warrant mention when talking about more Black Metal-oriented Folk albums like Finsterforst's Rastlos. That said, Ensiferum have written some high quality songs and they don't really NEED to be held up to scrutiny against those other bands. "Retribution Shall Be Mine" has some blazing fast drums and an awesome riff while "Celestial Bond," featuring the sweet vocals of keyboardist Emmi Silvennoinen, has a slow, beautiful melody. 17 minute closer "Passion, Proof, Power" reaches for greatness, and very nearly gets there with a varied roller coaster of emotion.
It seems like some long-time fans are going to be disappointed with Ensiferum's musical direction on Unsung Heroes. Their loss, I guess. If, like me, you appreciate grand, sweeping melodies to go along with crunchy guitars, acoustic interludes and mix of vocal styles, you should do yourself a favor and check it out.
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