Autumn is nearly upon us, and with that, the best time to listen to folk metal music also adapts to this time of the year perfectly. The latest release from the Finnish sword bearers ENSIFERUM is some awesome material to start the most amazing season of all. Two Paths (out now, Metal Blade Records) is a hell of an album that’s structured with creativity in many ways. ENSIFERUM continued to bring their awesome art, and with that, also some hunger for them to put their feet in North American soil (hopefully very soon!).
Two Paths is ENSIFERUM’S seventh album. It consists of thirteen fully energetic tracks that play around with your mind in many pleasant ways. While I wouldn’t classify the album as “brutal”, it has some pretty solid melodies and parts to sing along with and sometimes dance to. I believe that most of these songs would make up a great folk party once they’re thrown in the setlist to drink limitless beer.
“Ajattomasta Unesta” builds a good intro to follow “For Those About to Fight for Metal”. This song was released as a single, and I’m pretty sure most of us feel connected with the title. What better way to tell your fans to fight for metal than a moving folk composition? “Way of the Warrior” was also a single, it does certainly start with slower riffs, but it provides some good headbanging material after a few seconds. I just can’t stop loving ENSIFERUM’S melodic work at this point. “Two Paths”, the title track from the record stands out to be an accurate represention of the album and band at this stage. “King of Storms” is a fast-paced song, ideal to come out to war and fight your own battles.
“Feast With Valkyries” made me feel like I was enjoying a glass of wine by a river somewhere in Paris. I just love how all the band members were able to bring their own abilities to the table to put together some not-so-common instruments in metal. Oh, did I mention this song is sung by band member Netta Skog? “Don’t You Say” is one of my favorite tracks from the album; shorter but sweet as well, it has some easy lyrics to remember, and it will probably be some of the first ones that you’ll be able to memorize.
“I Will Never Kneel” holds also one standpoint that most of us agree with. Starting off with hard drums and a solid guitar work, it’s long enough to sit back and keep enjoying the folk metal material. “God is Dead” is for some reason a song that I think would get anybody into ENSIFERUM. The accordion work is lovely and the tune keeps holding the happiness that the band delivers. “Hail to the Victor” slows down the tempo of the record, but still leaves with the high note regardless of its much slower tempo in comparison to the other beautiful tracks.
To finish things off, “Unettomaan Aikaan” serves as the outro; it would’ve worked better if an epic long song was written, but there is always next time, right? Two Paths also includes a couple of extra songs that features Petri Lindroos as the lead voice. Yes, he’s the lead singer all the time, and that also explains that another interesting fact that this album has is that it features vocal work from other band members. That definitely brings some variety, that was a bit hard to adapt to at the beginning, but hey, it’s music after all. The alternative versions of “God is Dead” and “Don’t You Say” are included as bonus tracks.
ENSIFERUM’S members: Petri (vocals, guitar), Markus (chorus, guitar), Sami (bass), Janne (drums) and Netta (accordion, keyboards, chorus) did an awesome job with their newest release. While some of us might think that other albums from the band are actually more epic, I can hardly say no to folk metal, so this one is a YASSS!!!. Make sure you pick this album up and support metal. ENSIFERUM is an underrated band that deserves our pennies and our horns. Amazing job from everybody, and now I’ll take off to listen some more while I watch the leaves fall as the moon rises.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “For Those About to Fight for Metal”, “Two Paths”, “Don’t You Say”, “God is Dead”, “Way of the Warrior”