Album One Man Army
Release Date: 24 February 2015
Label Metal Blade Records Genre Folk Metal
I applaud this band for sticking around and leading the folk metal charge into battle. Excuse the pun, but Ensiferum has always defined the genre for me. Their music is influenced with visions of war and battles, and has flutes and bells to accompany the vicious metal blasting through the mix. One Man Army is the band’s latest release, due out February 24th, through Metal Blade Records.
“March of War” sets the tone, preparing the listener for the battle to come. “Axe of Judgement” blisters its way home with luscious guitar riffs and galloping drums, standard to Ensiferum’s sound since their first release in 2000. The tone of this album comes off darker, however, with moments like the middle of “Without a War.”
Has anyone played Skyrim recently? Has anyone ever played Skyrim while listening to a band whose music is comprised of epic fantasy battles? Rushing in to slaughter a dragon priest while the title track, “One Man Army,” is playing only adds to the experience. The thrash riff is reminiscent of “Fight Fire With Fire,” by the great Metallica, adding various other instruments and gang vocals telling the story of a man on a mission to kill.
This album is energetic and a fun listen. There are times, however, that Ensiferum does let this fall a bit. Maybe it is my lack of attention span, but the two longer tracks on the album, “Cry for the Earth Bounds” and “Descendants, Defiance, Domination,” drag out their builds a bit too long. The latter could make its appearance as the soundtrack for The Battle For Helms Deep, but without the imagery it can feel a bit like it drones on and on. Allowing the wait for the build of One Man Army (54 minutes without the bonus tracks) is worth the wait.
The Verdict: 3.5/5
I love what Petri Lindroos has done for this band since he took over guitar and vocal duties. The music is fresh, the fantasy that is One Man Army bleeds the standard makeup for an Ensiferum album. Every little piece that has made this folk mastery interesting is continued here. While a little drawn out at times, make sure to turn on the History Channel's Vikings and let this unfold the true story of war.