Ensiferum - Thalassic
Metal Blade
Folk/Power Metal
9 songs (43:46)
Release year: 2020
Ensiferum, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Goat

Not always the world's most popular band, since the departure of a certain Mr Mäenpää it has seemed as though some of Finland's finest folksters have lacked a little something, and Ensiferum albums released in the last decade have been received with mixed reactions, at best! Still, their former bandmate has only managed to release two disappointing albums in that time and is better known for his seemingly endless Patreon controversies, and Thalassic is good enough to remind you of when Ensiferum were a big name and could back it up. A line-up change after the poor reaction to 2017's Two Paths has definitely helped the band, accordionist and female vocalist Netta Skog being dumped in favour of keyboardist/male vocalist Pekka Montin, and his clean singing boosts the band's power metal side and mixes well with Petri Lindroos' usual snarl.

And the songwriting is very good, stirring orchestral intro Seafarer's Dream providing a cinematic burst of grandeur before the melodic gallop of Rum, Women, Victory establishes itself as essentially a power metal song (with mostly harsh vocals). It's driven by plenty of widdly lead guitar and folksy melodies, full of energy and delivered with enough passion to remind you of the sadly departed Kiuas! Ensiferum prove across the album that they still have a way with a folk metal song that makes the likes of Andromeda stick in your head with hooks galore and enough instrumental showing-off to keep those of a proggier inclination happy. The pronunciation of Andromeda is a little odd to these ears but it's one of a very few nitpicks to be found across the album, such as how the stompy groove to parts of For Sirens initially sits uncomfortably alongside the folkier parts. You have to credit the vocal performances of Lindroos and especially Montin as more than enough to save the day and make the track good, however, the keyboardist a strong hire for Ensiferum that even manages to make mandatory ballad One With the Sea something of an epic highlight, only slightly feeling like a lesser Nightwish tune!

His incorporation across the album helps the feeling that Ensiferum have rejuvenated themselves, along with leftfield touches like the Spaghetti Western strums and horns in The Defence of the Sampo and the campfire-singalong folksiness of Midsummer Magic. It's close to a perfect formula overall, the power metal grandiosity helping fuel energetic and simply fun pieces like Run from the Crushing Tide. And near-nine minute finale Cold Northland (Väinämöinen Part III) is a fine way to end things, beginning with slower, almost classic doom riffs and building into an orchestral-backed epic metal battler. Folk metal as a genre doesn't have the finest reputation amongst discerning metalheads, but Thalassic is proof that it can be a lot of fun rather than a turgid bore, and Ensiferum helping provide more unique-sounding power metal to the scene is only positive.

Killing Songs :
Andromeda, Run from the Crushing Tide, Midsummer Magic, Cold Northland
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Ensiferum that we have reviewed:
Ensiferum - One Man Army reviewed by Andy and quoted 76 / 100
Ensiferum - Unsung Heroes reviewed by Chris and quoted 59 / 100
Ensiferum - From Afar reviewed by Kyle and quoted 94 / 100
Ensiferum - Victory Songs reviewed by Cody and quoted 85 / 100
Ensiferum - Dragonheads (EP) reviewed by Kayla and quoted no quote
To see all 8 reviews click here
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