Ensiferum - Victory Songs
Spinefarm Records
Folk Metal
9 songs (49:56)
Release year: 2007
Ensiferum, Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Cody

Folk metal is one of those genre constructs that seemingly defies imagination based on the broad sounds that fall within its classification. With bands like Korpiklaani, The Lord Weird Slough Feg and Finntroll constantly re-invigorating the genre with regional sounds being infused with every song, fans and critics alike are constantly finding new reasons to listen. Finnish folk legends Ensiferum have been playing this music for along time and are often considered pioneers of the modern folk movement. Enfusing viking/black metal aggression with traditional Nordic folk tunes, this band are leaders in popularizing this genre. Ensiferum's latest outing Victory Songs is more of the familiar sound fans have grown to love, but does it continue to bring us new and exciting additions to their discography?

Bringing the perfect balance between folk elements in the introductions (which always sets up the aggression to come quite well), and a mix of both traditional folk and metal throughout each of the songs is what this band has used as their trademark since day one, and it works flawlessly. Victory Songs supplies a little variation in where and when this formula is executed, but the main ratio of folk to metal is most definitely still there and is the main selling point for this band. Literally every song on this album, from start to finish is a captivating experience with its own personality, and that, in my opinion, is what truly makes a memorable album. Despite how good this album is, I honestly don't think it measures up quite as well to the standards of the previous albums, and this is simply due to the fact that this record is a tad less creative. As I mentioned earlier, this album will exceed the expectations of folk metal fans as it is an extremely satisfying release, but the double bass and aggressive borderline black metal guitar tones at times can become a tad overpowering in some of the songs. On their past albums, making use of melody to unite the heavy and the folk was a procession that few bands can replicate, so to say they almost managed to pull it off without a hitch again is saying alot about the performance of Ensiferum.

There are a few standout tracks, mainly towards the end of the album when I feel the creativity really begins to pick up. The first song that should be mentioned is Raised by the Sword, which is more of an aggressive song, but the melodies used in this one are so original its hard not toput this song on repeat. This is one of those moments when anyone who doubts that aggression can be beautiful need to eat their words, because this song is heavy and beautiful at the same time. To me, it exemplifies what is great about black metal styled aggression which emphasizes bleakness as its calling card; this song maintains this feeling but it does it in such a poetic way.

The second song I feel should be given mention is the title track which can only be described as epic. Clocking in at 10:38, Victory Songs is not something that can easily be shoved to the wayside; this song is an experience in itself. With a mighty intro that beckons thoughts of heroes in far off lands travelling the world in search of adventure...yes this is cheesy, but it truly represents that fantastic element that folk metal conjures up all too well. This song represents, I feel, the best of what Ensiferum has to offer. It succeeds at being executed without slamming us with aggression, but instead knows when to hold back in favor of evolking the perfect emotional response to the music.

For me, Ensiferum, despite only being on their third full length release, is a band that I can always count on to put out quality material. Victory Songs is most definitely a continuation of the same formula that this band has been putting out since day one, which is probably why they are held in such a high regard in the metal community. This release marks not only another fantastic Ensiferum album, but also a great addition to the 2007 catalog of metal.

Killing Songs :
Raised by the Sword, Victory Songs
Cody quoted 85 / 100
Jason quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Ensiferum that we have reviewed:
Ensiferum - Thalassic reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
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 - Dragonheads (EP) reviewed by Kayla and quoted no quote
To see all 8 reviews click here
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