Released: 2007, Spinefarm Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
The Finnish sword-bearing Viking warriors have returned back to the top of the blood-covered battle hill with the band´s long-awaited 3rd full-length album titled VICTORY SONGS as true conquerors and winners. To be honest, I nearly cannot even remember when the band´s previous full-length album, IRON, came out? 2 years ago? 3 years ago? Ok, just checked it: It was officially released in 2004, on 15th April (which also happens to be my birthday... gee!), so someone could scream from the top of his/her lungs: “IT WAS ABOUT THE F**KIN´ TIME!”.
Ensiferum´s previous recording, which was a mini-CD titled DRAGONHEADS, containing 5 songs + an Amorphis -cover tune “Into Hiding”, undoubtedly left many fans of them craving for more. The creative torch for the band´s passionate and very devoted song writing was still burning hot and bright enough on that release even if many seemed to miss more of those faster and wilder tempos that they used to play an important role in their songs on this group´s 1st two albums.
With a time well spent with the songs for VICTORY SONGS on the glorious round wooden table, the armored horsemen (and the folk-maiden Meiju Enho) of Ensiferum have done that what most of us have expected to do: Going back to their roots of bombastic and strong folk´ish melodies, faster tempos (songs like “Blood Is the Price of Glory” and “Raised by the Sword” speak well for all those faster tempos), epic-like, crushing yet beautifully growing atmospheres (the title track could hardly be any more epic than it is... just awe-inspiring!), well-crafted and harmonic choirs - building up a firm ground for their victorious crusade to achieve a very sountrack´ish yet epic atmosphere for the songs on their latest opus which title somewhat perfectly describes Ensiferum´s true achievements with this record. ´Victory songs´ they can all be considered indeed, in sense of bringing up all those best sides of the band what Ensiferum are capable of putting together when they really get inspired, and letting their weapons spit fire in terms of creativity and sheer talent.
Seriously, Ensiferum clearly shows to all of their suspicious enemies that their battleaxes and blades have been sharpened again, and their strengthened crusade through the lands of those poor suspicious souls, will be nothing but breathtakingly victorious for the Ensiferum warriors. Okay-okay... I guess all of you are already sick´n´ tired of reading these lame metaphoric descriptions of mine about VICTORY SONGS, but let me say just this: If you ever have digged the band´s strongly folk´ish sound, amazingly painlessly rollin´ metallic rhythms - and just overall loved the way how they are capable of incorporating some of the catchiest elements both from Folk - and metal music, then I cannot see any reasons what should stop checking their latest album out as well. Ensiferum don´t let you down on VICTORY SONGS, but fulfill kinda nicely even some of your craziest and most hopeful expectations how you wanted this album to be from them in the first place. No kidding...! Seems like the band has re-discovered their own rewarding, burnt-to-the-ground warpath once again which will surely lead them from one victory to another. Now they just have to keep their torches alive, burning hot and high for all these achievements that all these 8 songs (+ intro) on this album represent for them: Quality in the strong sense of the word. And don´t forget to make that ´quality´ with capital letters either. VICTORY SONGS is indeed what the title bravely suggests - no more, no less. The saga of Ensiferum couldn´t have continued any better than this. Quite honestly, folks.