Ensiferum – Two Paths

 The genre known as folk metal has always been a thing that has held immense intrigue for me as I love metal as well as every single theme that folk metal touches in so many forms. However, I’m quite picky when it comes down to really enjoying a piece of the genre, and one of the first bands that caught my fancy was Ensiferum. They helped craft my taste for the style, yet with their last album, they failed to recapture my imagination. So upon seeing the announcement of “Two Paths” I was hopeful as I wanted to see the band bounce back, and despite my initial reaction being pretty neutral, “Two Paths” quickly grew on me and is easily one of the more premier folk metal records we’re going to get this year.

Going into this record, I knew that Ensiferum went into the studio with the intention of making this album sound better being played live as opposed to previous records, and I’ve zero problems with that because that shows the band doesn’t need to depend on studio magic in order to make their music sound good. However, that can impede the creative process and result in music that isn’t that great in the end. I was half-and-half after my first few listens of “Two Paths”. I felt “Two Paths” was a little weak and could’ve used more folk in the folk metal, and it just felt a little weak compared to previous efforts which seemed to have much more power to it. But after several listens and really listening to what Ensiferum has to offer with this record, I have to say that it really grew on me despite first thoughts. While I still believe that “Two Paths” could’ve used a bit more folk to its metal, there’s no denying that this still feels like an Ensiferum record to the very core. And where Ensiferum sacrifices little shreds of power they make up for with each and every track being fantastic anthems of folk metal that come together seamlessly to create an experience you can’t find anywhere else. From the vocals blessed by the gods themselves to the glorious rhythms to the excellent sense of musicianship that soaks every single note of “Two Paths”Ensiferum doesn’t disappoint with yet another smashing record that shows these warriors aren’t ready to hang up their swords yet anytime soon.

While there will be many who will always find this record to be but a shadow of what Ensiferum “used to be”, I still feel like there’s more than enough enjoyment to get out of this piece without a doubt. “Two Paths” is a great addition to an already magnificent discography, and anyone who is smart enough to give Ensiferum a chance when this is released will find themselves once again in a prime realm of folk metal that only Ensiferum can bring to the table.

“Two Paths” releases on September 15th via Metal Blade Records! You can pre-order the album via iTunes here.

Track Listing:

  1. Ajattomasta Unesta
  2. For Those About to Fight for Metal
  3. Way of the Warrior
  4. Two Paths
  5. King of Storms
  6. Feast with Valkyries
  7. Don’t You Say
  8. I Will Never Kneel
  9. God Is Dead
  10. Hail to the Victor
  11. Unettomaan Aikaan
  12. God Is Dead (Alternative Version)
  13. Don’t You Say (Alternative Version)