Ensiferum – Unsung Heroes
Genre: Folk Metal
Label: Spinefarm Records
It may come as a shock to many readers (all three of you) but, I have never actually gotten into Ensiferum. And if buzz is any indication, I should of gotten into them YEARS ago. But alas, my metal knowledge is not as vast as it should be, according to the Blabbermouth.net message boards… dicks. At any rate, Ensiferum are a long standing Finnish folk metal band with, I’ve come to find out, very loyal fans. Well kiddos, I already pissed you off on those forums so I don’t see a problem repeating the process here and now.
Ensiferum’s folksy nature was appealing to me almost instantly. The opening track, “Symbols” is a whimsical intro that sets up a mood of magic, might and epic tales to come… and when “In My Sword I Trust” gets going, that mood is inescapable! Driving bass kicks and operatic/gang backing vocals help create a soundscape that’s ready to accept your offering of blood and steel! But to be honest, it kind of took me by surprise when the harsh vocals started up and this guy pretty much sounded like Randy Blythe… no thanks. I try to keep bands like Lamb Of God as far away from my thoughts when I listen to folk metal, so thanks for messing that up for me!
Unfortunately, the epic mood that “In My Sword I Trust” starts, the next track, “Unsung Heroes” brings to a grinding halt. Sans a catchy hook, there really isn’t anything about this song that I can praise. The same goes with most of the remainder of the album (except for any time the guitars go acoustic). ”Celestial Bond”, however is a pleasant surprise among the yawn educing, b-side dumping ground that is the rest of Unsung Heroes; a Celtic inspired serenade with stunning female vocals. More of this would be appreciated.
Overall: I’m left pretty confused as to the rabid fan defensiveness. I guess I should probably take a closer look at Ensiferum’s previous efforts before judging them completely though… And as much as I ragged on this album, I should probably say that Unsung Heroes isn’t a bad album. Just bland. Hopelessly, terribly bland.