Ensiferum - _Victory Songs_
(Spinefarm, 2007)
by: Nikola Shahpazov (6 out of 10)
Ensiferum's latest album finds them moving deeper into Manowar battle hymns kitsch, galloping power metal and Finntroll folksy melodies. The more pompous, the better, states the main principle; bear that in mind while approaching _Victory Songs_. Indeed, in order to fully enjoy the lengthy, would-be epic tracks, one must possess certain tolerance towards this particular type of fantasy themes and the constant repetition of "sword", "war", "blood" and the like. Essentially, it's heavy metal with an additional layer of keyboards and an obligatory sing-along chorus section.

"Deathbringer From the Sky", "Victory Song" and "One More Magic Potion" show Ensiferum delivering just what's expected of them with a swing. Still, while interesting in their own right, these tracks are way too similar and repetitive, thus inevitably boring despite occasional hooks. It is when the band brings forth traditional instruments such as Finnish kantele, bagpipes and bodhran that the music becomes somewhat impressive, more varied and powerful, developing into proper Viking metal with a folk tinge. "Raised by the Sword" stands out: six minutes of intensive battle metal, combining melody and heavy riffing in nearly perfect proportion.

Despite having its moments, _Victory Songs_ is far from being a classic in its genre. For Finnish metal of truly titanic proportions, I suggest you explore Moonsorrow instead.

Contact: http://www.ensiferum.com

(article published 25/5/2007)

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