Ensiferum’s fifth album ‘Unsung Heroes’ is positively ‘Ensiferum’ in every sense. Big choruses chanted with sword in hand, war-hungry lyrical camaraderie and that extra edge of OTT will always exist with the Finnish heathens. But rather than being a squeaky annoyance or itchy inconvenience like far too many folk metallers, the five-piece’s music is only becoming more and more endearing.
‘Unsung Heroes’ harks back to the classic melodies that make up the Ensiferum discography whilst having a slight symphonic backdrop. Upon reflection, the band continues in similar vein till the album’s end. The balance of accessible melody and edgy metal permeates throughout; especially in the ratio of vocals (clean harmonising and gravelly yelps) and in their folk instrumentation. It makes for another desirable record. ‘Burning Leaves’ is the undoubted crowning moment, perfectly epitomising the trademark sound with lush folky guitar parts and soulful chorus. The introduction of soft female vocals on ‘Celestial Bond’ bring in a completely acoustic song that breaks the album up nicely before the heftier, more straight-forward melodeath tune ‘Retribution Shall Be Mine’.
But that’s not to say Ensiferum have remained completely conservative in their ambitions. They have taken on a larger task at hand with the 17-minute album closer ‘Passion Proof Power’. The ideas on display in the song are hardly progressive and not at all alienated from the Ensiferum sound, but that doesn’t make it a boring finisher. Yes, ‘Unsung Heroes’ is a typical Ensiferum record for fans, but it’s not a bad one to savour.
Unsung Heroes is out now on Spinefarm.
You’ll like this if… your treacherous journey into the cold northern lands isn’t over yet.