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Ensiferum: One Man Army

Album Review

Finland's folk metal heroes power up their charge

There was a time when bands who sung about swords, snow and ravens were reserved for a niche fraternity slapped with the ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ label, while kids who greeted each other as ‘Squire’ and had a drinking horn strapped to their belt were simply seen as supporters of novelty warrior soundtracks and dusty folklore.

But in the true spirit of heroism, folk metal never died and nor did it whimper: in fact, as the years have rolled on, the genre has become a bolder and more refined beast daring to forego its snarling machismo in favour of big productions and progressive nuances – culminating in a scene that is healthier than ever and pulling in crowds like you wouldn’t believe. Blame it on TV shows like Game Of Thrones and Vikings, or simply that Scandinavian knack for being one step ahead of the musical curve, but in 2015 writing songs about war is kind of... cool. 

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