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28.01.2006. ENSIFERUM, Dragon Heads EP

 

 

REVIEW: Ensiferum - Dragonheads Spinefarm Records, 2006
8/10

 

Ensiferum’s « Dragonheads » has done it. They have surpassed all other Finnish folk metal bands in terms of melody, inspiration, consistency and production. Folkier than Korpiklaani, better produced than Shaman, cleaner than Finntroll and just as well inspired and authentic as Moonsorrow, Ensiferum deliver a little gem of pagan folk metal in this EP. They say ‘a taste of honey is worse than none at all”, and that is particularly true on this EP. With a great epic track like ‘Dragonheads” the anticipation until the next Ensiferum LP is made even harder to bear. Eponymous ‘Dragonheads’ is the only new track on the album. After a long intro with dueling rhythmic and clean guitars, the track begins with an epic rhythm, evoking some recipes found on the Moonsorrow compositions, only with a more progressive touch to them. The song features Petri Lindroos at the vocals, replacing Jari Mäenpää officiating now in Wintersun. There is more aggression in Petri’s voice, it is shriller. Nevertheless, the super fast guitar solos are still there, and so is that delicious male choir.

 

However, I find the keyboards a little too present for my taste, and it’s too bad that there is only one new song. The rest are an Amorphis cover, and a Finnish medley, but mostly older Ensiferum tracks. I’m glad to finally listen to them with a clean production, because in their original format, songs like ‘Warrior’s Quest” and ‘White Storm’ were almost painful to listen to. Now why did I give this little jewel only 8 out of 10? That’s because I would only buy it if I were a real fan, since there isn’t that much new on this record. An extra 2 points would have gone out if there was only one more new song. Nevertheless, a straight 10 points goes out to the 2 individual songs ‘Dragonheads” and ‘Finnish Medley’. The latter is a GLORIOUS pot-pourri of folk tunes, male and female vocals, choir singing and heavy versus melodic guitars, heroic battle hymns and even drinking songs, all in one track! Finally, I would like to bring particular attention to the artwork on this record, which I find more mature and more sober that on past Ensiferum releases. The drakkar design is a perfect emblem for the music coming off the lump of plastic inside the jewel case: Crisp, clean-cut, self sufficient, epic, majestic and genuine.

written by Audrey Dujardin

 

Tracklist
1. Dragonheads
2. Warrior's Quest
3. Kalevala-Melody
4. White Storm
5. Into Hiding [Amorphis cover]
6. Finnish Medley

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