As expected, Two Paths begins with the typical Ensiferum intro that starts every album, building the anticipation for the thrust into the moshing music defined by the double kicks, the fast guitar riffs and the gang chants. Brass fanfare and hoarse vocals bring us full circle into the standard Ensiferum album. The listener is encouraged to shout and raise their swords, but not for too long as the fats paced parts are quickly intersected with slower choruses and melodies. After 16 years of cranking out high energy folk metal anthems, maybe the band is anticipating the aging of their fan base and making sure it is possible to catch a breath after a quick jaunt in the pit.
Of all the folk metal bands, Ensiferum is probably the best at creating lyrics that are memorable and easy to sing to. One play through and you’re ready to sing Victory Song at the next raid. This doesn’t stop with the Two Paths. Articulate and vividly painting a picture of many battles, we have an album that is nothing less than what we’ve come to expect from the band, albeit it has less energy than previous albums.
The feelings evoked from this album are less ‘pull out the drinking horn and march off to war’ and more ‘revel in the memory of the old days in front of the fire, bobbing your head.’ A slight deviation from the consistency that was found in the previous 6 albums, it will be interesting to see which path the band takes in the future.
Favorite Track: Don’t You Say
Written for: METALHEADS UNITED