This year has been a straight up god send for metal heads who have been wanting high-quality releases from all the sorts of metal groups, but one style that seems to be not getting a lot of coverage this year is folk metal, unfortunately. As if to answer the call to arms and to fill the void, Ensiferum returns to us with a brand new slab of folk metal that only they can produce. And it’s definitely worthy of being put among their landmark discography,
Straight from the cover art alone, we’re already knowing that Ensiferum has yet to produce an album that can be considered weak, and just the first few tracks easily back that up. The thing that I found really interesting with “Two Paths” is how was made to be an album meant for live play much like its predecessor, “One Man Army”, and I personally feel like it succeeds in that aspect much more. All eleven tracks have the texture and the sound that feels like Ensiferum could play each piece live and they wouldn’t sound much different from its studio counterpart, and I feel that’s a very commendable aspect because that shows Ensiferum doesn’t need to rely on studio magic in order to make an album like “Two Paths” work. However, while this album isn’t bad by any means and still has that trademark Ensiferum feel to it . . . the whole of “Two Paths” just doesn’t feel as compelling as previous work. It’s got delicious melodies led by both aggressive and gentile vocals coupled with impeccable instrumentation, but the entirety of “Two Paths” just feels too much like “One Many Army” or even “Unsung Heroes”. It’s good and has loads of enjoyment to be had, but practically the same feel can only last for so long. The time where it becomes too dull for enjoyability hasn’t come yet, but I feel if Ensiferum lets them fall into the trap it’d be a damn waste of good talent. That being said, “Two Paths” is still a ripping album with a fine coat of folk that does, indeed, satisfy to anyone willing to give these anthems of battle a chance.
While this album isn’t the best thing that I’ve personally heard from the band, there’s no denying that Ensiferum has still created yet another banging album that can’t be put down! Ensiferum has been paragons of folk in this century, and they’re not any closer to stopping than before! “Two Paths” has its faults for sure, but it surpasses its own imperfections to bring us a record the likes of which only Ensiferum can deliver!
“Two Paths” releases on September 15th via Metal Blade Records!
PRE-ORDER “Two Paths” via iTunes here.
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