Grab a sword and board a dragonhead long ship! Make fast the oars, set sail and prepare for battle on the high seas with ENSIFERUM. The sword bearing folk metal warriors from Finland are due to return with their new nine track album Thallasic.
What does Thallasic mean though? As I discussed with vocalist and guitarist Petri Lindroos in a recent interview it means “related to the sea and we have a themed album for the first time ever”. This is not a concept album however as Petri later confirmed “we have different stories in each song so it is not like a concept album”
The introductory instrumental piece Seafarer’s Dream instantly takes you away to Scandinavia and has some of those memorable elements that ENSIFERUM utilise in their music. There are some nice folk parts and a simple and effective drumbeat where you can picture the oarsmen rowing out amongst the waves ready for their next adventure whilst the trumpets raise the call to battle.
Rum, Women, Victory was the first choice of single from the album and you can totally see why. After the dramatic introduction piece, this is a full on folk metal attack and a real banger of a track.
Andromeda is the second single release from the album and would not sound out of place on past release Victory Songs. There are some strong melodic twin guitar sections featured within.
The Defence of the Sampo is related to Finnish Mythology (taken from The Kalevala). The Sampo is a magical artefact that brought riches and good fortune to its holder. It has an incredibly catchy chorus, which one can well imagine the army of fans will sing along too with great enthusiasm “no monsters of the sea, no threat from above, can keep us from returning, to home where we belong”
Run From the Crushing Tide features a good blend of harsh and clean vocals by all respective members on this track that are very well harmonised towards the end of the piece. An assaulting metal track for fans of the genre.
For Sirens has a very folk orientated style about it with use of the guitar intro which continues throughout. It is the typical song about the mythological creatures who enchanted sailors with their music and singing to shipwreck and then dragging them into the dark depths of the sea “I cursed the day I heard your call, let my heart go”
One With The Sea this comes across as one of the heavier compositions at the start but then like the changing tides into a softer ballad-like verse. It is very anthemic in its delivery “no more fighting, just the abyss. Soon I’ll be one with the sea” . It channels visions of a sailor coming to the end of their days ready to become one with the oceanic element they have lived their life on.
Midsummer Magic has a real jaunty feel about it from the violin intro. This song is a lot of fun and features lots of vocal harmonising. It also features some singing in Finnish later on in the track that I totally embrace. It’s good that bands choose to utilise singing in their native tongues as it allows the listener to get a better insight and understanding of their culture.
Cold Northland (Väinämöinen Part III) is the natural continuation from Old Man & Little Dreamer from the self-titled album. Petri stated: “we also wanted to have on that particular song an older Ensiferum vibe and to go back to those days and I think we pulled it off pretty good, and it was a good thing to have it like Old Man Part 3.” As an album closer it is the longest track of the album and is epic in its delivery. If ENSIFERUM were DIRE STRAITS then this would be their Telegraph Road. “I will leave with a heavy heart, the land of snow and the northern stars.”
Thallasic has been an absolute pleasure to listen to and it grips you like a tidal wave. Easily a candidate for album of the year.
Words: Martin White
Thalassic will be ready to set sail this Friday via Metal Blade Records.
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