The Finnish masters of epic folk inspired metal Ensiferum released their ... album "Two Paths" and were doing a short roundtrip in their home country to present their latest effort. We quickly decided that we had to attend their stop at The Circus in Helsinki. With them they brought 2 more bands that represent the Finnish metal scene oh so well: Wolfheart and Crimfall, both with a new album under their arms as well...
With Crimfall (***) you get what they call "cinematic metal", which is basically an epic mix of folk, power and symphonic metal with here and there some harsher elements. With their latest effort "Amain" they cranked up the epicness and overall sound and they came to present this with a short set of half an hour. The show got started with the Eschaton intro they used for their last album, setting a nice atmosphere and then kicked in full gear with a sound that blew us away. Especially the vocal section needs to be mentioned with the impressive Helena belting out her lines with a set of lungs many would be jealous of, matched word for word by Mikko's grunts, growls and grumbles.
Once guitarist Jakke and bassist Miska joined forces in the vocal parts, they created the epic sound of headliner Ensiferum or other countrymates Turisas. With Mother of Unbelievers and The Last of Stands, the two singles from "Amain" passed by and they proved us that they can recreate the same epic feel from the album or even go beyond that. Besides those they also brought us some of their older songs, which clearly was liked by the fans that gathered already early that evening to raise their fists to the band. For many in the crowd the show clearly could've lasted quite a bit longer than it had...
Wolfheart (***1/2) has become a bit of a band at home on our website. Their "winter metal" has been featured regularly in an article out there and with reason. Tuomas brings a complexity to metal that is loved and admired by many around the world. In the mean time they've been all over Europe to promote their latest creation "Tyhjyys", but it's always a pleasure to see them back on their home turf bringing a selection of their strongest songs to simply destroy. The wolves stormed the stage filled with energy and aggression as always and set up shop to tear the place down.
With bombshell songs like Boneyard, Strength and Valor and Aeon of Cold they literally did just that... Tuomas clearly had a good time on stage, because now and then you could notice something that counts as a smile for the otherwise stoic Fin. As always they closed down their set with fan favourite (mine as well): Routa Pt. 2 from their very first release Winterborn. It would've been a near perfect gig if the sound would've been a slight bit better: with earplugs it sounded perfect, but as soon as you took those out you got hit by a way less balanced mix.
Shores of Lake Simpele
Strength and Valor
Aeon of Cold
Routa Pt. 2
Aaah, Ensiferum (****)... always a pleasure to see them again. After over 20 years of performing their volatile mix of folk, death and power metal, no one really needs to show them still how to bring a good show. Today they're here mostly to present their latest effort "Two Paths" and have a damn good time with their home bred fans. After setting the stage with one of their cool intros, they did not hold back a single bit by jumping straight into For Those About to Fight for Metal. A track from their new album that deservingly so already grew to be one of those classic metal anthems that are perfect for crowds of metalheads to shout along to. The energy was high within the band and that was reflected in the massive energy the crowd send out.
From singer/guitarist Petri to the crazy kilt-wearing bassist Sami and original member and guitarist Markus, every single one was running around the stage and riling up the crowd to boiling temperatures. Throw on top of that the ever stunning accordion damsel Netta Skog darting around the stage with a big smile that warmed every heart present. Overall the setlist was a great compilation of both tracks from the new album Two Paths and one or two from every former release. A nice little moment took place when Netta came to the front to take over the main vocal duties with Feast with Valkyries. Of course they had to end their regular set with Victory Song and once back on stage for a few encore songs, the classic Ensiferum hits From Afar and LAI LAI HEI were thrown in our direction of one last burst of energy released in the venue.
For Those About to Fight for Metal
Two of Spades
King of Storms
In My Sword I Trust
One Man Army
Tumman virran taa
The Longest Journey (Heathen Throne, Part II)
Way of the Warrior
Feast with Valkyries
Tale of Revenge
Lai Lai Hei