It’s no secret that we love folk metal around these here parts, especially if there’s a bit of death metal and songs about battles thrown into the mix. With that in mind, it’s probably obvious that we like Ensiferum. The band have just released their sixth studio album, One Man Army, and early reviews are overwhelmingly positive (including our own). Frontman Petri Lindroos took the time to sit and answer some of our questions about the album and the band.
The obvious jumping off point would be the new album and how it came about. “Our writing style is very slow and we like to try out tons of different options in a song so we can get the best result” answers Lindroos. “Markus is the main song writer and we all then give our own inputs to the parts and riff´s etc to make it sound like us. There was a lot of twisting and turning songs upside down and inside out before they settled down like on the album but it was worth the effort.”
When the listener plays through the album, they might notice a strong Western influence present. Was this a deliberate attempt to move away from the “forests and longships” style they’re known for? “Not really ‘cos those Western moments has been with the band from the beginning but now they are more on the surface and easier to notice. We don’t mind the “forests and long ships” vibes, those are the thing in this style of music so we are cool with it.”
On the subject of different sounds and the Western influence, we have to ask about the background to one of the more outlandish moments on the record, Neito Pohjolan. Lindroos explains; “Markus wanted to do something really different for this album and he had an idea that we could a song like this and we felt that it´s a great idea and it would bring something totally new to us and to our fans too. It´s also a sorta tribute to a Finnish singer Kari Tapio, who passed away few years ago and also a challenge to ourselves that we can pull something like this off on our own. Everyone loves this song in the band.
Despite these departures from the normal folk metal sound, the band always manage to retain a signature sound throughout. How far are they willing to move away from their folk metal basis though? “That totally depends on the material what will come up next but I can say, as far as the song demands. We don’t put any limits to our music and that gives us the freedom to write great music and also the freedom to get little bit crazy with it too.”
The bonus track is one of my personal highlights from the album mainly because metal should never be above laughing at itself, it’s one of the things the folk metal genre is so good at. Lindroos tells us how the track came about. “Yeah, that´s one of my favs too. We always need to record tons of covers as extra tracks for whatever release. We ran out of cover options and the only good idea was to make a Bonus Song, we wrote it in 15 mins and it turned out to be really fantastic song.”
Moving away from the new album we turn to some shorter questions.
It’s the 20th anniversary of Ensiferum, do you have plans to mark the occasion?
“So far we don’t have any plans for this occasion but keep your eyes and ears open, something might pop up later this year.”
With it being the anniversary it could be a time to reflect, what is the proudest moment for the band?
“I would say the proudest moment was on the main stage at Wacken 2008. That left an unforgettable feeling to all of us that god damn this is so great to play live in front of tens of thousands of people. You just can’t duplicate that feeling anywhere.”
Taking an opposite angle, what is the biggest obstacle the band have had to overcome in this time?
The complete line-up change in 2004/2005. Only original member left is Markus Toivonen and we were so lucky that we got these guys and girl in the band for so many years now.
It’s no secret that a lot of the world’s Ensiferum style metal originates from Finland, Sweden etc, how receptive have you found the rest of the world to be to this style of music?
Our music seems to be pretty universal, we have played in 6 different continents already and really amazing shows in all of them. Venues are full of fans where ever we go so world has been good to us so far. Thank you world.
What can the fans expect from the 2015 Ensiferum live shows?
“A true kick-ass attitude all show long and songs from all the albums including lots of new songs.” With that we come to a close, if you haven’t picked up One Man Army yet make sure you add it to your shopping list and be sure to check their Facebook for tour information. Now to end with a final note from Lindroos “Thank you world, see ya on tour everybody.”
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