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ENSIFERUM London Scala, 6 October 2009

I first saw Finnish folk rock death metallers Ensiferum when they were lowly billed at the Bloodstock Festival in 2006.

Since then there has been more line up changes and only guitarist Markus Toivonen remains from the original line up.  In town to promote the new CD 'From Afar', a healthy turn out came to commence battle with the viking warriors.

There are many bands floating across the Lapuri straits to deliver their brand of viking/battle metal at the moment and I feel that after tonight's performance Ensiferum have the capability to destroy all who stand in their way.

Six string bassist Sami Hinkka did a commanding job, leading the frigate was Petri Lindoors on lead guitar and growling vocals and keeping the ship balanced was rhythm guitarist Markus Toivonen. 

At times vocals were swapped and sometimes all three were screaming their lungs out with their battlecries.  Keeping hold of the rudder were animal skin basher Janne Parviainen and female keyboardist Emmi Silvennoinen who is now an official member of the band after helping out since 2007.

At times when the three guitarists were out front doing some serious headbanging swirling their heads around, my friend rightly called it 'Washing machine metal', well, they left my head in a spin.  New songs from 'From Afar' were going down well including 'Elusive Reaches'

Singing their victory songs, many arms were held aloft.  The biggest cheers were for tracks from the debut CD and the second release 'Iron'.  'Tale Of Revenge' and the drinking song 'Lai Lai Hei' got us blood thirsty lot raising our drinking horns and singing along in perfect Finnish, it was a perfect finish.

Many hardcore fans from those early days who I spoke to, didn't seem too impressed but I felt this was a professional and polished performance, I felt the band are on one viking ship that will not sink. Manowar may win the battle on land but Ensiferum will leave them all at sea.

Ensiferum set-list:

By the Dividing Stream (Intro, Orch edit.) - From Afar - Twilight Tavern - Little Dreamer - Elusive Reaches - Wanderer - Heathen Throne - Guardians of Fate - Tale of Revenge - Smoking Ruins - Slayer of Light - One More -Magic Potion - Tumman Virran Taa (Intro) - The Longest Journey

Encores: Treacherous Gods - LAI LAI HEI - Iron

Review and photos by Mark Taylor

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