Victory Songs: Ensiferum

Rating: 90%

Ensiferum_Victory_SongsReleased in 2007, “Victory Songs” remains one of my favorite Ensiferum albums to date. I love the opening song “Ad Victoriam” on the album which sets the pace for the entire works. It begins with a very European Folk style acoustical piece that features a blend of musical instruments centered around a soft chants with the keyboard in the background. Throughout the album you’ll hear these arrangements of bagpipes, mandolin, whistles, and yes, the recorder. That is what Folk Metal is about, the instrumentation. As the second song opens with a scream and heavy sounds of guitars, drums, and bass and fast tempos, the rest of the album falls into place.

The musicianship is topnotch. You have harsh vocalist Petri Lindroos on guitar and banjo, clean vocalist and guitarist Markus Toivonen, keyboardist Meiju Enho, bassist Sami Hinkka, and drummer Janne Parviainen.

Musically, this album has some very catchy chorus lines, great riffs, fast leads, and great tempos. The instrumentation of acoustical and electric go hand and hand to break up the pace of the music and make it really enjoyable to listen to. The music itself is very epic. It’s got plenty of melody that is intertwined with atmospheric Power Metal and Epic Metal. Through the lyrics of Viking themes, they manage to capture history that is now becoming very popular.

Track listing:

1. “Ad Victoriam” 3:10
2. “Blood Is the Price of Glory” 5:17
3. “Deathbringer from the Sky” 5:10
4. “Ahti” 3:55
5. “One More Magic Potion” 5:21
6. “Wanderer” 6:32
7. “Raised by the Sword” 6:11
8. “The New Dawn” 3:42
9. “Victory Song” 10:42

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The Alliance of the Kings: Ancient Bards

Rating: 85%

abardsIn 2010, Ancient Bards released their debut album “The Alliance of the Kings.” The band consisted of vocalist Sara Squadrani, keyboardist Daniele Mazza, guitarists Claudio Pietronik & Fabio Balducci, bassist Martino Garattoni and drummer Alessandro Carichini.

Musically, this album is packed full of epic material and with lots of meat. It’s full of Classical influences, choirs and symphony. It’s melodic, there’s harmony and contains some folk influences. This album is epic and full of adventure. It’s like the late 1990’s all over again when Symphonic Power Metal became popular. It has lots fast paced tempos from the double kick drums, guitar riffs, guitar leads, to the keyboards and bass lines. Structurally, the album has interludes, verses, bridges, choruses, outros and other cool fill ins. This album even has a folky ballad.

Vocally, Sara Squadrani is among the best of women vocalists in her genre. Her voice has plenty of range. Lyrically, this album has tons of well written epic songs that are excellently composed. This concept album tells the story of a sorcerer who is in search of a sword for ultimate power and those who are out to stop him.

Track listing:

1. “Prelude” 1:55
2. “The Birth of Evil” 5:31
3. “Four Magic Elements” 4:59
4. “Only the Brave” 6:15
5. “Frozen Mind” 7:24
6. “Nightfall in Icy Forest” 1:17
7. “Lode al Padre” 6:26
8. “Daltor the Dragonhunter” 8:42
9. “Farewell My Hero” 6:51
10. “Faithful to Destiny” 8:45