Review: Ensiferum – Thalassic

The vikings of Ensiferum are at it again. They released their eight album on 10.07.2020, and it’s the perfect longplayer for everyone who needs a musical backdrop to raid and pillage. New to the Ensiferum-boarding crew is keyboardist Pekka Montin, who, apart from his keyboard-skills, adds another clean-voice to their sound. This might be the reason, why Petri Lindroos’ harsh vocals disappear a little into the background on this longplayer.

Like most Ensiferum-albums before it, Thalassic starts with a calm acoustic-intro in the form of Seafarer’s Dream, followed by the ode to drinking and pillaging that is Rum, Women, Victory. So far, so good, so unsurprising.

Therein lies my problem with this album: It’s more or less absolutely predictable. Ensiferum has had the same formula for about forever now. Don’t misunderstand this though. Thalassic is a very solid album. The aforementioned Rum, Women, Victory is one hell of a song. So are the melodic Andromeda and For Sirens. The galloping rhythm of The Defence of the Sampo will make you want to ride into battle on your trusted steed.

My favourite song from this album is probably the little “polka-hommage” that is Midsummer Magic. It starts (like oh so many Ensiferum-songs) with an acoustic-guitar, and includes incredibly catchy riffs, and magnificent gangshouts. That’s what we are used to by this band. That’s what their fans love about them.

And then there is the song Cold Northland (Väinämöinen Part III), that is as perfect an album-closer as they come. Clocking in at over eight minutes. Starting off with a piano-intro, before letting the electric guitars loose. Climaxing with a mighty chorus. Not the first time they ended an album like this, but some traditions are too good to change.

Yeah Thalassic is an all around very good album. Far better than their last three records Two Paths, One Man Army, and Unsung Heroes, though not as good as their first two outputs Ensiferum and Iron. The feeling of “having heard all this before” just frustrates me a little.

Most of their fans (probably almost all) won’t mind, that it’s more or less what they’re accustomed to by Ensiferum. And that’s absolutely fine. It’s as great a guitar-focused folk-metal-album as it gets. It won’t turn any new heads though.

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