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Review of the Album "From Afar" by Finnish Folk Metal Band Ensiferum
A Photo of the Album Cover for From Afar
From Afar Represents Another Step in the Evolution of Ensiferum
Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum has come a long way since 1995. And just when you thought that their 2007 album Victory Songs was their peak, they seem to be getting better with time. Their 2009 album From Afar is another example of their folk metal brilliance! By the Dividing Stream starts off this album once again in good fashion. The power metal style song called From Afar also has some symphonic elements that remind me of Blind Guardian. Twilight Tavern is a song about brave warriors putting up a valiant effort against their foes. Although many of them were ambushed, they did not lose and were told that because life is so short, peace will be achieved once they reach the end of the journey.
By the Dividing Stream
The Song Heathen Throne and the Message in it
The 11 minute plus song called Heathen Throne tells the story of an army of pagans that came and destroyed land, crops, and put many people under their spell. Stone Cold Metal still has that folk metal feel to it while also adding a touch of Catamenia in there as well. Some stories tell us that we must be ready to put up a battle against our foes and we must not be afraid to fight for what is right. The lyrics are kind of like horsemen that are ready to go out into battle not being afraid of death. The song Heathen Throne is trying to say that it is not okay to wait until high casualties are sustained until action is taken. Meanwhile, there is a clean vocal part that sounds like a choir.
About the Song Smoking Ruins
The song Smoking Ruins is a song that tells of a person that left his homeland many years ago leaving no note of departure. He was foolish and caused the death of one of his comrades. He is in exile and now grieves. The boy becomes the brave man (hopefully). He returns home only to find that he is surrounded by death. Filled with shame, he asks to be struck down for what he has done. This is a story of not a brave warrior but of one that has brought shame to his kingdom.
The Last Song Heathen Throne Part 2 Shows the Bravery and Musical Skill of Ensiferum
The last song called “The Longest Journey” uses passages from the famous Finnish verses or poems called the Kalevala. The band Amorphis used these types of things as inspiration for their 1996 album Elegy. Even if a brave warrior suffers an affliction, you will be alleviated from these things if you have faith and persevere. This last song is also called Heathen Throne Part 2 and it is a slower start than many of the band’s songs. A true lover of their music will be able to sit and really enjoy this last song. The drums sounds like a marching band as the atmosphere is being set for a good fantasy sounding song. Though I have been critical of bands that use too much fantasy based lyrics, Ensiferum’s music is so good it almost really doesn’t matter. There is a dark stream in which comrades will meet again but they must show their strength and not give up. However it is also revealed in the song like a story that the longest journey must be done solo. Bravery is a constant theme in the band’s songs and they are brave to try the folk metal style and make it effective!