Ensiferum - Two Paths review



Reviewer:
5.6

124 users:
7.40
Band: Ensiferum
Album: Two Paths
Release date: September 2017


01. Ajattomasta Unesta
02. For Those About To Fight For Metal
03. Way Of The Warrior
04. Two Paths
05. King Of Storms
06. Feast With Valkyries
07. Don't You Say
08. I Will Never Kneel
09. God Is Dead
10. Hail To The Victor
11. Unettomaan Aikaan
12. God Is Dead [Alternative version]
13. Don't You Say [Alternative version]


Ladies and gentlemen, we're getting old.

…Because, you know, contractual obligation albums only happen to old bands, right?...Right?

Well, shit, it looks like Ensiferum are indeed old. For over the first decade of their career they seemed downright invincible. The era of invincibility was abruptly put to an end with Unsung Heroes. Then came One Man Army, while not being peak Ensiferum, at least gave the impression they were making a return to form.

Now we have Two Paths, and good god almighty, is it a bore. An absolute trouser-shitting embarrassment? No. That would have at least been interesting. Two Paths still sounds like quintessential Ensiferum, just quintessential Ensiferum done half-assed. For better or worse (closer to worse), everything sounds routine here - their signature rhythm guitar, beefed up with those rich, grandiose synthesizers. You've got the harsh screams, the chanting gang vocals, the female vocals dabbled in here and there…yadda, yadda, yadda. It's all there, but it just sounds like they went into rehearsal, wrote half a song, then said "fuck it, let's call it a day." Rinse and repeat for eleven tracks. Occasionally they start to hit some kind of stride with "King Of Storms" or certain segments of "I Will Never Kneel", but those only feel ambitious in relativity to the rest of the album. The best of Two Paths doesn't hold a candle to even the worst from From Afar.

The only thing noticeably different about Two Paths is the heavier presence of clean vocals. Not the epic, climactic clean vocals, but rather the grunty singing that was kept to a minimum until now. This attempt at singing isn't awful in and of itself, but simply accentuates how tame and un-epic Two Paths is.

Is Ensifeurm dead in the water? No, probably not. We soon-to-be-geezers are just experiencing what happens to all geezers as they begin to transition into geezerdom: witnessing bands we remember as fresh and exciting enter contractual obligation phase. If you aren't amongst the geezers and just showing up to the party now, do yourself a favor and give Ensiferum a shot with any other album.

Ensiferum's days of wowing us are probably gone, but it's unlikely they'll serve up any train wrecks either, just more One Man Army's and Two Paths.


 



Written on 08.10.2017 by Former EIC. Now just a reviewer guy.


Comments

Comments: 18   Visited by: 261 users
08.10.2017 - 20:00
WinterMadness
They've been going downhill ever since they fired Jari anyway. From Afar was a pleasant surprise but still not in the same league as the first two albums, and everything after From Afar has been mediocre at best. But like you said, they'll always achieve that, it's not likely they'll come out with anything awful either.
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09.10.2017 - 01:09
Opethian
This sound gets old fast for me personally. Perhaps a new formula is begging to be conjured?
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09.10.2017 - 02:24
Doc Godin
WHAT
Written by WinterMadness on 08.10.2017 at 20:00

They've been going downhill ever since they fired Jari anyway. From Afar was a pleasant surprise but still not in the same league as the first two albums, and everything after From Afar has been mediocre at best. But like you said, they'll always achieve that, it's not likely they'll come out with anything awful either.

Personally, Victory Songs is my favorite from them, and found both From Afar and One Man Army to be superior to their debut. I don't think their decline in consistency can be chalked up to Jaris departure - as Wintersun is an overbloated, sugary synth-fest. Quality would have declined regardless, just pick your poison.
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"I got a lot of really good ideas, problem is, most of them suck."
- George Carlin
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09.10.2017 - 05:46
Gurablashta
Why listen to Unsung Heroes, Two Paths or One Man Army when I can just put Iron or From Afar on? Ensiferum are going the way of the dodo, frankly
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09.10.2017 - 12:14
Windrider
Raureif
Have to disagree here... I found it pleasantly refreshing now with the clean vocals and some new approach... Can't really get into "Hail To The Victor" yet but that's actually the only one I'm not singing along yet lol
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09.10.2017 - 19:10
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
Also respectfully disagree. I actually thought this album was an improvement over One Man Army in terms of the overall product. OMA had some higher quality standouts, but this one feels more consistent. They really need to work on their clean singing though.
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Daily underground metal recommendations at Metal Trenches.
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10.10.2017 - 00:40
fenchik
Disagree too! I really enjoy the album!!
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10.10.2017 - 12:04
Wes
Gotta agree, this album is the WORST Ensiferum yet. Some songs are simply clear rip off melodies from earlier Jari-era Ensiferum.
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11.10.2017 - 02:33
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
I was hoping One Man Army would be the first step in a healthier direction, but I also knew better than to expect anything better than what this album turned out to be. It sounded perfectly fine and passable the first time around, nothing more, and I probably won't bother coming back to it very often just to preserve that impression.
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Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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11.10.2017 - 06:37
Malignar
I would like to applaud recent reviewers for a couple negative reviews. Shying away from bad releases isn't necessary, let us and them know.
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11.10.2017 - 13:10
Sword_Chant
I've got to agree with a couple of guys here when they say this review and rating is quite low, I found this to be a pretty good album, more than anything it's a grower. OK it's no where near as great their first 2 albums but it's still a solid effort, the only song i'd regard as weak and can't get into much is Feast With Valkyries. Imo Unsung Heroes is a much worse album than this one.
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12.10.2017 - 00:22
Hellthunder
If you ask me (and why wouldn't you), Jari Mäenpää took all the talent with him when he left.
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12.10.2017 - 03:32
Marcus
Doit Like Bernie
Written by Hellthunder on 12.10.2017 at 00:22

If you ask me (and why wouldn't you), Jari Mäenpää took all the talent with him when he left.

Too bad he hasn't done anything with it either
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12.10.2017 - 03:41
iappreci8
Me thinks you are way off the mark here. This is a excellent album, full of stirring melodies, and strong, memorable songs all beautifully performed . Easily an 8 or better and one of the best releases of the year so far!
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12.10.2017 - 23:17
Hellthunder
Written by Marcus on 12.10.2017 at 03:32

Written by Hellthunder on 12.10.2017 at 00:22

If you ask me (and why wouldn't you), Jari Mäenpää took all the talent with him when he left.

Too bad he hasn't done anything with it either

Wintersun has some fans I hear.
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12.10.2017 - 23:59
Marcus
Doit Like Bernie
Written by Hellthunder on 12.10.2017 at 23:17

Wintersun has some fans I hear.

Imo their only album worth listening to is the self-titled, which came out 13 years ago.
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14.10.2017 - 11:56
Litvin
Ahhhh Peri please return to Norther and rock like in the good old days.
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19.10.2017 - 17:29
Astronomer9893
I have to mostly agree with the reviewer here. First half of the album is pretty good, but it dies as soon as Feast with Valkyries starts. Overall, I don't think it's a shitty album - but definitely their worst. I enjoyed Unsung Heroes more than this (which itself gets too bad of a reputation IMO; the production sucked but overall the album was pretty decent).
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