Finnish sensation viking metal band Ensiferum have returned with their mini album ‘Dragonheads.’ Gone are the vocals and masterful guitar work of Jari Maenpaa. In steps current Norther vocalist and guitarist Petri Lindroos. Ensiferum are a fairly new band from Finland with two full length albums to their catalogue. Jari left shortly after the recording of Ensiferum’s second album, ‘Iron,’ to pursue his own metal project, Wintersun. The band now appeases fans with a mini-dose of what their third full length album will be like.
The mini album starts with a slow but epic title song. The listener can realize that this new meterial sounds like Ensiferum from the start, but the overall sound is slower than what we fans are used to hearing. The viking elements are represented strongly here, and the screams of Lindroos are very good, but Jari was supreme. The song, ‘Kalevala Melody’ is a instrumental interlude that is very pleasing and relaxing for the listener. The fourth track, ‘White Storm’ is my favorite song on here. The synth provided by Meiju Enho is very impressive and gives the song folky elements. The Finnish Medley that closes the album is very classical sounding and clean vocals are present throughout the entire medley.
When the dust settles upon the ears of the listener, this mini album is very pleasing. One area of concern is that the material is not as fast as Ensiferum’s older material. But since Jari is gone and Lindroos seems to be here to stay, I can get over the fact that Ensiferum probably won’t have the lightning fast solos and aggressive riffs that were present in the past. This is a quality disc and I highly recommend fans of viking/melodic/folk metal to embrace Ensiferum. Their first two albums are amazing viking metal releases. Much praise to Ensiferum for making highly enjoyable music.