I say it’s better than I expected, however, that isn’t entirely true. Victory Songs was the first Ensiferum album I’ve purchased, and I’ve heard a lot of their previous stuff off the web. So, I expected an average folk/viking metal album. After one listen, this CD met my expectations. After a few listens, it exceeded my expectations. This album follows themes of anything you would expect from any viking/folk metal band: battle, dubious pleasures, and victory. I must say that I love both Jari and Petri, and I do believe that Petri does a great job in Ensiferum.
The disc starts out with a nice, short instrumental entitled “Ad Victorium”. Crashing waves, thundering skys, and a running horse are just a few features of this song. It starts slow with a steady (steel?) drum beat and light instruments which make you really feel like you’re forming a line before a great battle. The perfect precursor to the second song on the album..
“Blood is the Price of Honor” really delivers in my eyes (ears?). Not many people talk about this song but I have to say I really enjoy it. It’s played at a furious speed as Petri belts out the story of a great battle in which the victors absolutely crushed their opponents.
“Deathbringer from the Sky” is an interesting song. Musically I think it falls a bit short, however, the subject matter and lyrics are quite nice. It tells the story of a Dragon whom, I believe, is being hunted and must defend itself against his mortal enemy, man.
“Ahti” is a God of the seas who watches over sailors apparently. This is quite a good song, very singable and will be great Live. Probably one of those “it’s better live songs than it is on the album” type of songs. This song doesn’t seem to be about anything but Ahti and how he governs his world. Based on Finnish folklore.
“One More Magic Potion” is possibly the greatest song on this CD. I love drinking songs, and this doesn’t disappoint! It has quite the fun story to it too. It’s about some soldiers who got lost in the woods and found a house. The resident let them come inside her house to rest and she was making some alcohol (presumably some sort of moonshine), the soldiers liked the smell. She served some of it to them and it made them feel good and seemed to make their wounds hurt less, therefore they dubbed it a “magic potion”. HAH! It goes on about how they keep drinking and have a good old time. Everything about this song screams sing-along!
“Wanderer” is a close second as favorite on this disc. When I listen to this song I can picture sitting around a campfire hearing a great tale of the Wanderer being told. He is a well known old man who grew tired of fighting wars, so he picked a direction and started to ride. He rode away from the cares of his world, and while he misses them, he welcomes new adventures.
“Raised by the Swords” is a song simply about men who were raised as warriors from birth. Kind of reminiscent of Ancient Roman soldiers. Another really good song, man those drums!
“The New Dawn” is another battle song in which warriors are riding into a final battle against their opponent. This song goes by pretty quickly, and isn’t one that really stands out.
“Victory Songs” is amazing. Clocking in at just over ten minutes this song starts slowly and really kicks it up by the end. From what I can gather this song is about an invading army who sneak attacks our heroes in the middle of night. However, a guard manages to blow a horn before he is killed which wakes the inhabitants of the village. Our heroes manage to fight off these barbarians at a great loss of life. The village remained safe for their children to live and prosper. Beautiful song, a top one on this album.