Incorporating jig-worthy elements into their over-the-top power metal (think lyrics about Vikings, death on the battlefield, glory, etc.), Ensiferum have represented the folk-metal quadrant of progressive metal since forming in Helsinki, Finland, in 1992. A trio of demos preceded their 2001 self-titled debut album, and in the years since then, the band has released an additional three albums. Blending a strong Manowar influence with flutes, wood-nymph backing choruses and wraith-screech/mead hall vocal trade-offs, the band is far more accessible than fellow Viking-obsessed metal groups Enslaved and Amon Amarth, but somehow even weirder. In response to the earnestly "heroic" music, fans who attend their live shows often bring cardboard swords and fight each other. Also, the band erects forests onstage (replete with tree ents) and ends their shows with a battle re-creation.
Ensiferum Concert Films
Live at Wacken '08
Runtime: 59 minEnsiferum was founded in 1995 by Markus Toivonen (guitar), Sauli Savolainen (bass) and Kimmo Miettinen (drums). For the band's name, they took the Latin neuter gender adjective ensiferum, which means "sword bearer". In the next year, Jari was taken into the band as singer and second guitar-player. In 1997, the first demo was released, containing three songs.
The highly stylized logo of Ensiferum has appeared on all of their releases.
In 1998, Sauli and Kimmo left the band and were replaced by Jukka-Pekka Miettinen (Kimmo's little brother, then 14 years old) and Oliver Fokin. In January 1999, a second demo was recorded, which although it did not produce a recording deal, boosted the band's confidence. In November 1999 a third demo, "Hero in a Dream", was recorded, which was successful in obtaining a record deal with Spinefarm Records. The logo that appears on all the bands releases was designed for the third demo by Tuomas Tahvanainen, who also designed the logos for the earlier demos. In 2000, the band went into the studio to work on their first album, Ensiferum, which was released in August 2001. In the same year, Meiju Enho joined them as a keyboard-player.