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Ensiferum

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.

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