Ensiferum have been all about trying new things lately, from Emmi Silvennoinen moving on from keyboard duties and replacing her with ex-Turisas accordionist Netta Skog. Skog then left as well, leaving Ensiferum with an open instrument slot. The other biggest changes in the band recently have notably involved who is singing and when; regular growling vocalist Petri “Pete” Lindroos has stepped back from lead vocals, sharing the role more equally with bassist Sami Hinkka and guitarist Markus Toivonen – an move I personally think was horrible, though fans seem to have out-voted me on this as 2017’s Two Paths was rather well-received on the whole.
Enter the latest single and news about the band: “Rum, Women, Victory” is a fun, traditional Ensiferum song with just the right riffs and style to bring you back to earlier days like Victory Songs. While conceptually this feels a bit more pirate than Viking, per se – and hey, didn’t Lindroos once swear to us that they would never be like Alestorm? – the band really makes it work for them as the melody is fun and energizing without being overwhelming. They’ve put Lindroos back where he belongs in lead vocals, but the new twist is the showcasing of new keyboardist and vocalist Pekka Montin. He keeps the keyboard section of the music alive and his almost Kotipelto-esque power metal vocals are a pleasant change from the aforementioned vocals of which I was not a fan.
Ensiferum will release their 8th studio album, Thalassic, on July 10th, 2020., via Metal Blade Records