Let’s cut straight to the chase for those with short attention spans – Ensiferum never disappoints, “Two Paths” is fantastic, and you should (but probably won’t) buy this today.
Ok, so if you’re still here, then let’s go a bit deeper. “Two Paths” is the follow-up to 2015’s “One Man Army“, and extends Enisferum’s claim as one of the best Folk Metal bands going around. There’s not much breaking of new ground here, but it all feels like a tighter and more polished presentation of the band’s sound. The pace is kept up right across the album, and there’s a ton of catchy folk riffs running through the album.
Production is top quality throughout, with the drums in particular seeming to have a tone that just drives the album along. Perhaps the drums come to the fore because the guitars might be just a touch subdued, but it’s a tiny detail against the overall sonic backdrop.
The album consists of musical intro and outro tracks, and nine other tracks for the basic album. Two bonus tracks after the outro round things out. There’s so many great numbers here, really no filler. ‘Way of the Warrior’ is classic Enisferum, with a great opening riff. The title track ‘Two Paths’ is a standout, featuring clean vocals through the verses as a contrast to most of the album. It’s a longer song with a great chorus before giving way at mid song into a great musical section, which then builds back into a final chorus. The pace then switches up to 11 for ‘King of Storms’, which thunders along at break neck pace before giving way to the much more folk oriented ‘Feast With Valkyries’, with it’s female lead vocal.
As mentioned before, the album ends with a couple of ‘bonus’ tracks, alternative recordings of ‘God Is Dead’ and ‘Don’t You Say’. The growl vocals on the alternative version of ‘Don’t You Say’ seem to work better as a contrast to the song’s arrangement. Perhaps this should have been the ‘official’ version.
This is unmistakeably an Ensiferum album. Plenty of catchy melodies and riffs, a great sense of fun, and enough Viking imagery to satisfy your Nordic cravings (for now). A really strong release from a band that gets better with each album.