Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Rethinking Victory Songs

I was going to use the word "apology" somewhere in the title of this post, but I see that I never bashed Ensiferum (in this blog, anyway) outside of my comments on their Paganfest performance. I've been trying to be more organic in my listening patterns lately, selecting those albums with whatever song has gotten stuck my ear today, rather than forcing myself to listen to something new or relatively new or otherwise not sufficiently explored (have I mentioned I'm a little odd about my music geekery?). This change has resulted in some self-perpetuating selections - I listened to nothing but Ihsahn, Emperor, and Opeth yesterday because I woke up with portions of "Depraved" running through my mind - but it's also led to the resurgence of Ensiferum's most recent album, Victory Songs, in my esteem.

I liked Victory Songs enough to hold on to it after I downloaded it, but at the time, flush with the riches of my post-Paganfest discoveries, I couldn't help but feel that Ensiferum was Turisas-lite. Fast forward to this past Friday, when their album cover jumped out from my iTunes list and I decided to give them a second chance. 50 minutes later, I was a fan: the songs are sufficiently epic, the hooks of tracks like "Ahti," "One More Magic Potion," "Raised by the Sword," and "Victory Song" sufficiently strong, the energy sufficiently infectious to get me bopping around the room, dreaming of sword-in-hand victory. As it turned out, the attraction was strong enough to last several days: when I got to work this morning, "Wanderer" was running its way through my head, setting up a reprise and this blog post. Victory Songs might suffer a bit from overreliance on the same set of tools, but I'm glad I hung on to it.


Anonymous said...

Being myself a huge fan of Ihsahn, Emperor and Opeth music, would you recommend me Ensiferum ??

Eric said...

I would check out other pagan metal groups first. If the epic, orchestral sweep of the bands you mentioned appeals to as it does to me, you would probably enjoy Turisas or Eluveitie; I would start with either The Varangian Way or Slania Songs.