Published Jul 09, 2020It's easy to argue that Finland's premier folk metal band have perfected a formula that doesn't ever need to be changed. After a couple of missteps on their more recent albums (2012's Unsung Heroes and 2017's Two Paths were a step down from early releases), fans have been hoping for the same old Ensiferum they know and love.
With styles like power and folk metal, the importance of the energy with which the songs are performed can never be overstated. The catchy riffs and sing-along choruses can all be there, but without conviction in the playing, they'll just sound boring and feeble. Bands like Ensiferum can't get away with just going through the motions.
After the standard orchestral folk metal intro, Thalassic kicks off with the fierce double attack of two of its strongest tracks, "Rum, Women, Victory," and "Andromeda," dispelling any worries the album might not live up to Ensiferum's hard-earned potential. From there, there isn't a song that isn't rife with musical hooks, and while the songs are sometimes elaborate, they aren't overly busy. The music is varied enough, but the vigour remains the same throughout the whole record: the downtempo stomp of "One with the Sea" packs just as much force as fast-paced shredders like "Run from the Crushing Tide."
Some songs, like "Midsummer Magic," incorporate traditional folk music more than others, but overall, the album is actually less folk and more metal than previous Ensiferum releases. The heroic fantasy atmosphere is still ever-present, and the ancient Greek and nautical themes lend themselves well to this feel.
Thalassic's biggest highlight is its closer, "Cold Northland (Väinämöinen Part III)," which seems to have almost every element of the band's sound incorporated into one epic battle of a song. Starting with a solo piano and seamlessly gliding into a full-on metal assault, it's the perfect finale to another monster of an album from the mighty Ensiferum. (Metal Blade)