Sami Hinkka and Petri Lindroos with Ensiferum at Rockharz festival 2016 in Germany
|Genres||Folk metal, melodic death metal, viking metal|
|Labels||Spinefarm, Metal Blade|
|Associated acts||Wintersun, Arthemesia, Cadacross, Chthonic, Norther, Waltari, Sinergy, Turisas|
|Past members||Sauli Savolainen|
Metal and folk melodies are played on lead guitar or keyboard, overlaying heavier heavy metal backing rhythms such as the classic gallop. The band also include fairly frequent use of acoustic guitars, usually at the beginnings of songs. The lyrical themes of their music most often relate to fantastical, archaic, or historic stories that can most often be grouped in with Nordic concepts, usually with heroic sentiment.
Ensiferum was founded in 1995 by Markus Toivonen (guitar), Sauli Savolainen (bass) and Kimmo Miettinen (drums). For the band's name, they took the Latin adjective ensiferum, which means "sword bearer". In the next year, Jari Mäenpää was taken into the band as singer and second guitar-player. In 1997, the first demo was released, containing three songs.
In 1998, Sauli and Kimmo left the band and were replaced by Jukka-Pekka Miettinen (Kimmo's little brother, then 14 years old) and Oliver Fokin. In January 1999, a second demo was recorded, which although it did not produce a recording deal, boosted the band's confidence. In November 1999 a third demo, "Hero in a Dream", was recorded, which was successful in obtaining a record deal with Spinefarm Records. The logo that appears on all the bands releases was designed for the third demo by Tuomas Tahvanainen, who also designed the logos for the earlier demos. In 2000, the band went into the studio to work on their first album, Ensiferum, which was released in August 2001. In the same year, Meiju Enho joined them as a keyboard-player.
In 2004, after the work was completed on the second album, Iron, Jari left the band due to conflicts between scheduled studio work on his side project Wintersun and touring with Ensiferum. For the tour with Finntroll, Petri Lindroos from Norther replaced Jari on guitar and as singer, and became a member of the band after the tour. In December 2004, Jukka-Pekka left the band and was replaced by Sami Hinkka (Rapture). Oliver also left in 2005 to be replaced by Janne Parviainen.
The new Ensiferum line-up entered the studio later that year to record an EP to be called Dragonheads, which was released in February 2006. As well as the title track, it also contained two reworked demo songs; an Amorphis cover and a short rendition of the Kalevala melody, as well as a medley of three traditional Finnish songs.
The recording of the third studio album, called Victory Songs, took place between November 2006 and early 2007, and was released on 20 April 2007. A single titled "One More Magic Potion" (after the track of the same name) was released on 7 February. Following the album's release, the band released through the producer's MySpace page, a music video for the song "Ahti," which included all band members featured as extras. The video was released after the album release due to video filming problems.
On 10 September 2007, it was announced that keyboardist Meiju Enho would leave the band. This was posted in a bulletin on their MySpace page and later confirmed on their website. The band used Emmi Silvennoinen of Exsecratus as a touring fill-in. She later became a permanent member of the band during the recording of the From Afar album.
Ensiferum headlined the Paganfest tour in Europe and North America in 2008. Others playing the tour included Týr and Eluveitie, with Moonsorrow and Korpiklaani also joining them on the European part of the tour, and Turisas in North America. They also supported Megadeth on the opening night of their United Abominations – Tour of Duty European tour. Ensiferum also supported Amon Amarth on their North American Twilight of the Thunder God tour.
Shortly before their Russian tour in 2008, vocalist/guitarist Petri Lindroos fell "seriously ill" and was unable to participate. The band hired ex-bassist Jukka-Pekka Miettinen to assume Lindroos' guitar duties, while bassist Sami Hinkka took over his lead vocal duties for the tour.
In the first half of 2009, Ensiferum performed at a string of festivals including Frostrock in Belgium, Finnish Metal Expo and Tuska Open Air in Finland, Winterfire, Rocktower, Legacy and Rock am Härtsfeldsee in Germany, Summer Nights in Austria, and Z7 Metal Dayz in Switzerland. In June and July they toured North America as part of the Summer Slaughter Tour with Necrophagist, Darkest Hour, Suffocation, Blackguard, Dying Fetus, Beneath the Massacre, Origin, and Winds of Plague. In August they performed at the Global East Rock Festival in Ukraine, Ankkarock and Jurassic Rock in Finland, and Let's Open Air in Turkey.
Ensiferum released their fourth studio album, From Afar, on 9 September 2009 with Spinefarm Records. The album was produced by Nightwish producer Tero Kinnunen and Victory Songs producer Janne Joutsenniemi, and it was mixed by producer Hiili Hiilesmaa. The limited edition of the album includes a cover of Swedish folk rock group Nordman with guest vocalist Heri Joensen of Faroese band Týr. Following the release, the group embarked on a European tour with Estonian folk metal band Metsatöll and Finnish melodic death metal band Tracedawn. In October they performed at Hellflame Festival – The South Side of Hell and Devil's Revenge festival in Germany, and Tattoo the Mind in France. Ensiferum performed on the second day of the inaugural Screamfest Festival in Sydney, Australia, on New Years Day 2010. In November/December they toured North America with Ex Deo (on selected dates), and Blackguard.
Ensiferum were also confirmed to play Bloodstock Open Air at Catton Hall, United Kingdom in 2010. In October 2010, Ensiferum embarked on their first ever South African tour. This tour consisted of four shows in two cities, and they were accompanied by numerous local metal bands including Riddare av Koden, Empery and All Forlorn. The final show, at The Black Dahlia in Johannesburg, was filmed to potentially appear on their next live DVD. In early 2011 Ensiferum embarked on The Ugly World Tour 2011 with labelmates Children of Bodom, Amon Amarth, Machinae Supremacy supporting them for segments of their tour in the US and Canada. The tour took place within a 4-month period of time and spanned 23 countries.
The band's fifth studio album, Unsung Heroes, was released on 24 August 2012; this would be their final album for Spinefarm Records. The next year, Ensiferum signed with Metal Blade Records after thirteen years with their previous label. After release of the album, Ensiferum embarked on a tour of Europe and South America.
Ensiferum's sixth album, One Man Army, was released on 20 February 2015. The album was recorded at Astia Studio with producer Anssi Kippo. A music video for the title track "One Man Army" was released prior to the album's release. In March of that year, Ensiferum announced on their Facebook page that keyboardist Emmi Silvennoinen would not be able to make the European and North American "One Man Army Tour" due to personal commitments at home. Former Turisas accordion player Netta Skog filled her role for the tour. Skog had performed clean vocals on the One Man Army songs Cry for the Earth Bounds and Neito Pohjolan. Heri Joensen of Týr makes an appearance on the track "Heathen Horde", quoting stanza 16 of Hávamál in Old Icelandic.
On 31 March 2016 it was announced that Emmi Silvennoinen would take a leave of absence from the band because of personal issues. Netta Skog was confirmed as her permanent replacement. With Skog in the line-up, the band entered the studio to record their seventh studio album, Two Paths. Anssi Kippo, who had produced One Man Army, was again chosen to produce the album. The band focused on a more "organic" sound for Two Paths, using analog recording and neglecting to use a click track for certain songs. Two Paths was released on 15 September 2017.
Accordionist Netta Skog left the band in December 2017.
10th Anniversary Live is a live performance DVD celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Viking/folk metal band Ensiferum. It was filmed on New Year's Eve, 2005 at the music hall Nosturi in Helsinki, Finland.Dragonheads (EP)
Dragonheads is an EP by Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum. It was released on February 15, 2006 by Spinefarm Records. It is the first Ensiferum release featuring the then recently hired members Petri Lindroos, Sami Hinkka and Janne Parviainen. Mastered at Finnvox Studios. Warrior's Quest and White Storm are the re-recordings of songs from the band's second demo. Finnish Medley is a medley of the Finnish traditional pieces Karjalan kunnailla, Myrskyluodon Maija, and Metsämiehen laulu.Emmi Silvennoinen
Emmi Silvennoinen (born April 9, 1988 in Finland) is the former keyboardist for the folk metal band Ensiferum. She filled the role following the departure of Meiju Enho from Ensiferum in September 2007 before joining it as a member during the recording of the album From Afar (2009). Emmi was also the keyboard player for the melodic death/gothic metal band Exsecratus.Ensiferum (album)
Ensiferum is the first album by the Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum. It was released on 7 January 2001 on Spinefarm Records.From Afar (album)
From Afar is the fourth studio album by the Finnish folk metal and melodic death metal band Ensiferum, as well as the first to feature keyboardist Emmi Silvennoinen. It was released on September 9, 2009, on Spinefarm Records. The album was produced by Nightwish producer Tero Kinnunen and Victory Songs producer Janne Joutsenniemi. It was mixed by HIM producer Hiili Hiilesmaa. The limited edition of the album includes a cover of Swedish folk rock group Nordman.Heikki Saari
Heikki Saari (alias "Mörkö", "kermis" or "kmn") (born on 8 September 1984 and originating from Veteli, Finland) is the current drummer for Whorion and Finntroll. He is also the live drummer for Tuoni and former drummer of Norther and Amberian Dawn. He started playing drums around 1987 and influences include Scarve, Opeth, Soilwork, Ensiferum, Disarmonia Mundi, Dream Theater, Meshuggah, Annihilator, Deathchain, Hate Eternal, Rotten Sound, Rytmihäiriö, Sevendust, and Wintersun.Iron (Ensiferum album)
Iron is the second full-length album by folk metal band Ensiferum. This is the last album featuring Jari Mäenpää before he formed Wintersun the same year.Janne Parviainen
Janne Parviainen, born 1973 in Finland, is a heavy metal drummer, who plays in the bands Sinergy, Barathrum and Ensiferum. He is a former member of Waltari and Zwanziger.
Janne joined Barathrum in 2000, and Sinergy and Ensiferum more recently. His first recording for Ensiferum was the Dragonheads EP, which was recorded soon after he joined the band in 2005 and released early the next year. He has yet to feature on a Sinergy album, having joined after the recording of their most recent album, Suicide By My Side.
Janne's longest time in a band was with Waltari - between 1990 and 2002, when he left to join Sinergy.Jari Mäenpää
Jari Mäenpää (born 23 December 1977) is a Finnish heavy metal multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He is the founder of Wintersun for which he records all instruments. Before forming Wintersun, Mäenpää was best known for his role in the folk metal band Ensiferum, which he joined in 1996 after leaving his prior band named Immemorial. Wintersun was initially planned as a parallel project alongside Ensiferum, but in January, 2004 he was forced to leave Ensiferum due to clashes between their touring schedule and the studio recording time he had booked for Wintersun.
In 1997, Mäenpää had to put his musical career on hold to take part in Finland's compulsory military service. In an interview, Mäenpää admitted he disliked the time he spent in the military and suspects it's where he acquired tuberculosis.Jari was also a member of the band Arthemesia, and participated in Kimmo Miettinen's sideproject Lost Alone.Markus Toivonen
Markus Toivonen (born 1979 in Helsinki) is the founding member of the Finnish folk/death metal band Ensiferum. Markus founded the band in 1995 and is the sole original member to have lasted the distance to Ensiferum's present incarnation. His role in the band is guitarist and primary songwriter. He has always contributed backing vocals and since the departure of Jari Mäenpää in 2004 has taken up a greater role behind the microphone, sharing the clean vocal parts with new bass player Sami Hinkka, with Mäenpää's replacement Petri Lindroos handling the harsh vocals.
Markus also plays in a side band called Speden Timantit and has been a member of the short-lived black/death metal outfit Soulstream.Meiju Enho
Meiju Enho, born in 1981 in Finland, is the former keyboard player of the Finnish Viking/folk metal band Ensiferum. Meiju joined the band in 2001 following the release of their debut album Ensiferum and played on all subsequent releases until her departure in 2007.
Meiju has also performed as a touring musician for Finntroll, another Finnish folk metal band, when their regular keyboard player Trollhorn was unavailable.
It was announced that Meiju had left the Ensiferum on September 10, 2007. in a statement on the band's website. The official announcement read:
Since 2012, Enho has been the composer, keyboardist, kantele player and lead singer for the Finnish alt/folk metal band Mamyth.One Man Army (Ensiferum album)
One Man Army is the sixth album by Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum. It was released on 20 February 2015 through Metal Blade.One More Magic Potion
"One More Magic Potion" is the second single by the viking/folk metal band Ensiferum. The song comes from their third album, Victory Songs. It was released on 7 February 2007 by Spinefarm.Petri Lindroos
Petri Lindroos (born 10 January 1980 in Espoo, Finland) is a melodic death/folk metal guitarist and vocalist. He is currently the lead vocalist in Ensiferum and, prior to this, was a founder and lead vocalist for Norther.Sami Hinkka
Sami Hinkka, born 27 April 1978 in Finland, is a heavy metal bass player, presently with Ensiferum. He joined his current band in 2004 as a replacement for Jukka-Pekka Miettinen after playing for some years in the melodic death/doom metal band Rapture. He left his role with Rapture in 2006 and now plays only in Ensiferum.
In addition to bass guitar duties, Hinkka also performs in the role of dual backing/choir vocalist with guitarist Markus Toivonen. He has also taken over as the band's main lyricist, having written almost all of the lyrics since Victory Songs. During Ensiferum's tour to Russia in 2008 he performed as the lead vocalist due to Petri Lindroos' illness.Two Paths (album)
Two Paths is the seventh album by Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum. It was released on 15 September 2017 through Metal Blade. It is the only Ensiferum album to feature accordionist Netta Skog, who replaced keyboardist Emmi Silvennoinen in 2016 and departed from the band in December 2017.Unsung Heroes (Ensiferum album)
Unsung Heroes is the fifth album by Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum. It was released on 27 August 2012 through Spinefarm Records.Victory Songs
Victory Songs is the third full-length album by the Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum. It was released on April 20, 2007 by Spinefarm. It would be the first full-length Ensiferum album to feature the new members
Petri Lindroos, Sami Hinkka and Janne Parviainen, and the last to feature Meiju Enho.Wintersun
Wintersun is a Finnish heavy metal band from Helsinki originally formed as the sideproject of Jari Mäenpää, then vocalist and guitarist of folk metal band Ensiferum.
In 2003, Mäenpää began pulling together songs that he had been working on since 1995. These songs followed specific themes described by Mäenpää as majestic, "spacy", and melodic. While Mäenpää planned to perform and record each instrument for the first album himself, he still required a drummer. He sent demos to Kai Hahto, former member of Rotten Sound, who agreed to perform the drums.
After obtaining a record deal, Mäenpää scheduled studio time to record the first album. Ensiferum's tour to support their 2004 release was scheduled at the same time, which forced Mäenpää to request time off from the band. The band instead fired him, and Mäenpää was free to go ahead with the production of his self-titled album, Wintersun.
After the release of Wintersun, the band found permanent members to perform shows and promote the album, although a keyboardist would never be found. In 2006, Wintersun began work on their second and third albums, Time I and Time II, which were initially intended to be released as a single album. Recording began in May of that year, but the albums would be the recipient of years-long delays for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which was the complexity of each song's mix.