Live at The House of Blues

Los Angeles, California

May 6th, 2015

Review and Photos by Travis Baumann

Ensiferum are a Folk Metal band out of Helsinki, Finland. Their name means "Sword Bearer" and their songs are most often about Viking warriors and their conflicts, lives, and mythology.

I have seen them several times in the past but I have to say this concert was by far the best one.  I am not sure if it was due to the first night of the tour and they were fresh and eager or because the new album they are touring for, "One Man Army", is the best thing they have put out yet, but it all came together tonight.

They started the set with "Axe of Judgement". The circle pit taking off from the start. "Heathen Horde" only continued the onslaught as the band got into their groove.

The lead singer, Petri Lindroos has a growled vocal delivery that is countered by the clean vocals from band founder and lead guitarist, Markus Tiovonen and bassist, Sami Hinkka.

Petri announced that their keyboard player, Emmi could not make the tour so they had recruited Turisas' ex accordion player, Netta Skog who added a great addition to the band.

She smiled and danced around the stage and sang on a number of songs as well. They played "Into Battle" followed by "Little Dreamer (Väinämöinen, Part II)".

The band are hyper energetic, moving from one side of the stage to the other, windmill-whipping their hair around, or facing off with one another for instrumental showdowns.

They blasted through hi-octaine songs, the audience screaming and moshing through the whole set. They performed "Warrior Without a War" and "Ahti" before coming to "Smoking Ruins".

At one point Netta came to the front and asked if anyone wanted to hear some "Finnish Umpa Music" and went into an old piece which the bassist joined in for.

They would stare each other down as they played and first she would push forward and he step back and then he would reverse the rolls.

The rest of the band came back out and they played "Two of Spades" which the audience all sang along with.

They did three of my favorite songs in a row with "Unsung Heros" followed by "Burning Leaves" and the title track off the new album "One Man Army".

The energy of the audience was only surpassed by the band themselves, they were full of smiles as they played to the enthusiastic crowd.

For the final song of the main set they played "Victory Song". It was an epic song to finish on and a powerful set as a whole. The band took to the wings as an outro piece of music played.

It had already been a long set but everyone immediately started chanting the band's name, louder and louder until the Netta came back out sans accordion but with a police hat and cop shades on.

She proceeded to introduce each of the musicians but each member came out with a different instrument than they played the entire night.

The drummer, Janne Parviainen came out playing lead guitar, Petri came out playing bass, the lead guitarist, Markus took over the drum kit, and Sami came out with the accordion.

She said, "I supposed I should do something... I know, how about sing!" and the band blasted into a great cover of Judas Priest's "Breaking the Law". She sounded good on vocals and the entire band had a good time messing around with other instruments.

The band then all switched back to their regular duties and they continued with a massive three song medley which included "From Afar", "Token of Time" and "Iron" as the final piece of the night.

It was absolutely an amazing set. They sounded so powerful and perfect tonight and obviously had a lot of fun in the process.

I have never seen them so jovial and messing around with alternate instrumental roles on the cover song was really something to see.

Tonight was the first night of the tour so everyone has time to get out and see these guys, I can not recommend it enough.

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