Live at The Echoplex

Los Angeles, CA

November 29th, 2019

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Finnish pagan folk metal masters, Ensiferum embark upon their North America tour following "The Path To Victory". Their name means "sword bearing" and many of their songs deal with swords, steel, and battle.

The four men of Ensiferum all don war paint on their faces and many of the fans in the packed venue had similarly marked themselves for musical battle.

Front and center is lead vocalist and guitarist, Petri Lindroos. Petri handles all the harsh growls and vocals while clean vocals are handled by guitarist Markus Toivonen and bassist Sami Hinkka. Janne Parviainen fills out the rhythm section behind his drum kit.

The tour name is formed from their latest album "Two Paths" combined with their 2012 release, "Victory Songs" which featured heavily in the set list this evening. They started off the show with the intro "Ad Victoriam" which lead directly into "Blood is the Price of Glory" from this album.

The mosh pit fired up immediately with a frenzy of energy as the band tore into an ode to beer with "One More Magic Potion" also from "Victory Songs".

Having circled through the world earlier this year on the official "Two Paths" tour, this outing allowed them to focus on many of the fan favorites from older albums including "Token of Time" from their self titled debut, "Ensiferum".

The audience and the band were relentless in the onslaught, launching directly into "From Afar" from the album of the same name while crowd surfers cascaded to the front before launching themselves off the stage back onto the hands of fellow head-bangers.

Continuing with 2009's "From Afar" they went into the "Smoking Ruins". They continued hitting albums with paired songs. "One Man Army" got featured with the popular "Two of Spades" and the powerful "Heathen Horde", both of which induced sing alongs from the crowd.

Their latest album, "Two Paths" was up next for the focal treatment, and they selected the anthem "For Those About to Fight for Metal" and a song that encapsulates Ensiferum, "Way of the Warrior".

"Unsung Heroes" from 2012 gave two of my favorite songs of the night with the more melodic "Burning Leaves", and the song that to me epitomizes Ensiferum's blazing sound, "In My Sword I Trust". The entire venue sang along to the chorus: "Rise my brothers for we are blessed by steel - In my sword I trust! Arm yourselves, the truth shall be revealed - In my sword I trust! Tyrants and cowards for metal you will kneel - In my sword I trust! Till justice and reason will wield - In my sword I trust!"

Ensiferum returned to the "Victory Songs" album for the last two songs of the main set with "Ahti" and the eponymous, "Victory Song". The chanting and cheering from the audience began as soon as they finished the final note.

The band left the stage but did not wait long to return to their enthusiastic fans. Petri thanked the crowd and said they appreciated the awesome turnout from the bottom of their hearts as they knew another metal monstrosity, Slayer, was playing this same night across town.

They kicked off the encore with "Hero in a Dream" from their debut album that came out eighteen years ago and brought the show to a close with another fan favorite from their sophomore album, "Iron" with the sing along special, "Lai Lai Hei".

The room was full of smiles and positive energy as the band took a photo with the crowd, everyone's hands in the air with the two fingered metal-horns salute before departing.

Once again, Ensiferum put on a great show, touching upon all seven of their releases spanning nearly twenty years. If you are a fan of the older material, this was definitely not a show to miss. They said they would have a new album out by the next time they tour so hopefully that will be next year some time.

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