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Ensiferum will release their long-awaited new studio album, “Winter Storm”, on October 18th through Metal Blade Records.

The Finnish folk-metal melodeath sensation has maintained a prolific release schedule since their first demo in 1997, gradually increasing in stature until eighth album “Thalassic” crowned their ascent in 2020. The nautical opus went on to top Finland’s album chart, reaching #3 in Germany, and top ten in Switzerland, Canada, and the United States. Eventually, Ensiferum would take “Thalassic” on two massive world tours and to festivals like Wacken, Hellfest, Summer Breeze, and Ragnarök, but the global Covid pandemic ensured that the four-year wait for Winter Storm would be the longest in the band’s near-thirty-year history.

Much of the new material emerged in the lockdown era, when Ensiferum’s founding guitarist Markus Toivonen set himself the challenge of finding new ways to make music – eventually composing every song except the rousing, anthemic “Fatherland”, written by bassist Sami Hinkka. The addition of singer/organist Pekka Montin’s crystal-clear melodic high notes provided a tremendous boost on “Thalassic”. But on “Winter Storm” – a fantasy concept narrative penned by Hinkka — Montin’s super-strong voice finds its optimal place in Ensiferum’s sound. Bringing to life such grandiose, heroic material, the singer emerges as one of the greatest vocal discoveries of the decade.

“The way I see it, this album is more like a ‘musical’ than a traditional album,” says Hinkka. “The lyrics of Winter Storm are based on part of my unpublished fantasy book. One day it will be out… I don’t want to reveal the plot or details too much but ‘Winter Storm Vigilantes’ and ‘Fatherland’ tell of two factions in this long tale. The Vigilantes have gained knowledge to utilize certain rare elements, and even though there was already magic in this world, with this new epiphany they have reached a completely new level. This element seems to interact with living things in a way that even the wisest men don’t completely understand. And through generations of trial and error, they have refined a skill to expose their horses to the element and managed to break the law of gravity, making their steeds fly. But they became ruthless and greedy on their quest to gain more of this element. A small tribe in the north keep on fighting for their land, which the Vigilantes plan to take over. These North Folks will literally fight until the last man…”

“Other characters include a Vigilante castaway, the last shaman of the North Folk, and a mysterious widow. The album ends with a great battle against the Vigilantes and the unholy alliance of the castaway and the North Folk shaman, who has transcended into a spirit wolf. Who will prevail? Will this be the final battle of the book? Time will tell… I understand that all this sounds very far out — well, it is a fantasy book — but believe me, it will be truly an epic story!”

Adds Hinkka of Ensiferum’s first single from the offering, “Winter Storm Vigilantes”:

“Markus had quite grandeur visions of the song and it turned out to be even more heroic than we expected. It was an obvious choice to open the new album. This epic song serves as one faction of the big story. The song pushes forward with the might of a thousand horses and will surely be a great song in the future setlist.”

Ensiferum’s Winter Storm was produced by Janne Joutsenniemi, mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren, and includes guest appearances by Lassi Logrén on Nyckelharpa and violin and Mikko Mustonen on orchestration as well as Eleine’s Madeleine Liljestam who provides all vocals on “Scars In My Heart”.

1. Aurora
2. Winter Storm Vigilantes
3. Long Cold Winter of Sorrow and Strife
4. Fatherland
5. Scars in My Heart (feat. Madeleine Liljestam)
6. Resistentia
7. The Howl
8. From Order to Chaos
9. Leniret Coram Tempestate
10. Victorious
11. Six Ribbons (Jon English Cover) *
12. Lambada (Kaoma Cover) *
* Special Edition Bonus Track

Ensiferum:
Petri Lindroos – vocals, guitars
Markus Toivonen – guitars, vocals
Sami Hinkka – bass, vocals
Janne Parviainen – drums
Pekka Montin – keyboards, vocals

Photo by Svetlana Goncharova

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