New York City, New York
February 26, 2011
Folk metal has finally become an accepted norm with metal fans here in the States. Of course, musically all good things go through Europe first! The aptly dubbed Finnish Metal Tour 2011 rolled into New York City on a suitably wintery evening. The co-headliners were folk metal superstars in the making Finntroll and Ensiferum.
Ensiferum opened the proceedings shirtless (with the exception, of course, of Emmi!) adorned in kilts and war paint. The band opened with the title track off their latest release, “From Afar.” “Token of Time”, “Into Battle”, “Smoking Ruins,” and “Deadbringer” all galloped by with ferocity. Lead guitarist Markus Toivonen astounded throughout the set with some incredibly original lead breaks (not sure why he broke out the theme to “Bonanza” though!), while vocalist/guitarist Petri Lindroos was in impeccable form as well. These guys complement each other perfectly. Bassist Sami Hinkka was a wild man – a mass of sweaty hair cavorting about the stage. “Stone Cold Metal”, (simply massive!) “Twilight Tavern” and “Victory Song” closed a very impressive set. As good as they are on tape, they are a hundred times better live! You must catch them when they come to your town.
Finntroll, touring in support of their new album “Nifelvind,” was the more extreme of the two bands with vocalist Mathias Lillmans leading the way. The band opened with the “Blood March” intro and hit the stage with “Tale of the Sun” and “Frozen Mouth,” all from “Nifelvind”. Two more songs that are new aired later on in the set in “A Deed of the Northern Lights” and “Toward the World of Shadows.” The mosh pit was a frenzy of activity for the majority of the show, with the likes of “Descent,” “Nightborn,” and “From the Depths of the Earth” providing the perfect musical backdrop.
To me, Ensiferum was more appealing and accessible than Finntroll, but both bands were on top of their game at The Blender!