Date: February 20th, 2016
Venue: The Voodoo Lounge, Dublin
Line-up: Ensiferum + Metsatöll
My first experience of melodic death/folk band Ensiferum was back in 2011 when they played here with Children of Bodom. A killer performance ensured that I would go see them again the following year and now this evening for a third time. Their warrior anthems are the perfect soundtrack for the live environment and joining them tonight were 2 more quality folk metal bands of Estonian’s Metsatöll and our own Celtachor.
Unfortunately, some last minute technical problems prevented Celtachor from performing on the night leaving a very long wait for Metsatöll’s set to arrive. From the banter among the crowd it sounded as if there were many Eastern Europeans in attendance just to see these guys. Metsatöll play a blend of thrash-influenced heavy metal together with more traditional Estonian folk instruments capably performed by multi-instrumentalist Lauri “Varulven”. The crowd, and indeed the bands themselves, really seemed to be enjoying themselves requiring little encouragement to go along with claps and chants. Of note was one fan in particular who had made his way right up the front of the stage and was, very enthusiastically, singing along and air drumming.
Ensiferum’s ‘Burden of the Fallen’ tour see’s the band continuing their support for their latest album One Man Army, which coincidentally was released a year ago tonight. Using this as a starting point, the band quickly started up into the pairing of “Axe of Judgement” and “Heathen Horde”, the latter of which had the crowd chanting along the chorus allowing it to slip in nicely with their back catalogue of warrior anthems. “Burning Leaves” was an early set highlight with its catchy melodic chorus and guitar/bass solo sections.
This show was in a smaller venue than their previous show ; unfortunately this meant that some of the floor in front of the stage was used to hold the bands various guitars and other instruments. When the tempo picked up for fan favourites “From Afar”, “Treacherous Gods” and “Ahti”, this left me with the sudden task of ensuring a whole line of expensive guitars weren’t knocked to the ground (!). It’s a slight nagging issue but it shouldn’t be used to deter from the fact that the venue was filled with explosive energy from the band and fans alike.
Around this point vocalist/guitarist Petri Lindroos looked utterly exhausted so the band slowed down the pace for the Unsung Heroes title track. Regular band member keyboardist Emmi Silvennoinen was unable to join the band for this tour which meant that the band had a replacement in the form of former Turisas accordion player Netta Skog. Netta’s enthusiasm and smile were infectious and her constant interactions with the other bands members, particularly bassist Sami Hinkka, often ended hilariously or with an accordion solo.
“Two of Spades” is possibly the most ridiculously fun song the band have ever written putting everyone in a party mood, while “Twilight Tavern” remains a setlist staple for a reason as cheers of the track title filled the room. The encore had a few older tracks setting up the band to go out with a bang. “Into Battle” had the crowd frantically moving and, finally, the closer “Iron” saw the crowd singing along with the cheesy keyboards.