First impression of the new Ensiferum album…? A thoroughly resounding “meh”. Two Paths is alright, but it’s definitely not Ensiferum’s best work and isn’t a satisfying listen. It’s disjointed, with no real direction to it, and doesn’t feature many songs that will stick in your mind.
I’d hoped it would be a grower, but after numerous listens my opinion is still the same and it’s disappointing because Ensiferum is definitely capable of better than this. Songs merge together, due to them sounding similar to one another, and whilst the album does see a few different vocal approaches to what one would typically ‘expect’ from the band, as a whole it just sounds tired and unengaging.
A song that does show a bit of promise, and stands out from the other more lacklustre album tracks, is God Is Dead. The accordion intro has a bit of a Turisas-esque vibe (no surprise there, considering it’s performed by Netta Skog!) and then the song descends into a faster pace that has a lot more momentum than previous tracks. Although some of the clean vocals leave a little bit to be desired, it’s certainly the standout song of Two Paths and it is a powerful song that should undeniably go down a storm with the band’s fanbase.
After enjoying Ensiferum so thoroughly at Nummirock, I had high hopes for the new album, but it seems like I was mistaken. Nevertheless, I’ll still be down at the front on their next UK tour to see how the songs translate in a live environment.