Metalfest - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

My previous relationship with Ensiferum in a concert context can most easily be likened to a trip on a roller-coaster – for the longest time it was an uphill battle with equal parts excruciating mental anguish and an ever unfulfilled desire for it all to end, much like that first hill where you are pulled slowly towards the top.
But then, all of a sudden at our last concert with them, it was as if we had finally reached the summit, and what followed was a blissful and exciting full-speed ride!

Still high from this experience, as you often are, we went forth with high spirit when Ensiferum was about to take the stage at Metalcamp, hoping and believing that we were still on that first breath-taking slope of awesomeness.
Earlier in the day, there had been a meet&greet with the band in the signing tent, and if anything, this had with its long line of people shown that there was a genuine interest for the band here at Metalfest, and when we showed up at the main stage before the concert, the amount of awaiting fans had only increased! So far, things were shaping up nicely.
The band kicked off quickly, after an intro that is, with Twilight Tavern, and this got a lot of the fans shouting with excitement. Up on the stage, it was mostly bassist Sami Hinkka who provided some well-needed action for the show, but down in the crowd there was a steady stream of crowd-surfers, and a lot of enthusiastically nodding heads.
For the third song, Ahti, Petri Lindroos asked for a moshpit, and judging from the amount of dust filling the air when they began to play, I’d say he got his wish fulfilled in a big way! Also From Afar got a lot of love by the mosh-loving Germans, and LAI LAI HEY was getting warm applauds as well as hearty shouts.

Well, so much for the audience, but what about the band?
Sadly, apart from the aforementioned Hinkka, not a lot was happening up in the stage. Sure, they were all playing well enough and got the music across in a good way, but a performance was sorely missing. Standing in your place and occasionally headbanging doesn’t quit cut it in today’s tough competition, and this was definitely where Ensiferum fell behind and lost points.
The set seemed good with some very energetic songs, although apart from a few songs I do admit to not being all that familiar with the bands strengths, so whether or not this was a standard setlist or something out of the ordinary I cannot say.
I can say this however, and that was that the band introduced us to Burning Leaves – a song from their at the time still unreleased Unsung Heroes album. The style of it wasn’t all that surprising, but I especially appreciated the prominent piano melody and the clean singing part in Finnish.

It was not exiting enough to pull Ensiferum out of the slope they had now entered after the earlier shows full-speed onslaught. It was ok without being too inspiring, in the sense that I have seen both better and worse shows by the band.
I will probably stick around for another show or so by Ensiferum, because if my roller-coaster theory sticks, I’m interested in seeing how the loop will be...

Setlist (incomplete):

Twilight Tavern
Burning Leaves
From Afar

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