Ensiferum

Vega, Copenhagen - 2018

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Upon returning to Denmark in support of their latest album, Two Paths, Ensiferum had downgraded the size of the venue they were visiting. This time around, they were placed in the small hall of Vega, a stage hardly set for a band of five boisterous Finns.

“Tonight, you will be our heathen horde!”
- Petri Lindroos (vocals/guitar)


But what was this? As Ajattomasta Unesta rang out through the speakers and the band took the stage, there were only four of them - no Netta Skog! Apparently she peacefully parted ways with the band back in December last year, and there are as of yet no plans for a replacement. Oh well…
The silver lining here would be that the four boys remaining in the band had a bit more space on the stage to play around on. And so they did - especially Markus Toivonen, who had a hard time suppressing a big smile throughout the show (or maybe, like some other Finns we know, smile upside down?), and Sami Hinkka, who as always is a powerbomb on the stage. Joke aside though, Toivonen looked like he was having a great time. Lindroos and Janne Parviainen on the other hand, took on the more serious roles, and seemed more concentrated on their playing than anything else. Lindroos and Toivonen took turns in speaking to the audience though, so don’t misinterpret it as them not being present. Lindroos even enticed a bit of extra support out of the local fan horde, as he casually mentioned that their flagship song, LAI LAI HEI, was recorded in Copenhagen (by Flemming Rasmussen at Sweet Silence Studios).

Despite the fact that the venue was a downgrade in size, and that the crowd had grown since the support band Ex Deo had finished their set, the small hall of Vega was still far from filled - odd with a band which’s as popular as Ensiferum, but it may have something to do with them playing on the same day as another metal show was taking place in Copenhagen. The local fandom is good, but it can hardly bear being split up like this.
That is not to say that those who had arrived weren’t enthusiastic about the concert - quite the contrary! The band didn’t have to contribute much, before the Copenhagen crowd was headbanging in the front, moshing in the middle, and singing and shouting along across the line! No doubt the old classics got most of the love, but there was plenty of love to the new songs as well, even if not all had learned the lyrics yet. Personally, I thought the picks from Two Paths were stylistically a bit conservative though, and I wouldn’t have minded if they’d included Don’t You Say in the set - musically a good party tune, and lyrically a fitting song for the road as well.

Then again, I’ve always been slightly ambivalent about Ensiferum. On album, I can take it or leave it - I don’t mind it, but it never really grabbed me either - but it doesn’t matter, as it is on stage they really come to life. Their good mood is infectious, and they play out some fun and seemingly improvised ideas - like the prolonged guitar solo outro for the show, where Lindroos said that if you give the guitarist a beer, he’ll play, something he backed up with pouring some beer down Toivonen’s throat, after which he began noodling away at his guitar. After a while it died down, there was a short break as more beer was gathered, poured in, and the solo continued. Basically, fun times all around, and yes, I quite enjoyed this concert. One more hit for these guys.

Setlist:

Ajattomasta Unesta
For Those About To Fight For Metal
Two Paths
Heathen Horde
King Of Storms
Wanderer
Twilight Tavern
Treacherous Gods
LAI LAI HEI
In My Sword I Trust
Tumman Virran Taa
The Longest Journey (Heathen Throne, Part II)
Way Of The Warrior
Into Battle
Iron

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