Ensiferum - Unsung Heroes
24 August 2012

Disc I
01. Symbols
02. In My Sword I Trust
03. Unsung Heroes
04. Burning Leaves
05. Celestial Bond
06. Retribution Shall Be Mine
07. Star Queen (Celestial Bond Part II)
08. Pohjola
09. Last Breath
10. Passion, Proof, Power
11. Bamboleo [Gipsy Kings cover] [deluxe edition bonus]

Disc II [DVD] [deluxe edition bonus]
+ From Symbols To Passion: The Making Of Unsung Heroes
+ Studio Diary: Week 1-7

It looks like Ensiferum, it sounds like Ensiferum, but is this actually Ensiferum? Unsung Heroes is an extremely puzzling album in that the aspects of what made Ensiferum one of the top folk metal bands are sparse or blatantly missing here. The album largely lacks pace, excitement, the epic chorus' we grew to love - more than anything, it lacks spirit.

Most people will have seen the results of drugs on the ability of spiders to make webs. While still capable of crafting their webs, the resulting webs vary in their levels of integrity. Some will look more web-like than others, some will still function as webs, but others are a messy mish-mash of uncoordinated silk incapable of fulfilling its purpose.

Unsung Heroes looks and sounds like an Ensiferum album, but like a web spun on caffeine there is something majorly wrong. The band's cogs remain unchanged since the last album, they are all still competent and capable in their musical positions, but the process within which the songs and album have been spun together has not been a successful one. Unsung Heroes comes with no obvious explanation, the band are still capable of producing their silk, but it has come together all wrong on this album resulting in a mish-mash of absolute mediocrity.

Over an hour long, the album feels like hard work to push through. Opening song "In My Sword I Trust" is one of the more traditional Ensiferum-type songs, albeit with an uncomfortable and uncharacteristic slower pace. The majority of the album continues at the same pace, but while still recognisably Ensiferum, it is missing the enthusiasm, the energy, sparkle and vibrancy of every other Ensiferum release.

"Pohjola" is one of the album's few highlights with its long chorus, and surprisingly the seventeen-minute "Passion Proof Power" is the other main highlight showcasing some superb progressive touches within a song that naturally feels at home with a slower pace. These two songs certainly end the album on a better note, perhaps the effect of the caffeine wearing off by this point.

Above everything else, Unsung Heroes is underwhelming. It lacks the band's imagination and spirit, and fails to capture the listener in any positive way. An hour after it started, you'll be left with little or no desire to waste another of your hours on this. Like the failed webs, Unsung Heroes is a botched job and will inevitably be left to gather some at the back of the shelf itself.


Folk metal
Spinefarm Records
Length: 1:01:31

Performance: 7
Songwriting: 4
Originality: 5
Production: 9

Band profile: Ensiferum
Album: Unsung Heroes


Written on 27.08.2012 by
Baz Anderson
Member of Staff since 2006.
More reviews by Baz Anderson ››

Guest review by

I, like most Ensiferum fans, was rather disappointed upon initially hearing the band's 2012 effort Unsung Heroes. The album's pacing was much slower than the much-heralded From Afar, the atmosphere rather mellow in comparison to their other works and the sense of composition more subdued and subtle. As most metal listeners know, the first few listens of an album can be deceiving; I mean, after all, how many of us truly wrapped our heads around Opeth's Blackwater Park the first time we listened to it? I don't mind spending some time with the albums I have at my disposal and giving Unsung Heroes a number of listens has proven to be one of the greatest rewards this habit has given me as of late. Unsung Heroes is, for all intents and purposes, quite unsung (no pun intended, of course).

published 09.08.2013 | Comments (6)

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Dinruth - 03.09.2012 at 23:08  
Even though I don't agree with the review, the comparison between the album and spiderwebs that were made on drugs is brilliant
Ellrohir - 03.09.2012 at 23:19  
Written by Dinruth on 03.09.2012 at 23:08

the comparison between the album and spiderwebs that were made on drugs is brilliant

the question now is, which kind of drug it was

Mr. Doctor - 04.09.2012 at 11:28  
Written by Ellrohir on 03.09.2012 at 23:19

Written by Dinruth on 03.09.2012 at 23:08

the comparison between the album and spiderwebs that were made on drugs is brilliant
the question now is, which kind of drug it was

They are definitely the crack's spider's bitch.
fade - 06.09.2012 at 08:46  
Nice review Baz, and correct. I like what I have heard and while I realize not every album will hit the nail on the head of brilliance we still must find the bright spots and support what we like. After all these years we are all older and I like to think musically wiser too.. bawls am I stoned? All I know is I only played this album on my trail run last week and it repeated 4 times...needless to say at the end of my four hour run I was singing... "In my Sword I Trust."

I still wish Petri was still with Norther, but this is another story for another day...

AngelofDeth - 07.09.2012 at 19:54  
Written by fade on 06.09.2012 at 08:46

while I realize not every album will hit the nail on the head of brilliance we still must find the bright spots and support what we like.

The problem is that the bright spots and dark spots are in the same songs. If there were good songs and bad songs its much easier to pluck out and salvage a few songs from an album. But here if you wanna get to that one or two good melodies in a song you gotta bear through all the boring watered down crap to get to there. its the same problem with Khaos Legions.

Not worth it in my opinion.
Stabby - 08.09.2012 at 20:41  
Kind of a soft album, and it's missing the great songwriting of previous albums. What's the Finnish word for "Couch-sitter"? Maybe they should change their name to that.
Mugthulhu - 08.09.2012 at 20:51  
It's a good album. I think it's a good thing that it's different from the other ones. Bands who make the same album over and over again tend to get boring, and Ensiferum is clearly not one of these bands.
Stabby - 08.09.2012 at 22:17  
Written by Guest on 08.09.2012 at 20:52

Written by Stabby on 08.09.2012 at 20:41

What's the Finnish word for "Couch-sitter"?


Sohva = Sofa/Couch | Peruna = Potato


Hail Sohvaperuna!
BORT - 08.09.2012 at 23:18  
Great album but the last two songs Passion, Proof, Power and Bamboleo could have been left off the album. Or just shorten Passion, proof, power to not include that awful break in the song at the 12 minute mark.

I also found this album to be more folky similar to the first album with the mixture of electric guitars, acoustic guitars and clean vocals.
JohnnyMetalDrums - 13.09.2012 at 20:24  
Like most I was also disappointed in Unsung, but it's not terrible. Burning Leaves is my favorite track, but like the review says.. the album in it's entirety lacks the "grab your axe, beer and lets fight!" attitude.
Wes - 19.09.2012 at 05:10  
Have to agree with this review. Thanks.
Kingface - 21.09.2012 at 15:56  
Personally I think Ensiferum were overdue trying something different and the result is a positive and relevant one in my opinion.
Sacred Viking - 02.10.2012 at 15:42  
I like new album!
Kuroboshi - 29.11.2012 at 11:36  
Very nice review Baz. I like the metaphor with the spiders. However, to me it doesn't even sound like Ensiferum! I loathe the production, the slow pace, the extremely weak vocals. Just down the drain with this one. It actually sounds like metal gone Hollywood. Soooo safe and trying-to-please.

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