A melodic power/death/folk metal band delving into Viking legends for lyrical inspiration, Helsinki, Finland's Ensiferum (Latin for "sword bearer") had to continually coexist with various simultaneous metal projects undertaken by its members.
Founded in 1995 by guitarist Markus Toivonen, Ensiferum worked up a number of demo tapes before finally attracting the attention of Finland's powerhouse metal label Spinefarm, which released their eponymous debut in 2001. The sophomore Iron followed in 2004, and both albums featured vocalist Jari Mäenpää, bassist Jukka-Pekka Miettinen, keyboardist Meiju Enho, drummer Oliver Fokin, and of course Toivonen. Many of these were active in black/dark metal act Arthemesia at the same time, and Mäenpää subsequently announced his departure to start a new band called Wintersun. More lineup changes occurred before the release of the band's third LP, Victory Songs, in 2007. The following year saw Ensiferum headlining the Paganfest tour in Europe and North America, and in 2009 they released a new album, From Afar. 2012 saw the release of the group's fifth studio long-player, Unsung Heroes, and in 2015 the band issued their Metal Blade debut, One Man Army. In early 2017, the band issued the single "For Those About to Fight for Metal," in anticipation of the release of their seventh full-length outing, Two Paths, which arrived later that June. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi