2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A refreshing new sound for an epic band., 28 Oct 2009
Having discovered this new album almost by chance(was looking to buy some of their older albums) I immediately decided it would be an insult to the norse gods not to buy it! After an initial listen through I was amazed and slightly stunned by modest changes and nuances that had been wrought upon this much loved band.
It starts off with a reasonably long instrumental intro track to get the ball going. Ok I thought...this sounds Ensiferum-ish enough. I like it. Then, just over 3 minutes later you are dumped smack bang in the middle of a variety of sounds. Overall there is that signature Ensiferum quality that one just can't help but grin at, but, what's this I hear? Could that possibly be trumpets? Indeed, and many other instruments that, dare I say, I expect to find in a Within Temptation album. You know what though? It works. Classic heavy Ensiferum sounds have been fused wonderfully with the harmonious orchestral instruments to create a new and refreshing tone which, I dearly hope, they stick with from now on. This truly is music that you can headbang to. Just don't do it whist using a X-trainer like I did. Seriously, you might hurt yourself. :)
The lengths of the tracks are very good too; ranging from 3:50(By The Dividing Stream) to the two parter 'Heathen Throne' pieces that are 11:09 and 12:52 respectively. They may be longer than the norm, but I assure you, you will be entranced all the way through.
The final point to note is the presentation of it all. Some people consider this quite important, so I'll make you happy by saying a few words. I got the 'special edition' version, which I'm assuming is what most of you lot have/ will be buying(yes, you will! :P) The hardback book stlye case is covered with lavish artwork of the classic Ensiferum-warrior-walking-or-standing-around. It's lovely, seriously. Open it up and you are gazing upon a series of pages featuring the band members, their role in the band and what instruments they use. The songs and the lyrics are listed chronologically too so if, like me, you fancy to sing along to your favourite ones you may do so. All in all the case is a sturdy piece of workmanship and should stand the test of time, unlike Jari Mäenpää Oh, too soon? Sorry, I'm just still waiting for his next album...
OK so, conclusion then. Well, I think From Afar brings about a new era for Ensiferum and it is certainly a most welcoming departure from the rest of their discography. Even if you are not a big fan of them I urge you to give this a try because you might just like this new sound. Go on. Highly recommended...and you'll be pleasing the Gods :)