Ensiferum kicked off the first concert of 2019 for us as we were at their show on January 6th at New York City’s Irving Plaza with Septicflesh and Arsis. While we saw Septicflesh last March and Arsis’ trek this past summer, this was Ensiferum’s first North American run in nearly four years. These Finnish folk metal giants have finally returned to North America for their Two Paths of Glory tour as they continue to celebrate the release of 2017’s Two Paths (Metal Blade).
The evening began with the Virginia Beach tech melodic death metal outfit Arsis as they were there to support their first album in five years with Visitant, which was released in November 2018 via Nuclear Blast. The group presented an ample amount of energy on the surprisingly bright-lit stage as the crowd instantly caught on by forming a circle pit from the get-go. While the group went into “Tricking the Gods” and “Hell Sworn” from their latest effort, they also mixed things up by playing a few older tracks including “Handbook for the Recently Deceased,” “We Are the Nightmare,” and “The Face of my Innocence.”
Next up was the Greek symphonic death metal outfit Septicflesh as the crowd chanted for the band to begin. Despite seeing them roughly ten months ago as well as presenting a similar setlist, their performance was more engaging than last. The band continued to support 2017’s Codex Omega as frontman/bassist Spiros Antoniou maintained his signature greeting with “Hello my friends!” The band as a whole carried on to metaphorically present the depths of Hades as each song felt like a new beginning due to the grand entrances. As expected, the songs consisted of the band’s second chapter with anything from 2008’s Communion or later with tracks: “Portrait of a Headless Man,” “The Vampire from Nazareth,” “Martyr,” “Prototype,” “Pyramid God,” “Enemy of Truth,” “Anubis,” and “Dark Art.” Shortly after this tour, on February 2nd, Septicflesh will have the biggest show of their career at the Metropolitan Theater in Mexico City as they will perform with a full orchestra consisting of over 100 musicians.
Four years can feel like a lifetime for some and four minutes for others. However, in this case, Ensiferum knew a near 1460 day return was too long as they had to present the audience with a phenomenal setlist. On the other hand, it’s difficult to remember if the group ever performed anything less than remarkable. With that being said, these Finnish folk metallers killed it between engaging the crowd by bassist Sami Hinkka’s (bass) bold expressions, guitarist Markus Toivonen’s enigmatic style, and Petri Lindroos’ abrasive vocal delivery. The setlist itself was impressive as not only did they support 2017’s Two Paths with songs “For Those About to Fight for Metal,” and “Two Paths,” they also brought 2015’s One Man Army with “Heathen Horde,” “Warrior Without a War,” and Two of Spades.” With only five tunes from two of their latest efforts, the group knew exactly what the fans wanted to hear as they gave them everything from 2001’s self-titled debut, 2004’s Iron, and more with “Twilight Tavern,” “Treacherous Gods,” “Lai Lai Hei,” “From Afar,” “Wanderer,” “Way of the Warrior,” “Guardians of Fate,” “In My Sword I Trust,” and “Iron.” Shortly after the tour wraps up, the group will embark on the 70000tons of Metal Cruise that will give 3,000 people two more chances to see them live on this run.
Overall, the evening was diverse as each act presented a different style while everyone in the packed house remained attentive for each. It’s safe to say; this show was an excellent 2019 concert kick-off.
Remaining Tour Dates:
1/14 Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room
1/15 Denver, CO @ Oriental Theater
1/17 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
1/18 Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
1/19 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
1/20 Oakland, CA @ Metro Opera House
1/21 Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent
1/22 Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
1/23 El Paso, TX @ Rockhouse Bar & Grill
1/24 Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar & Grill
1/25 Austin, TX @ Come and Take it Live!
1/26 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
1/28 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade (Hell)
1/29 Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum