Despite their members young age, the Finnish group Ensiferum have born their folk-engraved death metal sword proudly and successfully since the mid-nineties.
The group was originally found by guitarist Markus Toivonen in 1995. At the time Markus played guitar in a cover band with his friend, drummer Kimmo Miettinen. Markus was hugely inspired by folk music and was also fascinated by melodic death metal bands like Amorphis and Dark Tranquillity. When Markus realized he couldnt quite fulfil his musical ambitions in a cover band, he asked Kimmo if hed want to play heroic, folkish death metal with him. Kimmo agreed and next asked their friend Sauli Savolainen to join and play the bass for their newly formed group. It could be said that the bands name came to Markus purely by accident: One day Markus was visiting Sauli and found a Latin dictionary lying on Saulis table. Markus casually opened the book, and on the first randomly picked page he noticed a strange word: Ensiferum. Markus found the word fascinating, and when he read the words meaning: sword-bearing, he decided to make it his bands name.
In late 1996 Markus lured Jari Mäenpää to join his band as a singer and as a second guitarist. Jaris musical talent was obvious from the very beginning and his musical ideas proved perfect for Ensiferums needs. Later Sauli was replaced by Kimmo Miettinens little brother, the then 14-year old Jukka-Pekka Miettinen. At the same time Ensiferum and Arthemesia traded drummers when Kimmo Miettinen quit Ensiferum and joined the ranks of Arthemesia and Arthemesias Oliver Fokin joined Ensiferum. With their new line-up settled Ensiferum recorded a couple of demo-tapes at the Finnish MD-Studios. Their third and last demo tape was recorded with the help of Janne Joutsenniemi (a member of Finnish metal groups Stone and Sub-Urban Tribe) and that demo finally received some eagerly awaited attention amongst record labels and landed them the deal with Spinefarm Records. The tape also brought the band tons of gigs, and was chosen as the demo of the month in many magazines.
Ensiferum recorded their self-titled debut album in late 2000 with recording engineer Tuomo Valtonen at the Finnish SundiCoop Studios. In the spring of 2001, at the same time as the album was mixed, keyboard player Meiju Enho joined Ensiferum and the band became a quintet. Ensiferum was released in July 2001 and the feedback was tremendous worldwide.
To record Iron Ensiferum travelled all the way to Copenhagens Sweet Silence studios in the summer of 2003. The reason for choosing a foreign studio was the studios owner, the famed producer Flemming Rasmussen, who has in the past recorded and produced such famed albums as Metallicas Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning. Iron was then recorded, produced and mixed by Rasmussen and mastered at Finnvox studios in Finland by Mika Jussila (Children of Bodom, Nightwish, Moonsorrow). After the recordings Ensiferum announced with a sad heart that their singer/guitarist Jari Mäenpää had made the decision of leaving the band. The search for a replacement was started immediately due to the bands busy touring schedule, and soon a new singer ws found in the form of Northers lead singer Petri Lindroos. The new frontman soon took over his duties when Ensiferum toured Europe with Finntroll and The Wake during the Spring of 2004.
Now Ensiferum is back with a vengeance, and ready to take over the whole folk metal scene! Arm yourself, put on your battle helmet, saddle your bravest horse and prepare yourself for THE metal album of 2004!