Written by Kirsti Heitz
ENSIFERUM w/ SEPTICFLESH and ARSIS
@ Opera House
January 10, 2019
Toronto, ON, Canada
Presented by Inertia Entertainment
It was a fittingly chilly night for Finnish folk metallers, Ensiferum, to bring their Path To Glory tour to Toronto. However, no one would leave the Opera House feeling cold as the jam-packed venue had fans warm and toasty, thanks to the dedicated moshers and headbangers. Unfortunately, I didn't make it in time for Virginia based extreme metallers Arsis, but from what I heard, their set was short and sweet. The perfect prep to get fans hyped up for the evening.
With an impressive set-up, a theatrical back drop and flair for drama, Septicflesh gifted Toronto fans once again with their heavy yet melodic tunes. This Greek band seriously knows how to command a room and reminds me of ensembles like Behemoth and Fleshgod Apocalypse. Decked out in leather armour, a brooding backdrop and the chill of winter in the air, Septicflesh’s set was particularly brutal in all the best ways.
However, the reason most of us truly came out tonight was to get our folk-on with the high-energy Finns, Ensiferum. This band takes me back to the good old days when Toronto would host its annual Pagan Fest, and Torontonians would use the excuse to dress up in furs, kilts, face paint and all the things you can’t really get away with unless its Halloween. I was glad to see that even after eight years, this band does not disappoint. Whether you’re a fan of the more symphonic genres or you enjoy some hardy thrash, metallers alike unite under the Ensiferum banner to get rowdy.
I love a band that acknowledges their female fan base, and Ensiferum does it in such an “Ensiferum” way by calling the crowd their “brothers and sisters” throughout the night. Though there was a noticeable lack of estrogen on the stage with former accordion player Netta Skog having retired from the ensemble, I was a little disappointed to see that they did not find a replacement. I don’t know if it was the live accordion, or the fact that the band has (mostly) always had a female member, but I felt like there was just a little something missing from their performance.
Regardless, the Finns more than made up for it with a captivating performance which including hitting timeless songs like “The Wanderer” and “Twilight Tavern,” which had fans jumping and singing from the front of the venue all the way to the bar at the back. I found it charming that the band requested that all female fans sing out the pre-chorus of “Twilight Tavern,” since I’m pretty sure it’s sung by children on the original track. During “Lai Lai Hei,” Torontonians were able to try out their Finnish as fans sang out the track which has a mixture of both English and Finnish. The chorus was extended longer than normal to allow fans to truly get all their singing out so we would be able to make it to the next Ensiferum concert.
Though they did suffer a bit of technical difficulties, no one cared thanks to a cover of "Enter Sandman" that started off as a distraction until the band got really into it. With a high energy performance, a few covers ("Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Ace Of Spades"), and a happy birthday song dedicated to Petri Lindroos, Ensiferum brought down the house and had fans completely forgetting the frigid weather that was howling outside. Make sure to check out Ensiferum when they hit your hometown!
Markus Toivonen - Guitars & clean vocals
Petri Lindroos - Harsh vocals & guitars
Sami Hinkka - Bass & clean vocals
Janne Parviainen - Drums
Label: Metal Blade Records
Spiros Antoniou - Lead vocals & bass
Sotiris Vayenas - Guitars & backing vocals
Christos Antoniou - Lead guitars
Kerim Lechner - Drums
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
James Malone - Lead vocals & rhythm guitars
Noah Martin - Bass & backing vocals
Shawn Priest - Drums
Brandon Ellis - Lead guitars
Label: Nuclear Blast Records