Ensiferum - what name would suit a band playing battle metal better, than a name that in Latin means "Swordbearer"?
After founding the band in 1995, Ensiferum's mastermind, guitarist/main songwriter/vocalist Markus Toivonen has taken the band safely through turmoils of line-up changes and busy schedules ever since. The band's career fully took flight in 2000 after Spinefarm Records released their self titled debut album 'Ensiferum', and their busy touring made them a household favourite all over Finland. Their second album 'Iron' took Ensiferum a step further, all the way to Copenhagen's Sweet Silence Studios. There in Denmark, during the Fall of 2003, their second album was recorded in the capable hands of producer Flemming Rasmussen, known for his work on such masterpieces as Metallica's 'Master of Puppets' and 'Ride the Lightning.'
'Iron' was a great success and grew the band's popularity to whole new heights. The album also got the band some extensive touring abroad, but these gigs finally took a toll on the band. 2004 saw three band members depart: drummer Oliver Fokin, bassist Jukka-Pekka Miettinen and vocalist Jari MÃ¤enpÃ¤Ã¤ (later known for his work with Wintersun). This was not the end of the world for the warriors of Ensiferum and mastermind Markus. Instead, new and capable musicians took their places. Bassist/vocalist Sami Hinkka, drummer Janne Parviainen (also known for his work on Waltari and Barathrum) and vocalist/guitarist Petri Lindroos all joined the ranks to finalise the new Ensiferum line-up.
The new line-up was tried and tested on the road touring all through 2005, and from the tour the members headed straight for the studio to make a new mini-album. This mini-CD, later titled 'Dragonheads', saw the band test their new growler Petri's vocals and their new bassist and drummer's skills in a recorded form. Such fun was had recording that the band did not stop with the mini-album, but also made a live DVD to honour their 10-year career. The "10th Anniversary Live" showed the new line-up playing hits from all Ensiferum albums, ranging from the earliest songs to the latest offerings of Dragonheads. Selling thousands of units worldwide, the DVD was the definitive proof that Ensiferum were as strong as ever.
In the end of 2006, Ensiferum took their gear to Helsinki's Sonic Pump Studios to record their third full-length album with producer Nino Laurenne. Metallic guitars combined with the traditional sounds of instruments as the Finnish kantele, bagpipes, nyckelharpa and bodhrans, the sound of 'Victory Songs' was a full, balanced mixture of folk, heavy and battle anthem-like power, accompanied by the gentle balance between Petri's growling vocals and Markus's and Sami's harmonised choruses.
'Victory Songs' was released during spring 2007 and right after the album release the band started their European tour, played several festivals and did a tour of Finland.
After the Summer Ensiferum again suffered a loss - the band's long-time keyboard player Meiju Enho decided to leave the band. A replacement was found in the form of Emmi Silvennoinen who has been playing with the band ever since.
More touring took place in the latter part of 2007, and the band stayed on the road for the whole of 2008, even playing their first ever tour in USA & Canada. Between the release of 'Victory Songs' and the beginning of 2009, the band embarked on 3 European tours, 3 North American tours and numerous festival shows around the world totalling 154 shows.
After being very busy writing and rehearsing new material in early 2009 Ensiferum entered studio Petrax (in Hollola, Finland) on the 13th of April to start the recordings of their fourth studio album with recorder/producer Tero Kinnunen (Nightwish, Amorphis etc.) and Janne Joutsenniemi (the producer of 'Victory Songs'). 'From Afar' was released in September 2009, with global touring to accompany.
In April 2012, the latest Ensiferum album 'Unsung Heroes' was completed. The album was mixed by Hiili Hiilesmaa (HIM, Sentenced, Amorphis etc.), with a release date set for August 24th 2012 in Finland and Germany. In September 2012, the band embarks on their Unsung Heroes Finland tour, followed by the Bearers of the Sword European tour. With more shows and tours to be announced in support of the new album, 2012 marks the beginning of a new era for Ensiferum.