Finnish folk metal trailblazers Ensiferum are releasing their eighth album ‘Thalassic’ on July 10th 2020 via Metal Blade Records which is their first themed album and first to feature new member, keyboard player/lead clean vocalist Pekka Montin, both of which pave the way to this being their most ambitious and exciting release yet.
We had a chat with guitarist and vocalist Petri Lindroos to find out more about the upcoming release, what it is like to release a new album during the Covid 19 crisis and the uncertain times and future of live shows and music…
So what have you been up to during the lockdown/covid crisis to pass time?
I have been playing a lot of guitar and playing a lot of Xbox and an infinite amount of Netflix, I think that rule applies to pretty much everybody at the moment.
What games are you playing at the moment?
Right now I’m playing Ghost Recon Breakpoint, it is good.
First just going back to the beginning, how did you first get into metal and what are your main musical influences?
This was somewhere early nineties I guess…a friend of mine was showing me Slayer ‘Seasons in the Abyss’ and especially the song ‘Skeletons Of Society’ and we were digging that one and then there was also Vio-lence and later of course came Metallica and Megadeth and you name it, any classic heavy metal album of that time and well that’s how I got into heavy metal.
So your new album Thalassic is released 10th July and due to the coronavirus you are doing an online live stream show on release day to mark this, what can fans expect from this special show and how are you feeling about this?
Yeah its definitely going to be a weird one because we have never performed in front of cameras before, only when filming a music video but that’s a whole different type of situation altogether so it might feel a little bit awkward at least for the band because we kind of don’t know what to do about it that much but we will do our best to manage and we are also going to have a couple of chat sessions with fans so we will try and answers as many questions as we can so that’s the idea of what we have so far.
I’m guessing you are doing a mix of new and old songs?
How did you arrive at the title ‘Thalassic’ which translated from ancient Greek as “of or relating to seas”?
Yes it does, since this is the first theme album of Ensiferum’s history so the idea came from our bass player Sami Hinkka who came up with theme and lyrics concerning the whole album. I think it was a good time for us to kick this nest open and figure out that we are able and capable of this kind of album.
Following on from that, what made you decide to have a theme this time around and how did that affect the song writing process?
Well Sami Hinkka already started to prepare for this album around two years ago, checking out ideas and myths and historical events to start work with so he has been very busy. The idea at first sounded kind of weird as never did it before but it turns out to be a very cool one, I like it…I like it a lot.
I know Sami wrote the lyrics but your latest single and video for Andromeda is based on the character in Greek mythology, do you know what inspired him particularly about this myth to write a song about?
No I do not know as because I never asked, Sami plays his cards close to the chest when it comes to the lyrics, he is never actually opening too much about it since he wants the listener to be relating to the lyrics in their own way but of course Andromeda is already an existing story so if you know it you know it, if you don’t you might not get the point.
Check out the video for ‘Andromeda’:
The album artwork is epic, can you tell us a bit about how that came together and who designed it?
We just knew we wanted some kind of sea monster like thing on the cover and we gave these directions to Gyula Havancsák he also made previous two album covers for us, he is very talented man on this kind of work and he definitely delivered an album cover that we loved.
How would you say the addition of your new keyboard player/lead clean vocalist Pekka Montin has influenced the new album and dynamics?
Well I think the biggest influence you can hear on the clean vocal parts, he made a huge effort on those vocals and we are more than satisfied to his performance and he totally opened up a lot of new doors for Ensiferum’s music, how it sounds with his voice and that was the biggest thing that we wanted from this man and he completely delivered that.
Do you think future release will explore more themes or concepts also?
Hard to say, now that the door is open we can always walk through it…why not you know, there’s endless possibilities now that the door is open, we just need to pick a subject to follow and go with but we have not spoken about the next album as this new album is not even yet out…we are moving slow right now but yeah the chance is always existing.
You must be so excited to return to normal live concerts which is looking like next year at this point, I believe you have some festivals already booked in for 2021? Hopefully a headline tour next year also?
Yeah we basically only have the shows that are confirmed for next year which are festival shows from this year that got postponed onto 2021 so these are in the books but otherwise we got nothing. It is impossible to say at this point how things are going to look at the end of this year and early next year, is there going to be anything actually happening or not.
Do you think following your live event for the album release if it goes well, you might do some more live steam events in the meantime?
Yeah, absolutely we will see how the first one goes and hopefully it will be somewhat of a great success of course and yeah why not do another one later on this year and figure out some cool view to that show and why not since we got no shows so we got to organise them ourselves right now, of course this is also a cool because people can see live and it isn’t specifically pinpointed to a venue or country so everybody can see this one so that’s the good point of it.
Thinking back a bit now, what have been some of your highlights as a band?
There are quite a few highlights but right now since we are not playing any shows at all, I could say that every single show we have ever played has been a highlight! It would be just so awesome to actually be on a stage playing in front of live audience.
How does it feel being pioneers in folk metal?
I don’t know, it sounds so weird, we are just a bunch of dudes who make music that we really like to do and of course it feels very awesome and we are honoured to hear this kind of words every single time and hopefully we can keep this kind of stuff up, keep the standards high and keep people happy.
With everything still up in the air, what do you think the rest of 2020 will look like for you as a band and for the metal scene in general?
Well after July 10th basically our summer is summed up at that point then we can kind of start doing whatever we want, taking holidays that we haven’t had for a very long time as every time its summer its festival season, so usually only like few weekends here and there where can go to a summer camp, bbq and parties with friends and stuff so right now we have time to do that so we are going to kick back and enjoy the summer off from shows and get recharged really well and once we get back on the road we are going to kick some serious ass! Also bands are working on new material as they can fully concentrate on that as no shows interfering with schedules and stuff so I guess we can await a lot of new music coming out at the end of this year and early next year as there’s a lot of bands working on music. Also I think its not so bad for fans not being able to go to a bunch of festivals, they can enjoy a proper summer holiday and not spend it in a rainy tent in the mud, they can take a summer off live music events and hopefully people can then appreciate live shows a lot more when we get those back.
Is there anything else you would like to share or add?
Please do check out all the possible options of shopping for the ‘Thalassic’ album, it’s out on vinyl, CD and digital downloads from Metal Blade Records and also just take care, stay safe and enjoy your summer and hopefully we can see you as soon as we can.
‘Thalassic’ is out 10th July 2020 via Metal Blade Records.
Check out our review of the new album ‘Thalassic’ here: https://darkartconspiracy.com/2020/07/03/review-ensiferum-thalassic/