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Biography

Melodically inspired Helsinki Death Metal band ENSIFERUM started life in 1995, founded by the trio of DARK REFLECTIONS man Markus Toivonen on guitar, Sauli Savolainen on bass and DARK REFLECTIONS drummer Kimmo Miettinen. This trio commenced rehearsals during January 1996 at the Pasila Youthcenter in Helsinki. At the close of 1996 they were joined by Jari Mäenpää of IMMEMORIAL on guitar and vocals. ENSIFERUM put on an inaugural concert of sorts at their rehearsal rooms in December of that year. The gig comprised of just one song entitled 'Old Man'. However, Mäenpää's national service army duties stalled band progress for a while.

ENSIFERUM cut a debut three song demo, recorded at Kivi-Studios in November 1997. The following year Jukka-Pekka Miettinen stepped in as the new bass player and Oliver Fokin from ARTHEMESIA filled the drummer's role. Ironically Miettinen moved on to join ARTHEMESIA.

1999 witnessed two demo tapes, the latter of which was produced by Janne Joutsenniemi of SUB-URBAN TRIBE.This session secured a deal with the Spinefarm label for the debut 2001 album, recorded by Tuomo Valtonen in November 2000 at Sundi-Coop Studios in Savonlinna. Studio guests included FINNTROLL and BARATHRUM man Trollhorn on keyboards, Johanna Vakkuri with female vocals and Marita Toivonen on kantele. The band incorporated a fifth member, keyboard player Meiju Enho, upon completion of these sessions.

During 2001 Kimmo Miettinen enrolled into CADACROSS. He would soon be joined by Jukka-Pekka Miettinen, both maintaining their membership of ENSIFERUM. Upon completion of the Flemming Rasmussen produced 'Iron' album, recorded at Sweet Silence studios in Copenhagen, Denmark, ENSIFERUM severed ties with frontman Jari Mäenpää in January of 2004, the singer prioritising his side project WINTERSUN. Nevertheless, the band partnered with FINNTROLL for an extensive European tour in April, pulling in NORTHER's Petri Lindroos as session guitarist/vocalist. That same year Spinefarm Records included an exclusive ENSIFERUM track 'Tale Of Revenge' to their compilation album 'Spinetingler III'.

ENSIFERUM issued the single 'Tale Of Revenge', the B side of which included a cover version of METALLICA's 'Battery', as a taster for their new album 'Iron'. The record was recorded during the Summer of 2003 at Sweet Silence studios in Copenhagen, Denmark with producer Flemming Rasmussen. In October 2004 NORTHER's Petri Lindroos was announced as being a permanent member of the band, replacing Jari Mäenpää. More changes came in December when bassist Jukka-Pekka Miettinen, citing "personal reasons", exited. He would be swiftly replaced by Sami Hinkka. European touring in April 2005 had ENSIFERUM packaged with GRAVEWORM and COMMUNIC. Janne Parviainen of SINERGY, BARATHRUM (as 'Abyssir'), WALTARI, JIMSONWEED, ST. MUCUS and ZWANZINGER repute would temporarily be installed on drums but by September it was revealed this position had been made permanent.

The band was announced as engaged in the 'X-Mass Fest Part II' European tour, set to begin in early December and involving ENTHRONED, UNLEASHED, PRIMORDIAL and MORBID ANGEL. However, these dates would be pulled after UNLEASHED withdrew. Closing the year, the group put on a tenth anniversary celebration concert, taking place December 31st 2005 at the Nosturi venue in Helsinki. This show was filmed for the DVD release '10th Anniversary Live', which entered the Music DVD chart in their home country at number 2.

The band announced an EP release, entitled 'Dragonheads' and recorded at Sonic Pump studios in Helsinki, for early 2006 release. ENSIFERUM engaged in European touring in alliance with KNORKATOR, SPELLBOUND, NOISE FOREST and Israel's ORPHANED LAND during April and May. ENSIFERUM entered Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki during mid November with producer Janne Joutsenniemi to commence recording its third album, 'Victory Songs'.

A Finnish tour in January 2007 saw the temporary recruitment of Emmi Silvennoinen, of support band EXSECRATUS, on keyboards. The following month the 'One More Magic Potion' entered the Finnish charts at number one. 'Victory Songs' hit number six in March.

The 'Summer Slaughter' US festival tour commencing in June 2009 witnessed a package comprising co-headliners NECROPHAGIST and SUFFOCATION backed by ENSIFERUM, DARKEST HOUR, WINDS OF PLAGUE, DYING FETUS, BORN OF OSIRIS, ORIGIN, BENEATH THE MASSACRE, AFTER THE BURIAL, DECREPIT BIRTH and BLACKGUARD. The group subsequently put in further US headlining dates with support from HYPOCRISY, EX DEO and BLACKGUARD.

Drakkar released 'From Afar' in September. Limited edition versions hosted the extra track 'Vandraren'.

Garry Sharpe-Young

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