Turisas – Turisas2013

TURISAS_2013_A_w_tex

Century Media Records

Review by Suzi H

Turisas burst onto the metal scene in 2004 with the release of Battle Metal,  and a 2006 UK tour supporting Lordi brought them to my attention. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve thought they were a band of sheer genius since that night, and even though they were the support act, they more than eclipsed their headlining fellow countrymen. Subsequent releases in the shape of The Varangian Way and Stand up and Fight solidified their position as masters of the concept album, and leaders of the folk/battle metal genre.

Mathias promised fans that Turisas 2013 was going to be a different sort of album for the band and that they had been experimenting with new sounds, and I have to admit this made me very nervous. Coming hard on the heels of the also experimental Hail to the King from Avenged Sevenfold, I was a bit concerned that this meant they were about to release something that wouldn’t quite be up to scratch.

I shouldn’t have doubted the warriors from Hämeenlinna- from it’s dramatic opening with For your own Good , Turisas 2013 is a perfect follow-up to their previous work and while it does include new sounds- there’s some more typically progressive guitar riffs in the opening track as an example– in no way are you left uncertain that this is a Turisas album through and through.

Ten More Miles brings fans a typically epic song with plenty of opportunities to stamp, fist pump and chant alongside a gorgeously melodic tune, and some brilliantly motivating lyrics alongside heavy thrash riffs. Things continue to just get better and better moving into Piece by Piece, which features more of the heavy guitars and is another track I can see being a big favourite with the live crowds.

Piece By Piece reminds me more of previous Turisas tracks than anything else on the album, with a tune reminscient of The Varangian Way . It still feels fresh though, and is followed by the again typically Turisas-sounding ‘Into the Free’. Don’t be followed into thinking you’re getting just another Battle Metal though- and as if to make sure you don’t fall into the trap along comes Run Bhang-Eater, Run which features snake-charming pipe music, and hints of shopping-in-the-souk alongside Mathias’ screaming vocals. It even features a bizarre jazzy solo in the middle and some quite frankly pornographic moaning.  A little bizarre, but a good track nonetheless.

Greek Fire follows and is again a departure from the normal Turisas sound, with more thrash guitars accompanying some rather melodic vocals. The Days Passed  is almost a ballad until you reach the point where Mathias starts screaming, and I’m sure it has a synth in the background, and then we move into the rather amusingly titled No Good Story Ever Starts with Drinking Tea – a glorious ode to booze and the mad party .

The album finishes with We Ride Together and what a finish it is. By the end of my first listen through, I was inwardly cheering and the first thing I did was go and find out how soon I could see them live again (9th October, at O2 Academy Islington).  It’s clear that in the making of this album the band were listening to some 80’s heavyweights and I detected the influence of Alice Cooper, Anthrax and hints of Pantera and Metallica, as well as elements very reminiscent of the more recent Nightwish and Within Temptation, but it doesn’t feel like they’ve copied any of those bands – more that they’ve fused elements that make me love those bands, with what I love about Turisas to create something utterly brilliant.

Rating: *****/5

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