At first I didn’t know what to make of Turisas. I’d heard the name, but never the music. That is until my friend Ebony in L.A. recommended I check out their 2011 album Stand Up and Fight just a few months ago. I knew I’d like this band halfway through the first song, so that was a good call. Fast forward to today, and I’ve got just-released new album Turisas2013 in my hands (Century Media). It’s different from Stand Up, but that’s ok. Bands need to evolve with each record; I’m a big believer in that. Labeled “Battle Metal”, folk metal, power metal, and God-knows-what-else, I’ll just stick with Battle Metal, ‘cause let’s face it, that’s pretty badass, no?
Opening track “For Your Own Good” is very rock opera-esque, and when it kicks into high gear it stands, along with “Ten More Miles” as one of the album’s best. In fact, “Miles” seems like a song ancient warriors would sing around the fire at basecamp after a hard day of battle during a campaign. “Piece By Piece” features some killer double bass action, and again conjures images of a glorious battlefield with blood everywhere. I can almost hear the “clang! Clang!” of the swords.
“Into the Free” is reminiscent of early Helloween (always a plus with me!), and was another favorite 10 seconds in. Which brings me to “Run Bhang-Eater, Run!” With a rather Middle Eastern-sounding intro that continues throughout the song, I didn’t know what to make of it at first. Especially at the 1:15 mark, where the song just about stops and we are treated to some gal moaning in the throes of passion, before picking up speed again, singer Mathias Nygård growling throughout. Then it slows again for the ending. Very strange at first listen.
“Greek Fire” stays in more traditional power metal territory, with churning riffs and what sounds like choirs at times, while “The Days Passed” has a total 80’s feel to it, synth and all. Winning!!! Loved it! The sheer humor of “No Good Story Ever Starts With Drinking Tea” will have you raising your flagons of mead or ale long into the night as well, and the solo on this one is strong, albeit brief. Closer “We Ride Together” is my overall favorite, though. The best of the best, if you will. The trumpet sounds, the snare drum starts out with a marching beat, and then the whole thing comes crashing down and takes off at a gallop! It’s one big battle anthem, and I envision crowds singing along to every word at upcoming Turisas shows.
Like I said before, Turisas2013 is different from their previous works, but I think in many ways, it’s an improvement. It’s got all the classic storytelling elements: action, comedy, suspense, and violence, and overall feels quite like a film. I highly enjoyed this one.