Turisas - Turisas2013
Century Media
Folk/Heavy/Symphonic Metal
9 songs (41:48)
Release year: 2013
Turisas, Century Media
Reviewed by Aleksie
Finland’s folk/power fusionists Turisas had upgraded their symphonic credentials at a steady pace from their debut up to 2011’s Stand Up And Fight. On that album, I even felt that their bombastic tendencies might’ve gotten even a little overboard. I personally still love the record, but also acknowledge that those looking for more metal and less string/choir-led bombast might’ve been left out at that stop. It may be that those fans are given another chance on Turisas2013, even though this doozy is no back-to-the-roots metalizing affair either. Lots of versatility to be found.

Very soon it should be evident that the new album is a relatively stripped-down, more straightforward piece of work. Yes, there are still choirs, booming chimes and the like creating more epic atmospheres, but much more focus has been placed on the core of guitars, bass, drums…and of course the violin, given that we’re talking about Turisas. Olli Vänskä’s electric solos are still a very welcome addition to the band’s heavy mixture. Another fresh element has arisen as a result of one of the recent line-up changes. When accordionist Netta Skog left the group two years ago, the instrument never returned. Instead, its role is being handled by new keyboard player Robert Engstrand. This leads to an understandably less vintage and a slightly more futuristic sound, especially in the keyboard solos such as the one found in the driving, catchy rocker For Your Own Good.

In terms of the tunes, the aforementioned opener is followed by a multitude of styles. Run Bhang-Eater, Run and No Good Story Ever Starts with Drinking Tea make some fiercely rapid statements about the band’s current directions. The latter even feels like hardcore pogoing combined with a reveling drinking song. Greek Fire is a decidedly weighty pounder, surely one of the outright heaviest grinders the band has ever done. It does prove that the group can still excel at mid-tempo levels as well. Those who loved the grandiose nature of The Varangian Way and Stand Up And Fight should be most at home with the galloping album closer We Ride Together, which provides insanely infectious, synth-horn laden choral parts. Don’t hold the rare, slightly country-laced guitar parts against them – the song still rocks hard in spite of them.

On the inferior side, The Days Passed feels like a B-side left off of Stand Up And Fight that yearns for those same mighty heights but just couldn’t quite cut it. Ten More Miles, one of the early samples from this record, also leaves me cold no matter how it tries and tries to bring the folky vibes. The production job, while well-balanced and roaring on occasion, tries to compliment the material by being a little bit more raw and rough around the edges. I’m sure some can appreciate such an approach for what it is, but personally, I’ll take the more grandiose production sheen any day.

Overall, Turisas must be commended for their courage in expanding their horizons. Critics of Stand Up And Fight were also quick to note that they felt not much innovation was at hand compared to The Varangian Way. More of the same high-powered metal churning, just refined and amped up. Turisas2013 certainly breaks away from that mold and it is up to the listener to decide if improvement has been achieved. To me, I feel the same kinda change happening here that happened with Blind Guardian from A Night At The Opera to A Twist In The Myth. Not saying that those albums bare direct resemblances to where Turisas is at, but the shift at hand makes me feel the same as it did with Blind Guardian between those two albums. I recognized the innovation but I was not completely on board with the changes. This record proves that Turisas has the balls to venture forward with their sound while producing mediocre-to-great results. The new touches reach from different middle eastern flavours to groovy riffage, providing a very wide range. This package is a challenge and time will tell whether this album can still grow and will they capture a similar yet different level of awesomesauce in the future from the kind that they did on The Varangian Way and Stand Up And Fight.
Killing Songs :
For Your Own Good, Greek Fire, No Good Story Ever Starts with Drinking Tea & We Ride Together
Aleksie quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Turisas that we have reviewed:
Turisas - Stand Up And Fight reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 93 / 100
Turisas - The Varangian Way reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 92 / 100
Turisas - Battle Metal reviewed by Jack and quoted 85 / 100
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