Turisas – Turisas2013
Written by Evan Barnes
I love history almost as much as I love metal. Doubly so when bands combine history WITH metal. Among the best I’ve heard at doing so are Falconer, Serenity, Sabaton, and of course, Turisas. Mind you, this isn’t the only thing that made Turisas a favorite of mine. Their brand of folky, bombastic symphonic metal has never failed to get me pumped up, and I would often listen to songs such as “Stand Up And Fight” and “To Holmgard And Beyond” before school or work. Unfortunately, this album is not those albums. What Turisas have given us here is, to put it bluntly, a steaming pile of artistically dubious crap.
To say that I am thoroughly unimpressed by this album would be a massive understatement. Gone are the days of vast orchestras and powerful choruses, the accordion mixed with the violin. Part of the problem appears to be lineup changes, as of course Turisas no longer has accordionist Netta Skog. She’s been replaced by keyboardist Robert Engstrand. But what of the bombastic folky orchestration? Did Turisas just forget a huge part of their identity? What orchestration is present is so artificial sounding (and low in the mix), they might as well have just left it out. The drums and layered vocals sound extremely thin as well. This is almost like a Mathias Nygard solo album, as he’s the only one that actually sounds good on here. Now that I think about it, this is the best explanation for that god-awful album artwork. The album name itself is symptomatic of their apparent lack of creativity and identity on this album. The few chances Olli Vänskä gets to shine are taken advantage of, as he performs well. Unfortunately, these cases are such a rarity that folks are unlikely to remember he’s in the band most of the time.
The compositions themselves are just so bland, it’s rarely even worth mentioning individual song names. Nevertheless, I will point out some of the hilariously bad ideas inserted into some of these tracks. Random female sex noises in “Run Bhang Eater, Run!”? Check. Chipmunks singing the chorus to “March Of The Varangian Guard” in “No Good Story Ever Starts With Tea?” What the hell was THAT, guys? Also, those lyrics are terrible. What ever happened to the days of “One More”? In fact, the lyrics throughout the whole album are terrible and uninspired. Disappointing, considering I loved the historically-themed lyrics of the past and the adventures of Hakon the Bastard.
For most other bands, I would just ignore this album. But not Turisas. This band can do a lot better. We’ve seen and heard them do a lot better. This album is so disappointing for me personally, precisely because I love Turisas so much. I consider them the best live band I’ve seen yet, and my top two sets are both Turisas sets. I truly hope they continue to play older stuff live, and don’t fill their setlists with this dung. Poor production, crappy songwriting, and detestable lyrics, and there’s nothing even really catchy here to make up for it all. The only redeeming qualities are Warlord’s vocals, and the fact that the closing track doesn’t utterly suck. I would not recommend this album to anyone.
1.0 // 5