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Member since May 2011 · 2473 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Turisas' New Album: Stand Up and Fight
So Turisas is one of my favourite bands.  They just released a new album called Stand Up and Fight and it is...  interesting.

I have a theory about bands and albums: The first album sucks, as they're still finding their groove.  The second will be far better, combining the raw energy of a new band with additional skills, and I will like their music best at this time.  The next one however starts to go too far, and by the third (or sometimes fourth) album I have a hard time getting into their technically impressive but dense and awkward stuff.

X Japan did this: Blue Blood was brilliant, but Silent Jealousy had only one good track.  Def Leppard did this: Pyromania was awesome, but Hysteria was over-done synth rock and everything after that was bubble-gum, sweet for a moment then just annoying. 

[Image: http://nfgworld.com/grafx/Turisas.jpg]

Turisas just did that.  Stand Up and Fight is a wild ride, but between the gorgeous orchestra and pro chorus backup to their wonderful 'battle metal' there's too much trickery.  Lyrics are awkwardly sung into place and I can't help feel they utterly succeeded in progressing their music into places I cannot follow.

Two songs are staggeringly awesome, but I have to preface this recommendation with a caveat: I love the crap out of epic hymns and metal tales of conquest and adventure.  If you're not into anthem metal (as someone once described my tastes) then these tracks might sound cheesy and embarassing.

Well, they are.  But they're so much fun that I feel like laughing out loud and slapping people on the back, smashing tankards of ale together and smiling the night away.

Take the Day is classic Turisas, sounding a little like One More and Land of Hope and Glory.  It has a little bit of some 80s strident singing here and there (Rising! Fighting!) but the movie-soundtrack orchestra backing and Turisas' own hoarse vocals absolutely and totally work for me.  I get goosebumps when I play it loud.

Quote by Take the Day:
Scattered remains of our own troops, we meet as we advance:
"Turn around while you can fools, you won't stand a chance"
But deep within their eyes you see, hope mixed with respect
They're here, the men from beyond the sea, the fight is not over yet

And Hunting Pirates is an awkward but smashingly fun sea-shanty rhyme about soldiers of fortune and piracy on the high seas.  Many of the lyrics sound like they were desperately crammed into what is possibly the very best sea-faring metal music ever crafted, but the theme and final product absolutely resonate with me.

Quote by Hunting Pirates:
Slaying a man, taking what you can
What is right, what is wrong, who can answer?
Sailing the seas, we do just what we please
Emperors, pirates; all cancer

So yeah!  New Turisas, and it has two amazing songs on it.  I'll buy it.  I bought The Varangian Way for Holmgard alone, so two songs is like 100% more value!
BLEARGH
This post was edited 2 times, last on 2011-04-27, 08:56 by NFG.
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Member since May 2011 · 2473 posts · Location: Brisbane
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I've grown to like two other great songs on this album, The Great Escape and End of an Empire.  It took me a while to sync with these songs 'cause they sound so much like what I would imagine music sounded like when someone spends too much time on them, packing more and more complication into them until, to anyone not the composer, they become densely inscrutable works.  They remind me an awful lot of songs from a stage play, where good music is saddled with lyrics that follow a complicated plot.

But then, once you read the lyrics and understand what the song is about it all starts to make sense, and you're no longer swinging your long hair to a mindless metal beat, you're cheering the last viking captain as he escapes the bonds of his Roman employer.

The Great Escape is a tale about Harald, the last king of the vikings.  While fighting as part of Constantine's elite guard he was told about changes back in Norway that might lead to his crowning as king, so he and his men asked Constantine for permission to return home:

I'm needed elsewhere... No way, my troops I can not spare!
This seems quite unfair... Can't you hear? My answer is NO!

The song lurches from one style to another, all the while telling the story and, I have to say, entertaining the pants off me.  It's awesome.  I had a lot of fun tracking down the story they tell in this song, since they did not mention Harald himself, only the supporting characters.  The Wikipedia article is dense but interesting reading:

Quote by Wikipedia:
Sometime in 1042, Harald requested permission from the emperor to return to his homeland, but it was denied. "Nonetheless", remarks Kekaumenos, "he secretly escaped and ruled over the land instead of his brother [Olaf]".

End of an Empire is a similarly fractured song with several styles and speeds and levels of intensity, but it captures the imagination with its tale of a conquering and collapsing empire, backed up by a powerful chorus that makes my skin tingle.

The lyrics could best be described as tortuous, and it speaks to the good parts of the song that the rough patches are eminently tolerable 'cause they build expertly to the good bits. 

Open your eyes
Yourself apprise
All empires find their demise
The taller they are, the harder they fall
The snowball
Is on the roll

Click the song titles to download the MP3, give 'em a listen, and let me know what you think.


I found this review that echoes my sentiments nicely:

The melodies and the orchestrations shine and the songs, while having some questionable lyrical content (“What is this? And take a look at all these fish!”) and grammatical structures (“How can this they allow?”), are still fun as hell.

[...]

...but it took me a long damn time to get into it. I’m writing this almost 2 months after I received the album and I am now really starting to really appreciate it.
BLEARGH
This post was edited on 2011-05-23, 11:44 by NFG.
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