Turisas – Turisas2013 Review

To say that Turisas2013 is a strange one is a bit of an understatement. Although I would definitely describe this album as a ‘grower’, it is by no means their best release and I have to admit that upon my first listen, not a single track stood out to me. A few more listens later just to make sure, I did manage to connect with a couple of songs but the fact of the matter is that the album just doesn’t seem to have the energy or pack the same punch as their previous releases.

One of the things I really respect about Turisas is that they do whatever the hell they want. They don’t pander to the masses that are screaming out for another Battle Metal album (never mind the fact that their first three albums have got progressively better!); they just write exactly what they want to and release that. The band has already received some downright ridiculous backlash from calling the album Turisas2013 and their new Toxic Vision costumes, with ‘fans’ saying they are worried about how the album will sound because of this but considering that this has no bearing on the actual music, you have to wonder whether some people care more about the aesthetics than the music itself!

As a clarification – I am not one of those fans. I take each album as it comes, regardless of what it is called or what they are dressed in (both of which I personally love with Turisas2013), so this review really is just about the music.

The album begins with For Your Own Good, which the band have already released for listening on YouTube. The track itself isn’t too bad but it maybe isn’t the right choice to open the album with. It’s a little here-and-there and not quite memorable enough to make the perfect first impression. In fact, it only feels like the album has truly begun when the second track, Ten More Miles kicks in.

Ten More Miles is the standout track of the album and one that I can see going down an absolute treat live, with the chanted lyrics of “Turisas! You can count on us!” simply screaming out for some crowd participation. Instrumentation and structure-wise, the drums in it are foot-tappingly awesome, the energetic bridge/chorus contrasts nicely with the slightly slower-paced verses and the lyrics are a work of art. The track is billed as being made in honour of the fans who told them how much their previous album Stand Up And Fight helped them on a personal level and the subject really shines through and helps make the track one to remember. A truly stunning track.

However once this track is over, the album takes a little bit of a nosedive. Piece By Piece starts off with a truly epic intro but then the track becomes somewhat cluttered and disjointed, with a lot of different ideas within the track that don’t quite link together. The drums seem to clash with the song as a whole and there are riffs and melodies that just don’t seem to fit into the song.

Similarly, fifth track Run Bhang-Eater, Run! is a track that is just overall confusing. It has a lively light-hearted introduction that looks set to be one of those songs that will get the whole room dancing like crazy in a live setting, but then when we get to just after the one-minute mark the tracks loses all momentum and appears to feature the sound-effect of a woman having an orgasm – and there just wasn’t any sort of need for that. The track does pick up a little afterwards with another fun and bouncy line but then it once again runs into a painfully slow section (thankfully without the moans this time!) and the track gradually trails away before fading out into nothing.

Similarly, Greek Fire just doesn’t seem to grab me. The lyrical subject matter is highly interesting but the vocals are lacklustre and the instrumentation is repetitive with nothing massively memorable in it aside from the violin solo, but thankfully the album does pick up a little by the time track seven, The Days Passed, is reached. The track as a whole sounds a little similar to The Heart Of Turisas (the original version of their most famous song Battle Metal), but with a fresher tone and more original sound. The aggression and emotion in frontman Mathias’s vocals really shines through and the violin solo from Olli is one of the best I have ever heard him play!

No Good Story Ever Starts By Drinking Tea is a sarcastic take on those drinking songs that seem to be popular with folk metal crowds at the moment, and it is a truly wonderful and brilliantly hilarious track. I get the impression that some people won’t quite “get” this song and treat it as one of those “SUPER AWESOME DRINKING SONGS” without paying attention to the lyrics – but maybe the band were aiming for this! Also the hilarious little section of the song featuring a chipmunk sample of March Of The Varangian Guard is nothing short of a work of art. Definitely the most fun track of the album.

The album closes with We Ride Together and to say that it is disappointing is somewhat of an understatement. Their previous three albums have finished with hugely epic tracks and this one kind of falls flat on its face in comparison. Whilst Mathias gives a fantastic vocal performance throughout and the track has a nice thick musical texture, it feels like something is missing and by the time it ended, I couldn’t help but want more – it was as if the final track of the album was cut and this should have been the penultimate one. It isn’t necessarily a bad track, just not the right track to end the album with.

Will I be at their upcoming UK tour in October? You bet! Regardless of what I think of Turisas2013, I’ll still be there, dressed head to toe in a handmade costume and covered in red and black paint. I’ll always love their live show and who knows – maybe seeing some of the new material in a live environment will change my mind on the album! But for now, I’m afraid I will have to admit that Turisas2013 just doesn’t ‘do it’ for me. A shame really, considering that this was one of the albums I was most excited to hear this year and Turisas are one of my favourite bands.

My advice? Save your money and just go and see them live instead.

4/10.

https://www.facebook.com/turisas

About Natalie 1920 Articles
Soundscape's editor, who is particularly fond of doom, black metal and folk (but will give anything a chance). Likes to travel to see bands abroad when she can. Contact: nathumphries@soundscapemagazine.com or @acidnat on twitter.

8 Comments on Turisas – Turisas2013 Review

  1. That’s alright 🙂 And I wouldn’t worry about that – us “smaller” sites should look out for each other 😉

    And in that case I’m even more intrigued to read your review. I really love hearing other people’s takes on the same thing and the fact we’ve given it similar scores but prefer different songs is interesting.

    The Tea lyrics are a little difficult to make out due to the fast delivery haha. But yeah it’s a sarcastic song and I love them for doing it XD

  2. I totally wrote the web address wrong, but then again I got self-conscious that even mentioning it was pandering. I’m bad at the internet. Either way, it’s .net not .com. It’s also rather a stream-of-consciousness flow of what was going through my head when I listened to it, followed by a review, so it’s probably pretty weird. I’m used to reviewing gigs, not CDs, hah.

    I actually didn’t really like Ten More Miles. I have a bit of a thing against bands shouting their own name, though it’s a bit forgiveable in the context it’s in, with the gratitude and still being here for the fans. Still… the song didn’t do much for me outside the lyrics.

    I haven’t listened to the lyrics for the Tea track – they were some of the only ones I couldn’t find online (I listened to the album on Spotify), but I’m really interested in your perceptions of it. As a drinking song I thought it was kind of funny, but if it’s a sarcastic drinking song… that’s amazing.

  3. Hey Emmi

    I think I’m about 99% certain lol – if you listen around the 3:05 mark to the end of the solo I think it’s a little more noticeable 🙂 Lots and lots of distortion though!

    But yeah I definitely agree about the violin. For a band with a violinist who is a self-proclaimed “man on a mission against guitar solos”…the violin definitely wasn’t as prominent as I expected it.

    Let me know when your album review goes up and I’ll give it a read. I really loved Ten More Miles – if I was scoring tracks individually I think I would have given that one a ten! Tea is also another really fun track but yeah, in my opinion the songs as a whole just didn’t grab my attention in the way the tracks on the other three albums did!

  4. Are you absolutely convinced that was a violin solo on The Days Passed? I don’t know how well known is the fact that they had a studio lead-guitarist on this album. As a violinist myself (granted, not a very technical one and I’ve not played with distortion much), it just didn’t feeel like a violin to me. In fact, except in the Tea song where it’s really obvious, I felt like I was hearing essentially no violin throughout the whole album. That was one of the biggest disappointments for me personally.

    I basically agree with everything you said though. My review goes up on music-photocalypse.com in the next week or two and I think I averaged it out to be about… 4.5/10? No song broke an individual score of 7, which is rather sad. TVW was one of the pinnacle albums of my life.

  5. Hey Phil.

    Sorry to hear you didn’t like my review. I’m more than happy to welcome discussion on my reviews, but you have to remember that not everyone has the same opinion as you.

    I actually did listen to this with an open mind but struggled to get into it. I just didn’t really like it and I pride myself on always being honest, so I just said exactly what I thought.

    I know it isn’t supposed to be similar to their previous releases, but I just happen to prefer those to this one. It happens.

    That’s fine that you think the album is an 8/10, but for me, it’s a 4. Different people have different opinions on the same music – it’s what makes life interesting 🙂

  6. I disagree with this review. You have judged the album way too harshly and you seem to have missed the point that this isn’t meant to be a more epic sounding album than the previous (you quite often compared the epic orchestral sounds of the tracks), it is simply something different.

    “We Ride Together” was, in my opinion, the best track on the album to close with, its sound reminiscent of Stand Up and Fight. This was a wonderful addition to me. There were many times on my first playthrough of the album where I literally grinned at some of the musical moments Turisas decided to throw in there.

    And although feeling slightly awkward when the sex moans came on in Track 5, I did get used to it a bit more on the subsequent playthroughs and I now understand why it was included. It’s not something that’s easy to put into words but I do honestly feel the track has benefitted from the moans, for the sheer random factor.

    I would give the album 8/10, not 4. Again, it’s not meant to be similar to their previous releases, which you referred to a lot, and if you listen with an open mind, you can really appreciate some of the detail, the lyrics, the fact that this album is a nice little burst of fresh energy. I loved it.

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