Sat. Dec 5th, 2020

REVIEW: Turisas – Turisas2013 (Musicalypse Archive)

It’s not uncommon to hear about bands who get type-cast into a certain genre and develop some regrets over this. TURISAS are a band who were more focused on history and stories than swords and battles, yet are still counted as one of the foundations of modern Viking/folk metal. In what appeared to be an effort to shake off this label, the band released “Turisas2013” on August 21st, 2013. Unimpressed by the shockingly ordinary name, it seemed prudent to see what the non-Viking TURISAS would sound like.

What bogs down most of this album is the utter lack of anything particularly interesting. What were once the thunderous drums of adventure by Tuomas “Tude” Lehtonen are more often than not disco beats of mediocre intensity and though there are a few decent solos by Jussi Wickström on guitar and Robert Engstrand on keyboards, they seem to have fucked fucking the guitar solos because violinist and former solo-performer Olli Vänskä has been largely swept into the backing sound and distorted until he may as well be a second guitar. It seems as if the folk influence of violin and accordion wasn’t working for the band so “Turisas2013” was, what? An effort to eliminate the folk vibe? Whatever the reason was, it did not work in the band’s favor as Vänskä‘s unique flare is a lot of the backbone of what has always made TURISAS great.

The album is made up of a variety of slumps of songs that may have a decent idea or two hidden within overall forgettable material, such as the limp opener, “For Your Own Good,” that pales in comparison to hard-hitters like “To Holmgard and Beyond” or “March of the Varangian Guard.” Furthermore, there isn’t any real through-line through the material. “Run, Bhang-Eater, Run” (the name raises so many questions) might have been a great song with its Byzantinian flare, at least until the sex noises ruin everything, while songs like “The Days Passed” and “Ten More Miles” are so stripped of life that they can hardly be classified as metal, let alone Viking. The latter was meant to be a fan song in response to the uplifting spirit that fans loved in the empowering namesake of their 2011 album, “Stand Up and Fight,” only this song doesn’t endear the listener but rather makes the band come across as arrogant and full of themselves as they claim to be “rugged and robust.”

The only remotely folky song on the album is “No Good Story Ever Starts with Drinking Tea,” a fabulous mockery of bands like KORIPIKLAANI that finally allows Vänskä‘s violins to shine, only it gets ruined by the awful Alvin and the Chipmunks -style speed-up in the late middle; this may have been done intentionally as part of the camp factor but it just makes the listener want to skip the song when it reaches that part. The album closes with “We Ride Together,” which is not a terrible song but lacks a lot of the drama and dynamics of previous TURISAS finales like “Miklagard Overture” and “The End of an Empire.”

One hates to use the words “complete disappointment,” but truly, that’s what this album was. A mere 2 years following the release of their well-received “Stand Up and Fight,” it seems as if TURISAS rushed to release an album to squash their Viking reputation rather than figuring out their identity and developing it. Here’s hoping they take their time with whatever they do next and figure themselves out, but I’d recommend a hard pass on even bothering to try out this album, sadly.

Written by Bear Wiseman
Musicalypse, 2013
OV: 2863

Tracklist

  1. For Your Own Good
  2. Ten More Miles
  3. Piece by Piece
  4. Into the Free
  5. Run, Bhang-Eart, Run
  6. Greek Fire
  7. The Days Passed
  8. No Good Story Ever Starts with Drinking Tea
  9. We Ride Together

Lineup

Mathias Nygård – vocals

Jussi Wickström – guitars

Olli Vänskä – violin

Robert Engstrand – keyboards

Jesper Anastasiadis – bass

Jaakko Jakku – drums

Label

Century Media Records

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