Stand Up And Fight
01. The March Of the Varangian Guard
02. Take The Day!
03. Hunting Pirates
04. Venetoi! – Prasinoi!
05. Stand Up And Fight
06. The Great Escape
07. Fear The Fear
08. End Of An Empire
09. The Bosphorus Freezes Over
It’s a quiet morning, the air is still with just the slightest of breeze. Off in the distance a storm approaches, covering the sky in veil of black and grays. A cold chill runs down your back, but you don’t turn away, you stand and face your fears. With sword in hand you await your enemy, as they slowly begin to appear along the horizon, there numbers growing as they become more visible. But there is nothing to fear, as you’re troops stand alongside you, prepared to fight and die, obeying any order you give them. As the enemy draws ever closer, you let out a mighty battle cry and begin to charge in to what will likely be, the battle of your lives. Now just imagine the kind of music that might be playing throughout this battle…
Clad in battle gear and hailing from Finland, with themes revolving around battles, journeys, glory, mythology and history, Turisas dish out their brand of heavy/folk/symphonic metal while also sharing similarities to bands like Manowar, Sabaton and Moonsorrow. And if you’re familiar with those bands you know what kind of music Turisas in unleashing. Full of chants, symphonic elements, narration’s, and tales of lore and war, their newest album, Stand Up And Fight, is the soundtrack to a glorious battle. Now this music isn’t for everyone, seeing as some people can only take it with a grain of salt, but if you can look past the themes and getups, it’s really some energizing and powerful music. It’s the kind of music that gets you amped up and wanting to bash skulls in with a battle axe… but in a good way.
First off, I need to make this known, I love this kind of music, always been drawn to it. I tend to think it’s because of my love for all things geeky, be it fantasy or sci-fi. So upon first go around with their third full-length album, Stand Up And Fight, I know what I’m getting into and I eagerly await the tales Turisas are about to tell. The album opens with “The March Of the Varangian Guard”, and right from the start it’s all orchestrated goodness with Mathias “Warlord” Nygård giving the kind of spoken word style of singing which suddenly bursts right into a chorus of chanting, complete with layered vocals to give it a fuller sound. It hasn’t even been a minute into the song and their already dishing out the epic goodness. And this is what Stand Up And Fight is all about.
“Take The Day!” reminds me of something you would hear during one of the training montages in a Rocky movie. It’s all upbeat and gives the listener a feeling of overcoming anything, which makes me think that all alarm clocks should have this as a default for people to wake up to, and not that hideous buzzing that seems to induce rage. And what could be cooler than Rocky? Well pirates of course. “Hunting Pirates” is a dashing tune about the life of a pirate on the high seas and is full of chanting and rowdiness that is commonly known in pirate lore. It’s simply a track to enjoy and get a kick out of.
Next up we have “Venetoi! – Prasinoi!”, which features some minor vocal work, but overall feels like an instrumental/filler track. It’s fast-paced and filled with brass horns a blazing and comes to close with a mid-tempo break. At this point, this is where the album shifts in tone, getting past the more fun-filled fantasy themed songs and delving into a more mature sound. The title track, “Stand Up And Fight” instantly opens with some heavy riffs and an onslaught of symphonic instruments. It’s a powerful song, having a similar feel to “Warriors of the World” by Manowar, and gives the latter half of the album the kick start into more serious territory.
“The Great Escape” is a very mid-tempo track offering more stomping riff and drum work akin to the sound of troops marching to war. A majestic chorus of voices guides the song to close as it slowly fades out and leads you into “Fear The Fear”, which takes a more toned down approach in the early half with a softer melody and only picks up it’s pace near the end. It does kind of kill the flow from the previous two tracks. Luckily, “End Of An Empire” takes that melodic tone and beefs it up with what has to be the most triumphant and epic track on the album. This track offers it all, slow build ups, an explosive symphony and massive choruses that will make you want to raise a stein of mead in one hand and a sword in the other. I get a major Rhapsody of Fire vibe from this track, and it would have made an excellent closer as opposed to the actual closing track, “The Bosphorus Freezes Over”. Not that this track is bad, because it isn’t, but it’s one of those slow tracks that takes it’s time building up to the finale, and the finale itself isn’t as impressive or gnarly as you would you hope for. Overall, the album is like an amazing first date that ends with a hand shake.
As for the production, it’s perfect. Everything stands out and is well layered, which is not always the case when incorporating symphonic elements into your music. The vocal work is your standard folk/power metal fare, offering up a mix bag of high and low notes. It complements the music well and offers up some of the more memorable moments on the album. Simply put, fans of Turisas older work will enjoy this album, and fans of folk metal, in general, shouldn’t pass this album up.
Turisas – Stand Up And Fight