Turisas: Turisas2013 review

\"Turisas2013\"There comes a time in the history of many bands, when they reach a crossroads and start to re-evaluate where they’ve been and what they’ve done, against where they want to go and what they want to do musically. Such is the case with Finnish battle metal band Turisas. After several concept albums rooted in viking lore and legend, the band have decided to branch out into new territory and record an album that concentrates more on the individual songs instead of the concept as a whole. The resulting self titled album “Turisas”is unambiguous and less polished, but somehow feels more organic and natural. The idea was to “blur the lines” says lead singer Mathias Nygard, to make sure you never make the same album twice. It’s a bold decision that can sometimes define or destroy a band. You see, a shift in direction this dramatic ends up being a lose-lose situation for the band, because it alienates the die hard fans and pits them against the new ones that are enjoying the change in style. Keeping all that in mind, the album starts strong with the intriguing “For You Own Good.” A song that sounds like it could have been done by Styx, if Styx were a metal band. Lead single “Ten More Miles” mixes classic Helloween and modern day H.I.M. with a healthy dose of symphonic metal and is quite enjoyable. “Piece By Piece” blends Nightwish with Dream Theater. While “Into The Free” sees the band sounding like the Turisas of old and will please the established fan base. “Run Bhang-Eater, Run!” is an eclectic acid trip that is more thrash than folk. “Greek Fire”  sounds like Hatebreed fronted by Peter Steele and can be best described as operatic hardcore. “The Days Passed,” finds the band experimenting with the heavier side of power/symphonic metal and has a swashbuckling solo that is out of this world. “No Good Story Ever Starts With Drinking Tea” is a drunken romp that brings to mind Flogging Molly. Over the top closer “We Ride Together,” will make you want to paint your face, grab your broad sword and ride headlong into battle. Here’s the bottom line. Anytime a band makes such a intense change, it is bound to create controversy and battle lines will be drawn. If you can get past what this band was, to what they have become, you will find that this is actually a fairly decent record, worthy of a listen. 7 out of 10. -Eric Hunker