1. Victoriae & Triumphi Dominus (1:28)
2. As Torches Rise (4:51)
3. Battle Metal (4:23)
4. The Land Of Hope And Glory (6:22)
5. The Messenger (4:42)
6. One More (6:50)
7. Midnight Sunrise (6:14)
8. Among Ancestors (4:02)
9. Sahti-Waari (2:28)
10. Prologue for R.R.R. (3:09)
11. Rex Regi Rebellis (7:10)
12. Katuman Kaiku (2:22)

Warlord Nygård - vocals,  programming, additional percussion (shaman drum, tambourine, shakers etc.)

Jussi Wickström - electric and acoustic guitar, bass guitar, double bass

Tude Lehtonen - drums and percussion (djembe, udu, congas, bongos, electric percussion)

Antti Ventola - synthesizers, piano, vibraphone, Hammond organ

Georg Laakso - electric and acoustic guitar

guest musicians

Riku Ylitalo - accordion

Olli Vänskä - violin

Emmanuelle Zoldan - female vocals



Nygård, Wickström, Ventola, Laakso, Lehtonen, Saku Träväinen, Hannes Horma, Teemu Lehtonen, Sami Aarnio, Winsef Boncamper

TURISAS : "Battle Metal"           turisas                

album cover  designed by Niklas Sundin (Cabin Fever Media)  - recorded  at Sound Suite Studio in Marseille, France with producer Terje Refsnes (TRISTANIA, DESTRÖYER 666, MORGUL) - European release date 26th July

preview - review  by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo____   

synopsis - "Battle Metal" , though not perfect, is an impressive debut album that delivers a Pagan Metal intertwined with other genres. Therefore it will appeal to those who love Heavy and Power but also  to the listeners of Folk/Medieval, Epic, and even Melodic Death and  Gothic. Many influences make this album  very rich within the almost always constant hymnic  emphasis to battle echoes and choirs. Hymns that nothing have to do with the classic stereotypes. Moreover much sadness at times surfaces.Various are the instruments involved from e-guitars to accordions, from violins  to  recorder (flute) and Hammond, supported by  plenty of different percussions  (Shaman drum included) . Vocals too are varied, from growling to evil rasping tones and clean ones, while in some tracks even female vocals appear  as counterpart of the male group. Short experimental passages are also present, as well as modern techniques. Such many and intense ingredients aren't always fluency combined, nevertheless some tracks are unforgettable. This is no simple Pagan or Viking Metal: this is a movie through a time-gate.

I read that Hämeenlinna is  "a small city right in the heart of the pagan forests of South/Mid-Finland". It is in this small city that the band Turisas was formed by in 1997 by Mathias Nygård (vocals) and Jussi Wickström (guitar) and it is always in this small city that Turisas guitarist Georg Laakso was recently stabbed several time in the back , though fortunately with no serious consequences. Well it seems that the small and unknown Hämeenlinna is much more troubled  than a bigger metropolis. Maybe it's the  old hot battle spirit of Kalevala , the realm of finnish Gods, that still flatters over those woods. Indeed The name Turisas (very similar to the name of the rune Teiwaz) should go back to an ancient Finnish god of war, maybe a kind of morphing between Thor and Tyr, though i don't find him between Aino, Ajatar , Tuonetar and company. Anyway , as good "heir" of the somehow related Longobards , everything should have something to do  with the Berserkers , the elite or warriors worshipping Tyr, then Wotan and always blood, knowing well the power of the runes. The die hard host in the battles. That elite of arrogant warriors that however was the first and last hope of their folks. On the other hand, war was not the most important thing  for the northern European folks. On the contrary more an unwelcome necessity. All this couldn't explain better the music composed by Turisas, who, in this debut album, wonderfully create around us, like an holographic image, that  varied screenplay of aggressiveness but also of  light heartened feelings that marked that ancient life. Like in a concept album , Battle Metal presents us scenes of war, but also  romanticism and even moderate joy. The parameter for that is the amazing junction between the anthemic  spirit of Heavy Metal and Power and the darkness and growling force of darkest styles : from a certain Gothic and Melodic Death atmosphere to pure Folk Epic. I wouldn't identify this as "Viking metal" , but more as a well- nourished Pagan Metal with many structures  fitting in, some of them  near to Finntroll.  Some folk structures yes , but attention: Turisas are no second Finntroll. Varied are also the vocals: growlings alternate with clean voices, with excellent choirs, whispers, and female vocals, but fortunately (imo) no opera tones are ever reached, so that Battle Metal can be listened  by a large target .

Instrumental  elements and choirs are inserted so that you really get the impression to be there, in tight company of the warriors and their village. The number of instruments is extremely diversified: from horns, to violins, from accordion to  Hammond , without listing the prolificacy of percussions, shaman drums included. I would also underline the nice- looking cover art by Niklas Sundin (Cabin Fever Media), who begins to establish himself  as a solid  reality " in puncto"  graphics. The production is good enough in order to  draw clearly any instrument and voice , in order to give the necessary dimensional prominence to various passages, though the surround effect could have been optimized, if  reaching it  already at lower volume.

The bit negative point in all this, is that  the various structures are not always fluency bound, some "jumps" in pace and style are too evident, while sometimes a sense of tiredness  (not boredom however) could overcome  especially if you think to listen to it in an inattentive way.  Every track ( i don't use the word song) has its clear identity  and the album is actually very varied, but some pieces are a bit too long. Also in the variety, there is a recurrent tone that levels almost all tracks.  Indeed you have to listen  to it  doing nothing else like you were watching a movie.


A movie yes, cause "Battle Metal" articulates in a sequence of  tracks that is also a sequence of musical narration, that keeps the listeners busy, though enjoyable and catchy hook lines are of course not missed. Just think that the  track Rex Regi Rebellis  is based on an historical novel written  by the Finnish poet Zacharias Topelius: "Surgeon's Stories",  covering events of  the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). The opener  Victoriae & Triumphi Dominus is totally ancient- epic, with militar/sacral temperament, underlined by the military drumming and a solemn choir.  As Torches rise  is very strong with dirty vocals who  graze  growlings,  with  orchestral tones (which sometimes even remind of  old Nightwish-ian rhythms) hook lines in uptempo and moments of sadness and instrumental virtuoso's . The following title track Battle Metal is very tight and cadenced, it's the direct development  of As Torches rise and remains in its anthemic wake , just with more evilness and choirs, and with a drop of obscure symphonic and medieval. Same enthusiasm mixed with sorrow. 

The contrast towards The Land of Hope and Glory is really exceptional cause  this fourth track suddenly mitigates the Battle emphasis with an intro that shows modern techniques, the song then rises again towards  horizons of eastern tzigane violins, and medieval tones mixed with even  jazz/psycho short moments! 6.22 minutes of complexity and extreme musical variety, change of  drumming pace and lots of catchy anthemic male choirs  that makes unity and group. All this suggests to me not only the usual influences concerning music but above all the many historical influences that Finland guested. The Messenger begins with a rhythmic wall-riffing and goes on symphonic and imposing with a cornucopia of instrumental variations and rasping vocals until it shows a smoother intermezzo in which also  female vocals appear.  One More starts off as  medieval balladesque  with such a tenderness of strings and violins and delivers then a stronger cathy refrain and modern background effects, well this song gives actually the impression of a time machine: we  jump through the centuries in few minutes, even superimposing the one on the other like many layers: a cool effect that you can appreciate if you are mooded for that. A catchy though not easy song lasting 6.50 mins.  

Midnight Sunrise that makes you feel  like you were in Prague or at the shores of the Balaton lake,  instead  than in Finland, are other 6:14 mins of engagement but ehi guys: these are the minutess that flow away like water, totally persuading: Midnight Sunrise is still complex, but it  sprays immediately an incredible appeal, with tight and flattering  Gothic/Dark and obscures  atmospheres and the voice of Emmanuelle Zoldan that shines among the male counterpart. 

Mysterious, ghostly  and menacing is the intro for  Among Ancestors that suggests both  sacred choirs or the gloomy chants of the Visigoths  when they digged the grave of their King Alaric  in the South Italian river Busento (hehhe welcome Finland!), like the legend tells. Very beautiful and courageous the piano drops in this picture and the final force and aggression. Sahti- Waari is again very "tzigane" and pagan,  even cheerful, an uptempo ride, like you were dancing around a fire . Prologue for R.R.R. is mystical and spoken : a flame for hystory, for the veil of the past, and for generations.  Rex Regi Rebellis begins with a kind of  Dimmu Borgir  temperament that slows down in mild flutes or sad violins, while the dark  cadenced hooks  will remain long in our mind. Another super track of this album, though a bit too ambitious and too long with a drop of experimentation , that we don't necessarily need . 

And finally the instrumental Katuman Kaiku which begins so slow emotional and sorrowful , mourning and nostalgic, but just  in order to grow in heaviness with a potent steamhammering riffing evocation.  So precious and beautiful, listening to it we can only wonder what does remain of what it was, while we fly on the wings of fluted sounds.  Katuman Kaiku, what does it mean?  A nice end for this debut album that though not perfect is impressive.

Battles, history, fantasy,  runes and northern mythology , folk and epic elements intertwined in a wide and lively Metal spectrum are waiting  for their fans, who have just to lay their hands on this album.



dalia di giacomo    
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