Turisas - The Varangian Way review
|Album:||The Varangian Way|
|Release date:||May 2007|
Disc I [CD]
01. To Holmgard And Beyond
02. A Portage To The Unknown
03. Cursed Be Iron
04. Fields Of Gold
05. In The Court Of Jarisleif
06. Five Hundred And One
07. The Dnieper Rapids
08. Miklagard Overture
09. Rasputin [Boney M cover][director's cut edition bonus]
10. To Holmgard And Beyond [radio edit version] [director's cut edition bonus]
11. To Holmgard And Beyond [single edit version] [enhanced edition bonus]
12. Rex Regi Rebellis [Finnish version] [enhanced edition bonus]
+ Battle Metal [video] [Live at Party San '06] [enhanced edition bonus]
Disc II [DVD]
01. Battle Metal [Live at Rock Hard Festival 2007]
02. To Holmgard And Beyond [Live at Download Festival 2007]
03. In The Court Of Jarisleif [Live at Download Festival 2007]
04. Rasputin [Boney M cover][Live at Download Festival 2007]
05. Battle Metal [Live at Download Festival 2007]
06. Battle Metal [Live at With Full Metal Festival 2007]
+ Rasputin [Boney M cover][video]
+ To Holmgard And Beyond [v karaoke]
After a 3 year or so hiatus Turisas is back with an epic masterpiece that undoubtedly blows there previous effort completely out of the water.
Before I get into the different aspects of this album I should quickly explain the storyline to this album for those who don't already know (it is a concept album). To sum the storyline up its simply a group of vikings on a journey for the sake of going on a journey, exploring and such, and every now and then focus' on the main character-Hakons reflections and inner thoughts about his life and trying to find his name.
Musically the improvements made from this album since there first album are astronomical. First of all, the cheesy trumpet synth that dominated the first album is dropped, now we have a computer made orchestra that is extremely convincing. In this album we also have 2 different choirs, the first being 'The Varangian Choir' which sort of represents the voice of the crew of vikings, the second being a true classical choir which is more used as a omnipresent narrative type voice, describing the atmosphere. Nygard's voice also has more skill and intensity in this album, his clean vocals are more precise and soul-filled, making the more reflective or sorrowful moments very believable. While at the same time his growls become more vicious and torturing, once again making the appropriate moments just as believable, for example in the track 'The Dnieper Rapids' which as you may have guessed is about the viking ship going through rough rapids, it is a heavy fast track mostly dominated by the intense growling.
Another great part I have to point out about this album is the lyrical work, very descriptive, yet without sounding dumb or cliche'. After a few listens through it dawned on me that a band whose previous work had consisted almost entirely of songs about battle wrote an entire album without a single blatant "I are viking....pick up your swords and get killing" track that seems to dominate every other 'viking' metal bands discography. Not only do they avoid this cliche' but they are able to do it without losing any epic atmosphere or sounding like pussies.
Even though this is in fact a close to flawless album, there are a few tedious moments that could have been left out in my opinion. There are a few songs in the album which have very irrelevant sounding parts, times where they sort of wreck the incredible atmosphere they so greatly put together, like the intro to 'Five Hundred And One' or mid-way through 'Miklagard Overture' the band seems to break into a jazzy type instrumental, which completely through me off when I was really getting into that otherwise epic track.
This is my vote for album of the year hands down, an album thats so effective it puts you right in the action, I cant even imagine how there going to top this with the rumored sequel.
|With a "drakkar" on the cover art, you know this is Folk Metal from Scandinavia. I haven't been too immersed into this booming musical genre; as the few bands I tried to listen to all failed to really impress me. Korkiplaani bores me, Finntroll is not my cup of tea, Tyr sounded promising, but I quickly forgot about them. Folk or Pagan Metal has been rampaging the European scene recently, with countless bands displaying their Norsemen roots, with songs filled with epic battle lyrics and imagery full of medieval paraphernalia.
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