Tuesday, March 9th has come and passed and that means that Turisas' new album, Stand Up and Fight, was released in North America!!
Stand up and Fight
"The March of the Varangian Guard"
"Take the Day!"
"βένετοι! - πράσινοι!" (“Venetoi!-Prasinoi!”)
"Stand Up and Fight"
"The Great Escape"
"Fear the Fear"
"End of an Empire"
"The Bosphorus Freezes Over"
"Broadsword" (Jethro Tull cover, bonus track)
"Supernaut" (Black Sabbath cover, bonus track)
A couple of the songs were available before hand (fan videos, band releases, etc.) so I've been listening to some of the songs for a while now, and it's great to finally hear the rest of the album. I love this album; I think they did a great job in adding new elements while keeping the feel of battle metal that we have all come to know and love. The whole album has a very serious and meaningful. Some of the songs ("The March of the Varangian Guard" among them) seem to be a continuation of the theme of they previous full length album, The Varangian Way, but the album itself is not a concept album like the previous one. The songs that are not a continuation of The Varangian Way are songs about overcoming conflict and one's fears. I believe that the album itself is kind of an ending to the story that Turisas was telling with The Varangian Way because, although it is not a concept album, there are songs, I think, that are about the Varangian Guard, serving the Emperor, and returning home. Whether or not that is the case, it is a great album with many meaningful songs. Something I noticed, in addition to the great orchestrations, is Mathias' clean vocals. There seems to be a lot more of it in this album than in their previous two. This is something that I love to see (or hear, really) because although I love his growling voice, I love his clean singing even more. So that is another part I love about this album. Also, they made a lot of great use of orchestras and chorus' that really added to the epic feel of the whole thing.
"The March of the Varangian Guard" - An epic song about the glory of the Varangian Guard, telling about their worth above the other soldiers and mercenaries in the Byzantine Empire. It's a very epic sounding song with a lot of great orchestration.
"Take the Day!" - An uplifting, almost brutal song about....taking the day! This is mostly, I believe, about a battle in which the Varangian Guard were sent in when the Emperor's lesser troops failed. A very epic song.
"Hunting Pirates" - This is a great one; I believe this is about the Varangian Guard hunting for pirates, but this may be from the point of view of the pirates-but either way it's a great song, this album's "In the Court of Jarisleif"
"βένετοι! - πράσινοι!" - A grand, epic song that is about chariot racing in Miklagard (Constantinople) itself, and was a large part of life, and most likely something fascinating to Scandinavians. It's a grand, trumpetty, fast-paced song that really gives the feeling of watching a race in the Hypodrome of ancient Constantinople.
"Stand Up and Fight" - This title track is a great one, one of my personal favorites. This one is about victory when defeat seems imminent, over coming odds, and suppressing feelings of being defeated. To me, some of the lines are particularly strong: " But would I run today just to die another day" for example is a really powerful that always catches my ear. Like the name says, it's about just standing up and fighting, just getting it over with, which will help anyone inspire anyone in any kind of situation where they feel like giving up. This songs also has a very epic sound, incorporating very well elements of orchestration.
"The Great Escape" – This is a very brilliant song about leaving Constantinople against the Emperor's will to claim a throne in Scandinavia. They have to escape under the cover of night. The main character is so intent on heading home that he says “for no emperor nor chain will stand in my way.” This is a great song that uses orchestral elements very well, and there is a lot of great background singing (in response to things Mathias is singing) and chorus'.
"Fear the Fear" – This one isn't set in dark ages Europe, but rather a song for today's world. It basically says that although many of play games, in which we are the “hero of the day” if we go outside of that world, “our head's in the sand.” It's basically saying that just because we watch brave people on TV or play brave people in games, we are not (or a least it's singing to people who are). It's a very good song, with a lot of great clean vocals from Mathias.
"End of an Empire" – Another song with a lot of Mathias' great clean vocals; I love it. Also, it has awesome piano parts from Iiro Rantala. It has a very epic sound, with, again, awesome singing from Mathias. I believe this is just about empires ending in general, not one specific one. The song mentions Rome, Waterloo, Bastille, so it has a wide range. This is this albums “Miklagard Overture,” in my opinion.
"The Bosphorus Freezes Over" – This is the outro of the album, like “Katuman Kaiku” off of Battle Metal. A great, peaceful instrumental song, also with some chorus lines in Finnish. This is a meaningful ending to the song and the adventure begun with The Varangian Way.
“Broadsword”/“Supernaut” - Two great covers, Jethro Tull and Black Sabbath respectively, that will be making regular appearances at the ending of the show.
Turisas has definitely not disappointed with this album, not at all. This is a very epic, lively, and exciting album, that still has a lot of powerful, meaningful lyrics that a lot of people can relate to. History nerds like myself will enjoy mentions of “The Greens! The Blues!” in "βένετοι! - πράσινοι!”, which were real chariot racing factions (it' great), and battle metal fans can appreciate...all the songs. Turisas, once again, has done a great job and I cannot wait to see what they do in the future.