(Century Media Records)
An observation… Viking / Folk / Heathen / Pagan / Battle / Sword / “whatever-you-wanna-call it!” Metal has undoubtedly become a big fashion thing at least in a vast area of the European Metal scene nowadays; especially many youngsters from such countries as Norway, Sweden and Finland, have been keen on mixing together Metal with many folkish elements and even most often results have been very successful and convincing. Finland’s TURISAS, is yet another bunch of both Folk and Metal loving long-haired crusaders who haven’t been afraid of challenging themselves to take huge swords in their hands and slicing the soil of both Metal- and folkish sounds for suitable enough pieces for their own brand of “Pagan Battle Metal” as they wanna call their musical ambitions and works by such a name. “Battle Metal”, the band’s debut full-length recording for German Century Media Records, contains 12 songs that clock in at nearly one hour mark, so if you wanna take this journey with them, I think it should be long enough rewarding to satisfy your weekly dose as far as this whole particular genre with its sub-titles is concerned. But anyway, let’s just have a short view more closely into the content of “Battle Metal” instead of concentrating on pondering “what’s this Folk / Heathen / etc. Metal all about actually…?”. It can already be said that TURISAS have succeeded in creating an effortlessly yet somewhat moving package of an interesting mish-mash of different Folk-influenced Metal songs for “Battle Metal”. The whole band has cleverly and skillfully used and combined together many choir parts, a wide range of both acoustic- and percussion parts, pipes, violins, accordion, Hammond organ sounds, etc., so having said that, a tradition for a highly innovative Pagan Battle Metal (their term to describe the style of TURISAS – not mine…) still continues and is surely about to make some new followers even without predicting it for a public eye. In many ways, TURISAS have this tiny tendency to remind me of bands like Moonsorrow, Ensiferum, Finntroll and even Skyclad and Norwegian Folk-influenced avant-garde Metallers Ram-zet a bit as well due to some surprisingly well-arranged violin sections in some of their tunes (f.ex. check out a song called ‘The Land Of Hope And Glory’; some similarities are there, no doubts!). TURISAS also have many epic sounding elements in their rich sound that hardly is any surprise for a band coming from a wooden box of this particular genre in question. A song called ‘Rex Regi Rebellis’ speaks for great values of TURISAS’ powerful tendencies to reach some brilliantly composed epic yet pleasantly atmospheric bits of echoes from a blood-red horizon into their Battle Metal sagas that most probably will make them as one of the most noteworthy and potentially successful newcomers of this genre type in question. I believe they’ll be loved by many – and in the very same breath I also gotta assume they’ll be ignored by many because they are not the first band doing this stuff out there. As I already said in the very beginning of this review, this type of “Metal-meets-Folk” – thing is already in a great fashion amongst the kids, at least here in Europe, so the question is do we still need another band of this style? Well, you be the judge… “Battle Metal” doesn’t fully “rock” to my world of Metal to its foundations, but it surely does its job as a decent and kinda entertaining slab of release after all though.