Bad name for a good album.
Fans of Turisas by now should know what to expect with the band, grand epic tracks each telling a story with a fine arrangement of strings, piano and heavy riffs with a mix of clean vocals and screams. While the tone has remained much the same in 2013, some of the grand scale has gone – and that’s no bad thing.
First things first, 2013 sounds slightly different from Turisas’ previous efforts – it is cleaner, slightly softer and just a little more “safe” sounding. However, Turisas 2013 is not the band playing it safe (that would be creating a record that sounds the same as the previous release); indeed, 2013 sounds different enough that a few listens through are required to fully experience the unique qualities of the album.
Don’t worry though; this is still definitely Turisas, just a Turisas showing some development as a band. They look to the past with tracks like Run Bhang-Eater, Run! which reminds me of their older track In the Court of Jarisleif. While tracks like the opener For Your Own Good provide a look into the (fantastic) future of Turisas.
The album has its fair share of what will sure become classics in their own rights, For Your Own Good, Ten More Miles, Piece By Piece and Greek Fire being the highlights of this nine track record. Indeed, Greek Fire sounds the most different from traditional the Turisas affair, starting with a cracking riff that has shortly become one of the highlights of metal albums released last year. The track slows down, but retains its impressive sound throughout becoming one of the best tracks they have ever written.
The remainder of the album is good, but either the tracks are just slightly forgettable or are marred by odd decisions in vocals (the strange higher-pitch backing vocals just sound bad) or, in the case of Run Bhang-Eater, Run! the song turns into a bizarre section of female sexual grunting, maybe it’s just me being a bit prudish but it didn’t gel with me well. None of the remaining four tracks are bad – far from it – but I doubt they will be making it onto any fans list of top Turisas tracks.
Again though, each track shows the band unwilling to stick to a pre-ordained formula, each song sounding different from the last. Just like any other Turisas album, 2013 retains the high quality performances that set this band apart from many of their contemporaries. This time around there are also some fantastic guitar solos and cracking bass-lines. It is clear from 2013 that Turisas have no plans of stopping any time soon – they are just having too much fun.
A bold new step for the Finnish lords of metal that isn’t without a couple of hiccups in stylistic and vocal choices but each song is its own vehicle for showing us who’s boss in this field: Turisas. 2013 shows us a band brave enough to take a few new steps while still retaining the sound that the fans have come to know and love, it’s just a shame that there only nine tracks.
Just remember, no good story is started from drinking tea. Turisas: 2013 is essential for fans of the band and genre.