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Turisas – Stand Up and Fight: Review

On February 23, Turisas released their third album. It is entitled Stand Up and Fight, and is just about as battle-epic as the cover suggests. Their first couple releases have been well-received, and this is sure to be received in similar manner.

The Music (rating: B+)

  1. The March of the Varangian Guard
  2. Take the Day!
  3. Hunting Pirates
  4. βένετοι! – πράσινοι!
  5. Stand Up and Fight
  6. The Great Escape
  7. Fear the Fear
  8. End of an Empire
  9. The Bosphorus Freezes Over

In Stand Up and Fight, there is a consistently strong symphonic presence which utilizes horns and trumpets more heavily than most other bands, in which strings are overly dominant. There is a consistently noticeable folk influence, and the power metal presence is unmissable. Also, progressive characteristics appear from time to time, but too rarely to call this a progressive album. Every song is adrenaline filled and battle-inspired. Basically, this is an album of pump-up songs that do not let up; not in the instruments, lyrics, or anything in the music. In a way, it makes the record somewhat restricted. But in another way, it is highly focused and hugely epic.

Kudos for this album goes especially to being able to keep the music interesting for the duration of the album while refusing to shy away from the war-epic styling. Under normal circumstances, the alikeness between every song would get under many listeners’ skins. But the level of craftsmanship and musical execution on the track list is consistently praiseworthy. The musical approach generally feels the same, yet every song feels spontaneous and special in its own way. I still feel like there could be more depth and variety in this album without sacrificing any stylistic definition, but the quality of the music minimizes this from an issue to a mere nitpicked point.

What is particularly lovable with the album from a musical standpoint is its usage of dynamics to create powerful build-ups and climaxes. In such songs as “Take the Day!” it is clear that the mighty outbursts would be lacking without the proper context given by the build-up sections. This is a common occurrence throughout the album, never letting up in quantity or quality. Of course, much of the credit goes to the symphonic side, in which the whole epic feel would be half as apparent in both the build-ups and climaxes without it.

All in all, Stand Up and Fight is a very well done album. The only issue with it is its shell-shocking assault of epic tracks. It is not that they are all the same, though some can be too similar for my liking. But take “Hunting Pirates” and “βένετοι! – πράσινοι!” for example; two songs that are quite different but share the overwhelming epic feel and the high level delivery. The “problem” comes from the fact that every song, being epic and powerful and climatic, evokes the same emotional response every time. Because of this, the music loses the some of its depth. However, it gave itself much value with its musical mastery and workmanship to compensate for its aforementioned “problem”. Stand Up and Fight is an excellent collection of songs, but it could use a tad more to transcend into an excellent record.

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