One of the things that has always been an endearing emblem of heavy metal has been its unwavering belief that if you’re going to do something then you should do it properly. No half-arsed, bed wetting, half apologetic “will this do?” No, metal’s vanguards have stood proudly behind a stout, resolute, “we actually don’t give a monkeys what you think” stubbornness. I suppose it’s one of the reasons we love it.
This brings me to Finland’s “battle metal” (ahem) superstars Turisas and their latest release, “Stand Up and Fight”. It’s stubborn; it’s resolute: they clearly don’t give a monkeys either. However, and make no mistake about this: this record is going to drive LOADS AND LOADS of people absolutely eyes-on-stalks barking mad mental. Oh Turisas, what have you done? I can already hear scores of fans going absolutely bonkers at their laptops, trolling across the internet complaining about how this latest record is a sell out; how it’s overblown and pompous; how the clean (read: intelligible) vocals are a “betrayal”. All true, by the way and all completely and utterly irrelevant.
“Stand Up and Fight” is an album that you want to put on after seven pints of strong continental lager. It has more sing-a-longs than a girls karaoke night out, more absurd orchestration than an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical and yet- and yet- somehow they pull it off. If there is a very thin line between genius and madness then Turisas have found it. Admittedly, they don’t always know which side of the line they should be on- and frankly that matters little. “Stand Up & Fight” is just glorious.
From the opening strains of ‘The Vangarian Way’, across the absurd and absurdly funny sea shanty of ‘Hunting Pirates’, to the mighty slopes of title track ‘Stand up and Fight’ you get everything that you would expect from Turisas and then more. A lot more. A veritable continent of more. More tunes, more guitars, more drums. Just more. It’s apogee is reached on ‘End of an Empire’. This is an epic to end all epics- all full orchestration, the soundtrack to a great movie yet-to-be, the Hail Mary quarterback pass that wins the Superbowl. It’s glorious, it’s technicolour. It’s barking mad, of course.
“Stand Up and Fight” is ridiculous, overblown, preposterous nonsense. It’s rubbish- utter cobblers:it is also quite magnificent. I kinda love it: I think you will too. Clearly then: 2/10 if you’re taking yourself far too seriously or 9/10 if you have a life and love a lager.