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Turisas: Turisas2013

Finnish warlords readjust their weapons

This quirky Finnish troupe’s 2004 debut, Battle Metal, cocked a snook at the pomposity of much contemporary Viking folk metal, and subsequent albums saw them becoming more ambitious, audacious and accessible.

By 2011’s Stand Up And Fight their anthemic sound was overflowing with symphonic fanfares, like an even more camp Bal-Sagoth. How much further could they push the cheese before it started to curdle? Answer: Turisas2013.

Bombastic orchestral overload has been toned down and all traces of folk removed, but the pop savvy is jacked up, along with a wider musical scope. Ten More Miles is the masterpiece, infectious ear-candy worthy of Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, while the nuttiest cut is surely Run Bhang-Eater, Run!, with Arabesque Looney Tunes motifs, smooth saxophone and naughty sex noises.

Brow-furrowed Vikings will find much to sneer at, but Turisas2013 is a wild and wacky grab bag of impressive songcraft and eccentric imagination, with diligent performances and a punchy mix.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.