The Finnish "battle" metal band we all know and love has come back for a third assault of viking epicness. But is Stand Up and Fight
as big as it is cracked up to be?
The obvious thing you can hear, from the first track, is that this album is definitely more explosive, with the use of a real orchestra on this album. They seem to have pulled that much off well, for the symphony does not drown out the metal, as has been the case with so many symphonic metal albums (not so much with symphonic metal bands, but non-SM bands that try to make symphonic metal).
"March of the Varangian Guard" seemingly picks up where The Varangian Way
left off: the group of vikings have left their homeland to fight for the emperor of Constantinople
. It is as bombastic as any of their former tracks, and lyrically profound. Unlike most typical viking metal bands, who cling to black metal's intolerance, this song states quite clearly that "Diversity is what unites us."
Sounding like a cross between a classic rock song and the growling of black/death metal, "Take the Day!" is a hair-raising battle song, complete with a sweet bass-line and plenty of that heart-warming, rousing feel that only Turisas
can deliver. Were it not for the overall uniqueness of this band, this could almost be called a "power metal" song; not because it adheres to the cliches of power metal, but because it is such an awe-inspiring song. One to listen to while you wade through your enemies with ax and sword in hand!
The title track, "Stand Up and Fight
" is another strong song from this album, reminding the listener that, even when you're down, then is not the time to surrender but to...well, you know. It still brings chills to my body and tears to my eyes, hearing Nygård roar out those inspirational lyrics...
you've made it this far
No loser you are
One more time
One more try"
The story seemingly has a conclusion mid-way through the album, where the Vikings decide to return home to claim kingship of their lands. However, the Byzantine
lord is not interested in giving up his warriors, and so the Vikings leave for home on their own. "The Great Escape
" is a good, heavy track that really packs a hard punch. We also have a slow, almost mournful yet still hard and strong finisher with "The Bosphorous Freezes Over"
Unfortunately, the rest of the album is very repetitive. Sure, the Alestorm
-esque "Hunting Pirates" is sure to inspire the anarchists and supporters of illegal downloading, as I'm sure "Fear the Fear" will as well (aside from dropping the f-bomb - an atypical thing for Turisas
). But even for all the good of the lyrics, which, according to Nygård have relevance in our world today (which is something, since most Viking Metal
is usually intentionally archaic, hearkening back to the old days of paganism and fear of the dark woods), this album isn't very impressive.
However, for all of the repetition and same-ness of each song, it deserves more than thirteen/fourteen of twenty. Let us, however, not forget to mention the bonus tracks. I'm happy to say that "Broadsword" is a good tribute to the folk-rock band Jethro Tull, and has gotten me interested into the very interesting band. It's definitely something worthy listening to. "Supernaut", one of Black Sabbath
's druggie-songs (along with "Sweet Leaf" and "Snowblind
") would seem to be incongruous with the Viking
. With all respect to Tony Iommi
, Geezer Butler
, Bill Ward
and Ozzy Osbourne
, this track blows the socks off the original. Maybe its the tuning, which doesn't sound as gloomy as the original, or the faster tempo, or the chanting along to the riff, or Olli's epic violin skills, or Nygård's humorous lines during the drum solo: either way, its more memorable than the original. Nygård may not be a "screaming" tenor like Ozzy, but he gets the job done. If only this could have made it onto the Nativity in Black album - it's much better than 1000 Homo DJ's cover as well.
In the end, this album is a solid Turisas
album, despite sounding repetitive on certain tracks. Definitely give it a listen-to, because you just might be surprised how good it really is.