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Blood-stained they strode all alone. - 80%

Diamhea, January 28th, 2014

Battle Metal is superior to anything Turisas released afterward for one reason alone: Ventola's keyboards. Nygård took over on keys after his departure in 2007 and while passable, he lacks that "something extra" that gives Battle Metal more appeal than its younger siblings.

This becomes immediately evident during the triumphant, yet foreboding instrumental opener "Victoriae & Triumphi Dominus". The keyboards may sound more artificial than on albums like The Varangian Way, but the potent melodies make this an afterthought. Personally, I find that the true opener "As Torches Rise" is actually one of the weaker tracks here. Look to the title track for a better example of the styles being pioneered here instead. A largely mid-paced affair, it embodies nearly all of the best qualities of Battle Metal condensed into one single track. Most of the overacted pomp that plagued the other albums isn't present here, save for the throwaway "Sahti-Waari".

Battle Metal is pretty consistent, even if no one song truly stands head and shoulders above the rest. "The Land of Hope and Glory" may seem out of character at first with the dance-drum injected introduction, but it ends up covering a multitude of styles and ends up being the best of the longer cuts on here. "Midnight Sunrise" features some ethereal female vocals, and "Rexi Regi Rebellis" is a decent enough epic number featuring more of Ventola's impressive keyboard compositions.

Where Battle Metal ends up falling flat is on the production end. The guitars are naturally an afterthought once taking the keyboards into account, but they don't deserve to be as buried as they are on here. This reminds me of Fairyland's Of Wars in Osyrhia in that regard, you almost can't hear the guitars at all during some passages. There are some okay riffs during the verses of "The Land of Hope and Glory" and the title track, but the performance is definitely a bit wanting. Nygård's delivers his epic rants courtesy of a passable blackened yowl, but the album really shines when the guest vocalists contribute. As stated above, the female vocals are saccharine and quite pleasing to the ears. The group-choir sections are also potent, mainly manifesting themselves during "Among Ancestors". Lehtonen is an adequate drummer, but he gets away with a pretty pedestrian performance here on the whole, since the drums are never exactly highlighted at all.

When the keyboard drenched closer "Katuman Kaiku" (which screams of Ensiferum's "Ferrum Aeternum") ends, you end up wishing that Battle Metal kept going. As the final notes fade out, so does Turisas as a band. The group never recovered from Ventola's departure, releasing a string of embarrassing, bombastic odes to excess instead of another winner like this. Damn shame.

To Battle! - 90%

wickedjoe, November 19th, 2013

Love them or hate them - and it's hard to imagine someone not of either of those opinions - Turisas do not do things by halves. From the very beginning of this album their motto of "If something's worth doing, it's worth over-doing" is written proudly for all to see. Embracing both huge, epic symphonic elements and traditional folk and mixing them up together in a soupy broth of infectious riffs and keyboards, "Battle Metal" isn't so much an album as it is a feast in the halls of Odin himself.

At a first listen, it's all a little too much to take in. Layers upon layers of synths, choirs, and violins merge together to create such a thick wall of sound the metal band in the centre of it all is almost drowned out. The songs seem chaotic, almost random. It's easy to get lost in forests like these, and you have to pay attention. But this has only added to the album's strength on repeat listens, and there's always something new you haven't noticed before. Why, you ask? Because fuck you, that's why. If you wanted something easy to digest and logical you wouldn't be listening to folk metal.

The ill-advised 'Prologue for R.R.R.' aside, every track here is great. Even the opening instrumental, with it's FruityLoops orchestra sounds nothing short of EPIC, in it's truest meaning. We're going on a quest. We're off into battle. We may not return, and if we do, we will not be the same. The blistering power of 'As Torches Rise' and the the sing-along earworm title track are simply fantastic metal anthems, with, er, fiddles. The opening violins to 'The Messenger' immediately convey the dark urgency of the song, much like the epic (there it is again) 'Midnight Sunrise', featuring some fantastic female vocals. The big sing-along 'One More' and the insane fun of 'Sahti-Waari' add the sort of variety in mood far more 'serious' bands can only dream of achieving. The album is closed by another instrumental, the simple and elegant 'Katuman Kaiku', a surprisingly calm way to finish such an album.

All said, there are some problems here. Firstly, the electronic drums and organ in 'The Land of Hope And Glory' are perhaps a step too far into experimentation and do take much away from an otherwise fantastic song. The production is often a mess of keyboards, with much of the instrumentation sounding very fake. But if you just go with it, and let it sweep you up in it's weird and wonderful ways, you'll be heavily rewarded.

There we are. That's really all that can be said. If you really want to take this journey, you really do just have dive into it head first. It's dangerous business, walking out your own front door. There's no knowing where you might be swept off to. It's utterly fantastic.

Throwing Out Rhyme, Reason, and Sense - 25%

ParabolaX, November 30th, 2011

Turisas could have been tolerable.

As I listen to it and write down my thoughts, I can tell that they have an okay idea about how to write folk metal. It's full of power metal-esque riffs, violin, synthesized trumpets and other orchestral elements, and a pretty sweet choir. While I detest most power metal and overly synthesized orchestras, Turisas is able to have enjoyable moments in their songs. Some of the power metal veers on the enjoyable side, and they have a real violinist on the album. The choir and harsh vocals are actually very good, indeed the highlights of the album.

Even though I dislike much of what the genre of folk metal has to offer, Turisas came very close to making a half-decent folk metal album.

There are two types of folk metal to me: those that are focused on nature (Agalloch, etc.), and those about epic battles (Equillibrium, Tengger Cavalry, etc.). Turisas is firmly in the latter, even spawning their own genre label of "battle metal," and naming this album that. I also am generally turned off by that sort of folk metal. While Tengger Cavalry does it well, sure, there are plenty of bands that seem to force the epic nature of a battle onto their music instead of letting it flow. Tengger Cavalry has a very smooth mixture of the musician's own culture of Mongolian/Chinese history and a very solid sort of metal. Turisas strikes me more as a heavy/power metal sort of band that just found some orchestral recordings and viking choirs, mixed them together on their computer, and decided it was good enough. There is very little natural flow in this album; it fails to place me in an epic battle. Instead, I just feel a bunch of possibly drunk Finns wanting to be epic and a bad mixing job.

A note on the production and mixing, it's largely a mess of keyboards that sounds absolutely unpleasant through my headphones. It's very loud and abrasive, but not in the way I'd like my metal to be. It's a shame, because "Midnight Sunrise" has a semi-decent mix, as well as a lack of much of the folk elements that plague the rest of the album. It's a great song, with excellent harsh vocals, audible riffs, and an absolutely fucking perfect use of choir. Even the guest spot of a female vocalist helps the song. Why can't this whole album be like "Midnight Sunrise?"

So what else is the rest of the album like? The way I described it so far, it seems that it is more like a very typical "epic" folk metal band, and that I only hate it for not really being my cup of tea. If it was merely not my cup of tea, but still good for what it was, I wouldn't be giving a negative review to it. Not even the production totally ruins it. It has a glaring flaw that I can hardly overlook.

First, everyone knows that the main complaint about Opeth is their lack of consistency in a song. I'll agree with that, and I fully realize that Opeth has a fetish for inserting lots of random acoustic guitar parts into songs and rapidly transitioning between styles and genres like a hyperactive child instead of a bunch of Swedish men pushing 40. But I'll give Opeth some credit; they generally keep a consistent mood between songs. It may go from being more angry than mournful to more mournful than angry, but I could easily see how they came to the conclusion that it would help convey the emotions in their song. Opeth has a right type of inconsistency, in a way.

Turisas, in terms of the sheer amounts of time they spend in those weird genre transitions, is much more innocent than Opeth. A few seconds each song (except for a few), they go to an absolutely non-metal folk bit. Considering how their songs are pretty long, this should not be a big complaint. The rest of the song fits together; epic battle after epic battle. Battles with triumphant moods and a general feeling of seriousness. And the folk bits? Sounds like a happy party in an old tavern. I don't think that going to the bar in the middle of a battle is a prudent decision.

"Among Ancestors" is an especially egregious offender. it is the typical Turisas song, with two seconds of a pure folky bit. That was unexpected. But towards the end, the sounds of a live audience fill my headphones, and some folk musicians take hold. Then we go back to a rather typical Turisas-sounding ending.

What the fuck was that?

But most of the other songs have lesser offenses that, you know, are still there. An organ and an electronic beat in "Land of Hope and Glory?" Flutes and other folk trappings (without any drums or guitars, mind you) in "As Torches Rise," "Battle Metal," and "Rex Regi Rebellis?" A super dark and sparse choir part at the end of "Midnight Sunrise?" A jazzy interlude with a choir in the middle of "Rex Regi Rebellis?" Fuck, they have it all! Without any context, rhyme, or reason.

I like my albums to make sense, Turisas.

Folk metal seems to be what Turisas does best and loves doing. When it's without any random bits to throw the listener off, Turisas is actually solid (in spite of bad production and godawful keys). I have to mention how good the violins are again. It is possibly the best part of the album, with some nice violin hooks and a very good, natural sound. But damn, I never thought I'd appreciate consistency until now.

Battle Metal - 70%

ponyovdoom, July 2nd, 2011

Turisas is a six-piece band from Hämeenlinna, Finland. They've been around since 1997, putting out one demo and an EP, before releasing their debut album "Battle Metal" in 2004. The band call their music Battle Metal, as their debut is called, which includes a song also called Battle Metal. And the album does start with an epic intro preparing you to battle, I've had a hard time figuring out what battle I am put into, it could pretty much be a medieval battle, a battle in a desert or some vikings running around in a forest, but one thing is for sure, there is definitely a battle going on.

After the introduction you are thrown right into the battle in "As Torches", a thick atmosphere of blood and hatching surrounds you with Warlord Nygårds harsh vocals kicking in. In this song, fiddle is also being used, which gives the album a touch of folk already. Warlord Nygårds vocals throughout the album are harsh and aggressive, but also mighty cleaner vocals are being used along with choirs. Also female vocals are being used in this album, for instance in the song "Midnight Sunrise". The female vocals could in my opinion be better, but Warlord Nygårds harsh vocals sums up for that, fitting the battle of this album perfectly.

But this album is, besides being folky and battle-like, a bit chaotic. More genres are present in this album, such as in "The Land of Hope and Glory" where suddenly elevator like music kicks in, personally I think that's rather cool, but a bit misplaced for the regular listener of this kind of music. The track also includes fiddle parts and choirs here, but this battle could be fought in an elevator.
What also makes this album a bit chaotic is the drastic tempo and music change, such as in "One More", going from a cheerful folk melodi, with Nygård along the choirs singing, but then suddenly go down in tempo, without any fiddle here, but just choir singing "lai lai lai lai" along some boring slow riffing. Then the fiddle comes back from nowhere, and the vocals are gone, after a short fiddle passage, it goes away again, and Nygård sings calmly, before going back to the rather decent (in my opinion) chorus "One More". This kinda shows that the band is still in an early stage of their career.

Besides fiddle, also accordion is used, unfortunately not as much as I would have wished, but it's still here, and that's better than no accordion at all! It's used in "Midnight Sunrise" for instance, which is also a varied experience, swtiching tempos a few times during a song, once again, it's a bit messy this album. The accordion can also be heard along the fiddle during one of my favorites "Sahti-Waari", which is a rather short song consisting of flute and fiddle also. It's pretty cheerful and only choir vocals are used here. The atmosphere here is really just awesome, and no weird tempo-genre-whatever switching either!

The production of the album is good, though due to some of the chaotic songs it can be hard knowing what the hell is going on in your speakers/headset, the guitar is not something I've payed much attention to, since the atmosphere here with synths and traditional instruments along Nygårds vocals and choir draws the most attention. Nygårds vocals are pretty clear and you actually have an oppurtunity to hear what he is singing. The bas is audible at times but nothing special, really. The drumming is decent, going along the music nicely, though you do not really notice them that much.

So in conclusion, this album was a different battle, I've only heard this release by Turisas, but I've heard that the other two albums should be pretty good, and I am to check them out also, because I believe these guys can do it better, more mature and less chaotic than this. If you are looking for a bit different approach to the folk/viking metal genre, this release could be something for you, however I think there are better releases out there.

A Finnish party mixture - 73%

kluseba, May 25th, 2011

The first full length record of Turisas is a truly epic soundtrack for any Viking battle with a lot of sound effects, bombastic orchestra passages, and some folk influences. The band sounds like a mixture of "Ensiferum" and "Korpiklaani" with the overambitious bombast of "Nightwish", which is a very typical Finnish mixture. The problem in here is that the whole thing is quite overwhelming and repetitive after a while and one easily gets tired of listening to all those tales about glorious battles. Lyrically, Turisas are just slightly above the level of Manowar.

The most interesting passages are the joyful and harmonic folk passages that are hard to find in the band's others albums and which one can appreciate in tracks like the happy and catchy "Sahti-Waari" or in some passages of the epic tracks such as "One More", "Midnight Sunrise", or "Rex Regi Rebellis". These are quite diversified and well done, but have some problems getting to the point and focus on a memorable hook or truly addictive melody or surprising passage. I prefer shorter epics that hit right in-between overwhelming operatic stuff and the simple fist pumping anthems such as the brilliant "The Land of Hope and Glory". Some simple hymns such as "Battle Metal" are perfect for any concert, Viking movie nights, or role play game freaks that would like to drink some good honey wine from a Viking horn.

This album knows how to play with actual tendencies and take advantage of the rise of the folk metal genre, Viking history and mythology, and many epic history flicks in our cinemas. But they seem to follow a trend and don't always seem to be truly honest and original by playing this kind of music and play some very ironic tunes as well. The next albums would show that the band tends rather towards the progressive symphonic metal genre.

In the end, this album is enjoyable to listen to and even though it has a symphonic and epic touch, it's quite the same all the time and easy to digest. What we have here is a perfect record to have a great party with your friends, but is no truly ambitious metal record.

A good sountrack to any battle scene. - 88%

hells_unicorn, May 4th, 2011

Turisas is a creature of the late 90s. Like many other bands that play a similar blending of metal and non-metal styles, their self-coined subgenre of battle metal is a product of the merger of extreme and non-extreme styles underscored in the hybridization of melodic 80s metal and AOR with speed/thrash. Vocally the blend diverges a bit towards the Ensiferum concept of merging clean choirs with blackened screams, though the latter sounds a bit less extreme given the lack of darker imagery conducive to that style. But musically the true culprit that makes this over-the-top, Hollywood-like beast that is Turisas possible is Rhapsody (Of Fire), whose prominence in the late 90s informed a number of bands that didn’t fully subscribe to their peculiarly neo-operatic take on symphonic metal.

In the same respect, “Battle Metal”, the auspicious debut of the Finnish household name, is a creature of the late 90s, though its entrance onto the scene came as late as 2004, after the style had already been popularized by Ensiferum and company. Many of these songs were conceived well before its release date, and particularly the roots of the title song go back to the original 1999 demo, at the height of the Italian and Finnish symphonic power metal crazes. The end result of this album musically is a bit more in line with Manowar insofar as its metallic elements are concerned, including the blustery vocal character of Mathias Nygård’s gravely baritone, although the folk instrument additives will naturally be related to a number of outfits from Windir to Finntroll.

Song by song, the assortment on display here ranges from pomp-drenched to extremely pomp-drenched, as simplistic riffs converge with blatantly formulaic synthesized brass and string themes. At the center of all the consonant attention grabbing with a few rough edges is the title song “Battle Metal”, which is about as melodically tempered and simplistic as a standard German power metal song ala Freedom Call at mid-tempo, but with a nastier, lower voice. It’s the sort of song that probably could have been written by a number of bands from that era, yet something about the presentation just works in a manner that is indicative of the charm that makes Alestorm appealing. “The Messenger” and “As Torches Rise” convey a similar musical message, but with more of a flowing, faster feel and a slightly more elaborate set of ideas, including emphasis on keyboard and violin themes during interlude sections.

While the dominant concept at play here is basic songwriting with only a few individualistic gimmicks, things get a little ambitious and closer to the Rhapsody (Of Fire) model of the epic song. The particular case that pretty well proves this to be a serious band, and also by far the most fun and exciting song on here is “Midnight Sunrise”. The violin and accordion elements are played up pretty significantly; some dissonance is introduced that is slightly reminiscent of the band’s distant black metal roots, the vocal work furthers this by playing slightly on the old beauty and the beast cliché of operatic female vocals and a growl happy male voice, and the riff work gets moderately thrash-oriented and gallop happy, but the pinnacle point is that center stage, large as hell sounding chorus that is right out of the “Power Of The Dragonflame” formula.

Naturally this is the mere tip of what is a pretty formidable iceberg, but rest assured, this is one of the better albums to come out amidst this seemingly endless craze of meshing metal with folk music, primarily because the band doesn’t get too heavily involved in the latter and remembers to provide at least a sizable amount of the former. If anyone wants a somewhat slower alternative to Ensiferum (though this particular release is the most speed metal oriented of Turisas’ career thus far), and a less dark alternative to Moonsorrow, this is a good place to go. Make haste and set sail for distant lands, and may all stand in awe at the Varangian way.

Hakkaa päälle pohjan poika!!! - 95%

Crushader, December 23rd, 2008

Turisas is one of the first folk/viking-bands I got familiar with and nowadays a big name in this sub-genre of metal. Their first full-length, Battle Metal, is among the most impressing debuts I’ve ever come across. It’s a very diverse album containing rich features from many metal-genres. But the main point is clear: Battle Metal is what everyone can see from the name, music for battles and heroic acts.

On Battle Metal, Turisas offers you a tight package of aggressive and fast yet beautiful and flowing metal. They call (or at least called at the time when Battle Metal was released) their music battle metal and are widely considered founders of the term. In my opinion they may have been the first to use that particular term to describe this certain kind of metal but naturally there were many bands that could have been defined with the term battle metal long before Turisas. Still, Turisas stand side by side with the very best in battle-themed metal, which you can instantly hear when listening to BM.

Battle Metal is a blend of folk (and viking) metal, melodic black metal and even some power metal, all within symphonic framework. A variety of elements are mixed with talent to create a mighty atmosphere. Some people say that Battle Metal is incoherent at times due to many impetuous changes between song-parts. I partially agree and imo that is almost the only thing on Battle Metal, which hints me that Turisas wasn’t fully mature at the time it was released. Then again, those quick moves from passage to passage guarantee that the album doesn’t get boring. Folky guitar riffing morphs into straightforward metal assault which morphs into flute- or some other folk instrument-interlude and so on.

In some songs it is clear that the very changes build the awesome wholeness like in Rex Regi Rebellis. As Torches Rise, in turn, represents the aggressive side of the album as well as The Messenger. The title track is an epitome of heart-lifting war-song and the best song on the album with Among Ancestors, a great track drawing its power from the mythic lore of Finland. Sahti-waari is a brilliant drinking-song but also contains a proud pagan message. Katuman kaiku, a wonderful instrumental, closes the album with an unforgettable manner. That song makes me long for the pre-Christian times and almost brings tear to me eye every time I listen to it. In fact, there’s only one track on BM that is weaker and it isn’t even a song in the same sense as usually. Prologue for R.R.R. is a spoken introduction to Rex Regi Rebellis and while it’s atmospheric and Warlord uses his voice very well in it, it’s still a kind of a filler and track to jump over.

Mathias “Warlord” Nygård has an important part of this album’s (and band’s) awesomeness. His voice isn’t maybe the most honed but it fits excellently into Turisas’ music. He is able to express vast emotional dimensions with his clean and harsh vocals and truly sounds like a great warlord when it seems fitting. Jussi Wickström and Georg Laakso handle the guitars (and Jussi bass also) with talent and their playing never clash with the other instruments. Tude Lehtonen is a skilled drummer who blasts with fury or supports the melodies with soft beats when it’s proper. A special price goes to the keyboardist Antti Ventola whose bombastic trumpet-synths and subtly flowing patterns are a very major part of the album’s battlefield feeling. Also the quest musicians and a quest female vocalist have done a god job in polishing up the music. Lyrics on Battle Metal, on behalf of the obvious battles and wars, concern Finnish mythology and history. I’m especially fascinated by the tale of Rex Regi Rebellis, which tells us the story of a Finnish cavalry regiment in the 30-Year War. I dare to say that the highlight of the whole album is the yell “Hakkaa päälle pohjan poika!” in R.R.R. when the king has died but the brave Finns continue the attack with enormous fury and bright flame of vengeance. I don’t bother to translate that battle cry ‘cause it’s meaning is fully revealed to us Finns only but it’s a sign of the last attack against the overwhelming enemy. Fucking epic!

Besides the slight impetuousness there’s only one thing that disturbs me a little (sometimes) and that’s Battle Metal’s production. The problem is not the roughness of the music, that’s only a good thing and makes the atmosphere even better. However, the production is also kind of thin. The bass almost disappears at times and the drums sound hollow in some songs. Still, that’s not a big problem as you can see when looking at the grade!

I conclusion, Battle Metal is a glorious album from the past that takes you into the middle of the old, heroic tales. It is a vast musical experience and once again shows what Finns are made of (no, I didn’t mean cheese you asshole!).

They Surely Have Won The Battle.. - 100%

Cyconik, July 16th, 2008

Hailing from Finland, this outstanding band Turisas, has produced a fine folk metal (or self-proclaimed, battle metal) masterpiece. Upon my first listen, I was astounded. Utterly shocked at the sheer genius behind the album, I wondered how I could have been missing out on it for so long.

Every song is paced at wonderful speeds ranging from epic, victorious songs, to some slower ones like Land of Hope and Glory. The album itself is a concept album, engaging the listener, and sucking them into a fascinating tale of battles and celebrations of victory.

Turisas manages to marvelously blend a whole arsenal of instruments in order to achieve a truly unique sound worthy of the category battle metal. Accordions, Flutes, trumpets, and violins all add to the traditional sounds of metal. Chanting choruses are also found amidst the album, producing an atmosphere of an ancient military, fueled by sheer aggression and determination. It does not take a tremendous amount of effort to imagine yourself alongside your army, preparing for battle.

All of said instruments are played with a tremendous amount of skill. The violin is placed into songs with great talent, not overpowering, yet still prominent. Vocals are also extremely fitting too, sounding just as someone would who is leading their men into war.

In the end, if you decide to check out this album, prepare yourself to be whisked away to a land of victorious battles, tragedies, and a multitude of celebrations. This is a truly inspirational album, and I greatly suggest everyone to give it a try. It will NOT disappoint.

Highlights: One More, Battle Metal, Among Ancestors, Sahti-Waari

Just a little overdone - 80%

Sir_General_Flashman, February 5th, 2008

Turisas's first release always holds a little place in my music mind, but really it's a lot different than it's more superior later release. Lets take a look at it right now.

First off, lets put it how it is. This is still a great release, but the song writing is sloppy and overdone in it's images of war. As Torches Rise is a good example of the overdone part of this album. The vocals aren't very good, the keyboard plays the tune and the guitars do the backing riffs. The one part where the song changes isn't very good, and as such it isn't a very good job. Then the album changes to a much better, much more uplifting Battle Metal. With a better, more creative keyboard and the vocals change, the tempo keeps the same. The album is mostly made up of songs with a musical value a little less than battle metal. Although some contenders would be the high strings The Messenger, in which you can almost hear the tension, and One More.

The album has several lower songs as well, but it's not like they're trainwrecks. This album just shows how much improvement Turisas has had between the two albums and how much Turisas took the right direction in the Varangian Way. This album still makes me want to grow a beard, get into a shield wall and hack some enemy with my sword

Lots of potential, but lacks originality - 80%

Tale_of_the_Hellship, November 4th, 2005

This album is currently being praised as the best thing that has happened to symphonic folk metal since... ah, I don't know, since the gender has existed, actually. Well, is it true? Not really, and I'll tell you why. This is not a bad album, by any means: there are enough good symphonic bombastic moments in here to deserve an 82% rating, but except for those small progressive influences (most notably on "Land of Hope and Glory - the techno beat and the Hammond keyboard - and in "Among Ancestors" - that short goofy keyboard passage that comes out of fucking nowhere!), you won't hear almost anything that hasn't been done before by other Finnish and even non-finnish bands.

The Bal-Sagoth influence is really present here - the fanfarre-like keyboards, hitting you on the head and calling to battle, and the narrated parts are a true B-S tribute. Being a finnish folk metal band, their second major influence would, in a first listen, be really obvious: Moonsorrow or Finntroll. Well, actually it's not that obvious. That a plus for Turisas; they don't completely rip off their countrymen Moonsorrow or even Finntroll, like most finnish bands do. There is indeed a Moonsorrow influence - the way the guitars are drowned underneath the keyboards. However, Moonsorrow do it a lot better - as they sound a lot more raw and powerful, while Turisas keyboard-over-guitar-sound tends to get kind of bland sometimes. BUT! At least, they didn't rip them off! And that leads me to another problem with the album, the goddamn prodution. I'm not a fan of extremely raw production, but I also hate it when bands overproduce the sound in the album, and make it sound completely unorganic and even fake. You can notice that in Battle Metal, and it can kill the atmosphere at times.

Well, the way I'm reviewing it, you would think it's a bad album. It's not. If you like Bal-Sagoth, Moonsorrow, Thyrfing or any other band of the genre, this is definitively for you. The epic keyboards, the battle-like atmosphere, the generic but powerful riffage, the ocasional feminine vocals, the folky fiddle sections... and those slight jazz influences, from a structural point of view, create a quite interesting listen. For such a young band, they are on the right path; they just need to get a more defined identity.

I want a suit of armor!!!! - 94%

BorknagarCOB, March 28th, 2005

This CD seriously makes me want to suit up in armor and march down the street chanting. Turisas is classified as Folk/Viking metal and come from the almighty country of Finland. The band has enough instruments to start their own symphony, or maybe they have their own and just like to call it a war symphony?

The CD is damn near flawless. The recording is amazing, every instrument they used on this album shows they wanted you to hear it by never having anything being drowned out. The CD is titled "Battle Metal" and really lives up to that name.

The CD opens up with an intro called "Vicoriae And Triumphi Dominus" which really seems like it should be an intro to any war whether it be real or in a movie. Each song is laid out with great violin riffs, trumpet sounding brass instruments, amazing vocals that fit the viking metal genre great, epic viking chants, and anything else you could picture in a viking/folk metal band. Every song breaks something unique and new to the table. The 2nd track "As Torches Rise" starts out with an amazing epic intro and goes into those great raspy vocals, the song even breaks down into a dance style violin/flute combo. The 3rd track, "Battle Metal", also starts in an amazing epic intro, and it's completely different from the one you heard from the 2nd song, it also starts out with some clean vocal/chant mixtures before it goes into the raspy vocals. The 4th song "The Land Of Hope And Glory" doesn't start out with an epic intro, but still shows off the meaning of epic in different ways. The 5th track, "The Messenger", is moreso a mixture of the previous songs into one. The 6th track, "One More", which is possibly my favorite song on the CD, starts out very slowly and starts out with a mellow guitar and drum beat, while the vocalist sings in mellow clean vocals, then it just opens into a great folk song with some of the best chanting. The 7th track, "Midnight Sunrise", just randomly adds in some beautiful female vocals out of no where, and shall I say an accordian? The 8th track, "Among Ancestors" starts out with chanting and goes straight into an epic experience. The 9th track, "Sahti-Waari", I think this is where the Folk label for them came from, this song really makes you think of Finntroll and really wanting to dance. The 10th track is a simple prologue, and possibly a time for refreshments. The 11th track, "Rexi Regi Rebellis", yay more epic intros that lead into those pure viking sounding vocals. The final track, "Katuman Kaiku", is a really depressing outro song, it leaves you want more.

The reason for the 94. "Battle Metal" is an amazing CD and any fan of Viking or Folk metal should DEFINATELY have this, the only thing(s) this CD is really missing would be a faster or melodic set of guitar riffs, although that varies on peoples tastes. Something I know this CD should of had that i've heard from numerous Viking metal bands is the amazing usage of double bass kicking drums and blast beats. Even without those elements, this disc is still unique in more ways then imaginable. Not to mention this is one of the best debut CD's i've ever heard.

A folk/viking classic. - 100%

LifeInAFireBox, January 16th, 2005

{Semi-warning: I listen to folk/celtic music. That's folk minus the metal. And celtic, minus the metal. And I adore it, so this review could be 5 to 10 points bias.}

Giving this a listen for the third or fourth time, I found myself asking - could it get any better than this? Turisas is right up there with the likes of Finntroll and Ensiferum, in this genre - though, this CD has even one more over Ensiferum; this CD is extremely unique at times.

This, of any folk metal CD I've heard, probably has the most emphasis on "folk". Which is no problem by me - it's fantastic. While it brings you the irresistible urge to dance, it will also bring you the undeniable urge to bang your head. Also included, are some jazzy ... hm, I suppose you'd call them progressive parts. Accompanied also by very triumphent sounding brass instrument sections.

There are many instruments involved in the mix at times, and none are ever drowned out. The production is dead on. Their vocalist is also perfect for this genre - I mean perfect. He's harsh, raspy, and angry, just as a viking metal vocalist should be. His singing is very, very authentic and actually augmented to an extent by his accent. This CD just reeks of atmosphere and the olden folk feel. While bringing down the level of metal at times, it doesn't truly cease in being heavy, on the grand scale. Sometimes the guitar is not the focal point of the music. Quite often it will actually be the violin you'll find out in the front of the music.

I can't even tell you how catchy and sheerly brilliant these violin (and other instruments) folk riffs are. If you don't get the urge to dance - you're dead. Plan and simple.

Scattered throughout are dark, spoken parts - and they don't use that generic sounding effect on the person's voice to simply make it sound low, when they are speaking normally, as in Nightwish ... and some others that I can't recall at the moment. There is also the Prolouge of R.R.R. which is a great ambient peice with a spoken passage, which will do exactly as it was intended, and take you to the age of old.

Sahti-Waari will bring you a taste of something so folk, it'll blow your socks off. I'm not sure, but it sounds to me as if this is an actual old folk song ... I could be wrong. If not, it's very authentic sounding.

The musicianship and song writing here are on par with that of Rhapsody and Symphony X ... these are a bunch of talented motherfuckers. There are no complaints to be made with regards to the members' performance. The technicality and intricacy will blow your mind ... nothing so techincal and beautiful.

However, they've skipped right to that comfortable spot where many bands seem to be after their second or third release ... which, may prove a problem in the follow-up, because frankly, I cannot possible imagine the follow-up being any better than this. On an over-all, this album has great variety, and everything you'd seek in a classic.

Highlights: Midnight Sunrise, The Land of Hope and Glory, One More

If you even consider yourself the slightest fan of folk/viking metal, buy it. If you consider yourself a fan of metal at all, at the very least, give it a chance.

It is victory... or death - 88%

jaevlasvensk, October 3rd, 2004

Turisas’ first full-length, Battle Metal, is definitely comparable to the work of Bal-Sagoth, though it’s also very much in the folk-metal vein of bands like Ensiferum and Finntroll. This is not the most original album ever recorded, but it’s the combination of power and folk metal that makes it great–in fact, Turisas’ brand of music is just what they claim: “Battle Metal”. Harsh vocals, glorious horn fanfares, relentless synth action, bombastic group singing, folky use of flute, violin, and accordion... there’s a lot going on here. A big factor in Turisas’ music is also their willingness to experiment, which I’ll point out later.

The album opens with a brilliant symphonic piece, “Vicoriae & Triumphi Dominus,” moving right into our first metal epic, “As Torches Rise”. The horn blasting here is absolutely gargantuan, plunging the listener into the midst of a great battle in the northland. We also hear our first bit of folk-violin in this track. The title track is another great war epic, complete with more horn fanfare, brutal, raspy singing, and folkish flute breaks.

Now, here’s where we get our first look at Turisas’ willingness to take a step outside the normal boundaries of their genre, regardless of what those who are too “true” for their own good might say: “The Land of Hope and Glory” opens with a techno beat. A damn awesome one at that. We have an awesome melody played at first by flute and then by violin, and then on to the metal. The stuff here approaches the polka influence heard in Finntroll’s music, what with the upbeat guitar chords and distinctly Slavic melody. We also have another Finntroll element, the Finnish “joik” folk singing, backed by accordion. Fits in nicely.

The next track, “The Messenger,” open with an admittedly less-than-stellar synth-string intro... this kind of this has been done, many times before. Besides that, however, the song is plenty good on its own, and we get an awesome harp break about 2 minutes in, featuring some nice female vocals.

Oh goodness. Now we have my personal favorite from this album, the epic “One More”. After a nice folky intro, the song is moved along by more great Turisas elements; fanfare and violin melody. Once we hit that clean pre-chorus, though... things really start to get intense. The chorus of this song is nothing short of AMAZING, if this doesn’t get your adrenaline pumping, you shouldn’t even be listening to this album in the first place. This is Viking metal in its purest form, it absolutely possesses you to grab your sword and charge into battle. About 3 minutes into the song, however, the mood changes, the song reducing itself to a mournful violin solo over the sound of what seems like a gathering of soldiers. The next synth/guitar passage builds some tension, leading into a bouncing folk section with more Joik singing. The pre-chorus comes floating back soon enough though, and you know the glory of that chorus is coming back once again–“ONE MORE!” We’ll see you when we die, indeed.

“Midnight Sunrise” begins with a tense combination of synth and violin, bursting into some great speed riffing with violin twiddlings and group chanting. More female and group vocals, several accordion breaks, and various synth parts are spread throughout, making this another great song. After the song’s end, however, we hear the howling of a cold wind, and a distant, bellowed singing... Sounds like a warrior singing a lamentation from high upon a cruel mountainside...

That outro leads us into “Among Ancestors,” which is more of the same–but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I have to admit, the break at 2:55 reminds me of something out of a videogame, or an anime... something Japanese :-D (“at last, the moment you’ve been waiting for... now it’s time to fight or fall”). Once again, we have an extended outro–this time it’s the sound of a band (Turisas?) preparing to play at a small venue. We hear a little bit of polka, and we’re taken to the next song. “Sahti Waari” is overtly folk-metal, using more flute, violin, and accordion, on top of folkish guitar stuctures.

The prologue to “Rex Regi Rebellis,” while it might drag the flow of the album a bit, is a great adrenaline-booster for anyone who enjoys history and the whole outlook of viking metal. It’s actually quite deep, challenging the listener to look into the past, offering them a new point of view on it all. Once the prologue is through, “Rex Regi Rebellis” begins with a darker fanfare, leading into some more great folk singing. Later we have an interesting acoustic break with more use of flute, and immediately thereafter we dive back into intense metal. At about 5:25, we hear another one of Turisas’ experimental quirks–a slow, jazzy break, which lasts for about 35 seconds before returning to all-out metal assault.

Finally, we have the closer, “Katuman Kaiku”. This is a beautiful, melancholic folk song, which is eventually joined by epic guitar work for the album’s finale.

Again, this is not the most original music you’ll hear, as it brings to mind Bal-Sagoth at almost every turn, also conjuring sounds of folk-metal veterans like Ensiferum and Finntroll, but there is an energy contained within this album that is quite unparalleled. Recommended for fans of any of the mentioned genres, or anybody just looking for some wartime Viking metal.