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For the longest time the country of Finland was known for its production of vodka.
Ten or so years ago, there was nothing going on a grand scale that would get this country noticed in metal circles, but now you would be lucky if you discuss metal with a fellow metal aficionado without mentioning some stand out bands that have come out of this talented country.
Turisas is a band that has been around for a little over ten years now and plays a viking/folk- style metal and I for one am a fan. This, their third release, is another great piece of work that shows the band growing in a mature approach that now encompasses a greater emphasis on theatrical songwriting. Although their previous outings could still be descrbed as "epic", it is on this album that they have approached the songwriting with a greater scope in mind.
Most of the tracks on the album have a theatrical/cinematic sound that would not be out of place in a swords and sandals/adventure blockbuster. Whilst listening to this a number of times, I was always taken aback by how much the arrangements reminded me of old westerns or classic pirate adventure films.
Had this been an earlier work it may have been given a higher score, but I do feel that they have stronger songwriting within the creative pool that would make metal fans raise their tankard with pride and acknowledgement, and also for the fact that the album is nine tracks long. However, the nine tracks that are on this album are killers.
This album, much like Nighwish's Imaginaerum, is to be enjoyed as an experience or a journey. They may not necessarily work as metal songs in their own right, but listening to this album I did feel like I was on a journey that the band asked me to come along, much like young Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island.
The last track on this album is a great bookend, for it gives the album closure and a feeling you would get after watching a great adventure film.
The standout tracks on this album, in my opinion, would be (in no particular order, as I love them all for different reasons) Stand Up And Fight, Hunting Pirates, and The Great Escape.
For fans of the band, I would recommend a few listens before condemning them for changing their sound. For new fans, this is a great place to start as this band has their own sound and the sound that they do have is one that resonates.
Check this album out, guys. As cheesy as some people perceive this to be, it is a wonderful example of metal crossing boundaries and creating something that is well-written and joyful.