Review Summary: Turisas have certainly gained a reputation for being corny and bombastic. However, Stand Up and fight proves that they have the songwriting skill to back it up.
Turisas is a symphonic folk metal band from Finland that incorporates a very visual and battle oriented stage presence. Right off the bat you're probably thinking of one word, and that word is "cheese", and I can't really say that you'd be wrong when you make that accusation. They certainly are very outward with their appearance on stage as well as in their music, and people either seem to love that about a group, or absolutely despise it. A lot of it will probably depend on what you're expecting, and one look at the admittedly silly album cover will most likely give you an idea. It's the same style that they've had their whole discography, only seemingly bloated with more corny-but-catchy Viking ballads and war chants. Again, that is a good point. However, on their latest release, Turisas have managed to craft a surprisingly great symphonic metal record that succeeds in both vigor and charm.
Everything seems to just click into a solid nook of melody and energy. The starting track helps to set the mood with the guitars and symphonics booming foward for an in-your-face intro, and then takes advantage of the surprising tone its set by going into a more silent sort of marching anthem. From there, the chorus basically hits you like a wall. The choirs, the orchestras, and everything else just erupt into a cavalcade of magnificence. In a nutshell, the intro song was perfect for this particular record.
The rest of the band isn't all that technical, and the guitars usually stick with power chords, although some of the solos they have are really amazing. The vocals I admit could use just a little work, but to tell you the truth they don't really sound that bad. They fit the style the band seems to be going for and aren't really bad enough to the point where they're distracting. The choirs and harmonies are certainly really good. The drums and bass guitar don't stand out that much and are probably the two closest things on this album that I'd say are close to being bland, but again, it's not a big issue here. The guitars are pretty much the same except for the solos, and as said before, the solos are really magnificent at times. I guess they could do more in terms of technicality but I can't think of anything that would actually add to the whole experience.
The orchestras, on the other hand, are fantastic. This is some of the finest composure I've seen in symphonic metal in a long time. They add that much more to the music, to the point where I find myself listening to and humming along to the orchestral parts instead of the guitars. Turisas really outdid themselves in terms of songwriting and consistency on this album. Every song has memorable hook and riffs that will be stuck in your head for days. As far as perfect material for live shows, this is exactly the kind of anthemic song structure that gets crowds really riled up.
Even with all of these upsides to the record, there will still be people who don't like it. That's simply because it isn't their thing. While I think the symphonic melodies are mind-blowing, others will think that they're too overblown and silly. Same as how I think that some of the vocals are only a minor issue, others simply won't like the blatant image and unprofessional cleans that are present here and there. In short, this record is not for everyone, but listeners who do like symphonic and epic sounding choirs and bombastic orchestras and vocals, and enjoy fun and humorous music every now and then, will love this release.