By Laura Wiebe
A few years ago the DVD A Finnish Summer With Turisas showed up in my review inbox and a band I’d never heard of won me over with a few live performances, a couple of videos, and some entertaining midsummer and onstage antics. Since then I hadn’t heard much beyond a few interview clips in Pagan Metal: A Documentary, so new album Stand Up and Fight came as an unanticipated pleasure. The band’s sound is “battle metal” big, now enlarged by a backing orchestra, with the dramatic lulls and swells of an epic film soundtrack. Heavy on melody and muscle, the songs resemble a fusion of power metal and folk metal, playing off the best (and most fun) elements of both. Thematically, Turisas sustain their mostly historical bent with eyes turned toward Byzantium, though any storytelling takes back seat to the triumphant tone and exultant crusade invoked by the music itself. I could take or leave the “Supernaut” cover but otherwise Stand Up and Fight does not disappoint. The original tracks – from opener “The March of the Varangian Guard” to “The Bosphorus Freezes Over” – plus Jethro Tull’s “Broadsword” are more than enough to keep me coming back for more and persuading other ears to listen.