The Varangian Way review by Turisas

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  • Released: May 15, 2007
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.3 (27 votes)
Turisas: The Varangian Way

Sound — 8
The Varangian Way has been three long years in the making, and is that most challenging (for the listener) of formats, a concept album. The concept is all bound up with a group of 11th century Vikings who travelled to the Baltic and then on to the east. I wouldn't have a problem with this at all, but, somewhere along the way, the glorious anarchy that was so prevalent in Battle Metal has been glossed out of the picture. Musically, this album is striving towards Therion in one direction and the symphonic majesty of Dimmu Borgir in another. Unfortunately, it all comes off a bit more like Andrew Lloyd-Webber. Somebody should certainly slap a fine on Warlord Nygrd for overuse of keyboards: far too many of the tracks suffer from overblown pomp. His vocal style for the clean vocals is too reminiscent of Michael Ball, there is nothing of metal left in this sanitised twaddle.

Lyrics — 6
And yet there is still hope in the darkness. There are pale echoes of what Turisas are capable of, and the accordion player Lisko, is still hanging in there. Some of this is extremely catchy, and the folk elements are well done. When Warlord Nygrd drops the need to educate, and switches back to the more metal style of vocals, this becomes a far more listenable album. The problem is that for me, there is no single track which I enjoy in it's entirety, they are all blighted to a greater or lesser degree by this desire to produce something that, frankly, Turisas don't seem to be comfortable with.

Overall Impression — 7
I must admit that this release has grown on me slightly from the first time I heard it, but I am still not as enthusiastic about it as I would have hoped. One of my main concerns is that I can't see much of this being performed live, and Turisas are a band who need to be seen live. This is not so much battle metal as airbrushed metal.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'd disagree, i think its a totally epic album easily as good as 'Battle Metal,' and they did the new tracks they played at Download fine. It's also not meant to be taken all to seriously i guess, any band that wears fur armour and cover themselves in paint really aren't making any profound statements, so dismissing it as 'sanitised twaddle' is perhaps too harsh.
    sure i have to admit this album is pretty good with songa like cursed be iron but it dosent hav that same feel like battle metal did
    Metalic Demon
    personaly i prefer battle metal, however the varangian way has more to offer in the differant styles of metal used, but i honestly do think they should go back to what they where doing with the likes of battle metal. the best song was probably "holmgard and beyond"
    turisas as shock the metal world and opened my eyes. i have realised there is more to metal than I thought! 10/10
    I love this album. It's easily one of the best I've ever heard. The songs fit together nicely, the epic viking-like feel just prevails throughout the whole album and the album just feels right as a whole. For those people who doubt that these songs don't work live: You're WRONG. Just saw them live a week ago and songs like "To holmgard and beyond" and "the dnieper rapids" were among the best songs played (along with battle metal and one more, of course). And please go see these guys live for your own good: they're the best band live that I've ever seen .
    lol, who saw these guys in myrtle beach on nov 23 with dragonforce? kickass show! tickets were $30, but i woulda paid $30 to see turisas and $50 or more to see dragonforce