Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Way To Constantinople

I am rarely impressed by new bands these days, but ok, wow! "The Varangian Way" by finnish metallers Turisas had me at first note and I was frozen for the rest of its duration. Epic, symphonic, folk or whatever you want to call it, I can't find a single flaw about it. Adding the fact of its wonderful concept, "The Varangian Way" completes a triad of what we should call "ethnographic" metal (yeah, I just made it up!!), the other two members being Orphaned Land's "Mabool" and Solefald's "Red For Fire".
The variety and richness of sounds is amazing. Vocal-wise you will listen to clean and brutal vocals, choirs, the dry and acidic Martin Walkyier-variety, Viking bards and more. Folk instruments, of course, like flute and accordeon. Keyboards that use both classical elements and the majestic brass sound that would put Bal-Sagoth to shame. The guitar work, while not something extraordinary, is exactly as it should sound. Heavy and groovy but also melodic and a guest player when needed. You will even be surprised to listen to a small part of progressive experimentation that manages to not seem out of place at all, in the masterpiece that closes the album "Miklagard Overture".
The story of the album involves the adventure of a group of Northmen as they travel the Varangian way, a river route from the North to Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. This reminds me an excellent novel I read, Stephen Lawhead's "Byzantium" , as such an adventure is central to it! Like the book, Turisas's album is an adventure in on the post's title to experience it in full!

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