Turisas - Battle Metal (2004)

Posted By: lucky_boy84
About the album in general

The songs for the album have been written during a long period of six years – all the way since the fouding of Turisas in 1997. The songs are pretty much all the material we have, since I don’t compose 30 songs and throw half of them away. The ideas that are worth something end up becoming a song, the rest I forget. Still I don’t get the feel of a very uneven or scrambeled album (which could easily be the case, and unfortunately is with many debut releases) Listening through the whole album just strenghtens my opinion of Battle Metal being a very good and tight album as a whole in which every song has its justified place and purpose. To me Battle Metal is above all an album with good songs and compositions and fresh ideas – not that the production or individual achievements would be worth less either, but the thing that makes even me spend an hour listening through the whole album after hearing it thousands of times allready is 12 great songs and no use for the skip-button

01. Vicoriae And Triumphi Dominus
02. As Torches Rise
03. Battle Metal
04. The Land Of Hope And Glory
05. The Messenger
06. One More
07. Midnight Sunrise
08. Among Ancestors
09. Sahti-Waari
10. Prologue Of R R R
11. Rexi Regi Rebellis
12. Katuman Kaiku

01. Victoriae & Triumphi Dominus
The intro for the album. In my opinion it sums up the name of the game pretty well. You get this, here we go –feeling out of it.

02. As Torches Rise
A very straight-forward song and the undisputable opening track. I think I wrote the most of the riffs for this one sometime in 1999 and it has lived through some changes since then. I tired to capture some of the despair and the dark side of the fields instead of always riding into glory or whatever.

03. Battle Metal
A remake of “The Heart of Turisas” – a song we had already on our demo 2001. Even if the demo hasn’t reched too many people compared to who’ll be listening to this, it still would have felt kind of stupid to just clone that old song . Also, growling trough the whole song on the demo felt pretty boring and monotone to me, so on this we put in some clean(er) vocals on the verses.
A pompous Turisas-hymn so to say.

04. The Land of Hope and Glory
This sums up that old saying “the grass is always greener on the other side”. It’s about learning to value what you have, home-sickness and the feel about “going home” In addition, the song has even some views on things happening in the world during the latest couple of years.
Musically, it’s a pretty diverse song. The chorus is done in an over-bombastic style to fit the sarcastic content of the lyrics, the more folkish and epic themes in the middle are to go with that going home – feel. All the different atmospheres in this song – from looping to retro sounds – makes Land of Hope and Glory a very interesting piece in my opinion.

05. The Messenger
One of our oldest songs. The lyrical content about “The Messenger” is somewhat deeper than on first sight, based on thoughts on things like “fate”, religion and so on. A catchy song that makes you ride along the messenger. Atmospheric and big.

06. One More
The idea for the song and the violin themes are originally from an older song “Terra Tavestorum” we had on a promo sent out to a few people in 1999. We felt that we never got this Terra song working properly, so I took the good sounding violin melody and built up One More around that. A nice combination of folkish tunes, even slightly tsigane sounding ones, with an orchestrated and big chorus.
The story is located in tavern-surroundings, feeling sad about your old friends who didn’t make it. The chorus lifts up the feeling and makes you raise your pint ready to confront the battles ahead.
Basically a song to listen to when you need an extra kick in your arse to get up and claw your way through the battles of everyday life.

07. Midnight Sunrise
The story is a version of a trans-cultural and probably one of the oldest myths that is known worldwide. Evil creatures, who live somewhere under rocks and in dark forests come out to bait people during night-time.They can’t handle daylight which would burn them down or turn them to stone. I crossed this with the summer solstice, a phenomen very important to the old cultures in Northern countries. In Finland the sun is practicly up all night during that night in late June.

Midnight Sunrise is also an old song from 1999 or something, but was much more brutal back then. Now we wanted to bring out and underline the conrast between those evil creatures and the good and happy associations with the nightless night by using major scale melodies with nice choirs and the beautiful voice of Emmanuelle Zoldan.

08. Among Ancestors
A choir-driven song with a jolly feel in it. The lyrical content is pretty much basic battlefield depiction, but on the other hand it points out the reality on the field that your enemy soldiers aren’t just evil machines. Also they have families somewhere waiting for them and those are thoughts that people killing each other have to try to cope with.
Musically A.A. even has a touch of self irony in it. Specially towards the ending. Again trying to build interesting approaches by adding a somewhat happy and exaggerately glorious tune to a more serious text.

09. Sahti-Waari
Antti had this very folkish violin theme, and we agreed on that this should be a different song, a short one and more instrumental. I took the riff and built the rest around that succeeding pretty well. I wrote more lyrics to this song than I could fit into it, but we wanted to print those in the booklet as well to support the story, even if the language probably doesn’t make too much sense to the most of you.
The intro part with the bar noice is actually from an folk gig we did in a local pub a couple of years back, where we played only acoustic folk music. The feeling was so great, that we wanted to start Sahti-Waari with that same drunken feeling. The song itself is obviously a studio recording.
The name is Finnish and hard to translate wisely, maybe Old Man Ale or something. The story behind the name is that the Häme area in Finland where we come from is known for its traditions in making home brewed beer. Sahti actually means this type of beer, which is among the oldest beerstyles still in commercial production (brewed since 9th-10th century).
Vaari on the other hand actually means grandfather, but the song isn’t about any particular beer brewing old man, The vaari just stands for tradition. Another tradition, that was almost killed but is slowly lifting its head is the old pagan culture. By no means can it take the form as it had back then, the world being a completely different place now than it was for a millennium ago. But, as well as the Sahti is still brewed in Finland, a new generation is carrying the old pagan traditions into a modern world. Sahti-Waari is a song raising pints to all modern pagans around the world.

10. Prologue for R.R.R.
The text is the opening for the first chapter in the historical novel Surgeon’s Stories: Times of Gustaf Adolf by finnish writer Zacharias Topelius (1818-1898). It’s the opening for the whole giant three-piece novel, which begins with the Thirty Years War fought in Europe between 1618 and 1648 and ends somewhere in the Napoleon Wars. The text caught my eye the first time I read the book(s) and since then I’ve been planning to use it as an opening.
The tune is distantly the same as in Rex Regi Rebellis, but I wanted to avoid any direct melodies or such to keep the focus in the text. I love how the speech starts out of nothing and the noisy background (which I and Terje had some fun time making and recording) slowly grows into the atmospheric music and finally the female vocals come in – all very floating with a really epic and soundtrack-style feel in it.

11. Rex Regi Rebellis
I’ve been facinated by the Thirty Years War almost since I was a child – specially the Finnish cavlary, The Hakkapeliittas, who were feared among enemies and highly respected by fellow soldiers. Our first demo “Taiston Tie – The Battle Path” from 1998 was around the same theme, so this Thirty Years War –song has been a long project that has hanged with us since the day Turisas was founded.
The name for the song is taken from Topelius’ Surgeon’s Stories too. In the novel, the initials R.R.R. was engraved into the king’s ring, which has a leading role throughout the story. Rex Regi Rebellis is Latin and could be translated into “the king is rebellious towards the king”.
The English lyrics are my own and the Swedish ones are from another text by Topelius “Finska rytteriets marsch i trettiåra kriget” (The March of the Finnish Cavlary in the Thirty Years War)
Since Topelius was Finno-Swedish as myself, I wanted to use the original Swedish text. The pick also had to do with the fact that in the days of the Thirty Years War, Finland was a part of Sweden and so the Finnish soldiers and cavlary actually fought side by side with the Swedes.
I’m quite proud of the lyrical content in this song, since the RRR. has very deep aspects in it

Musically Rex Regi Rebellis is quite a big piece of work. The seven-minute song is written around a single simle riff Jussi presented to me and from that moment I knew that this would be the “Thirty Years War -song”. In the studio Terje and I had big disagreements relating to the orchestral arrangements. To him all sounded too “car-hornish” as he put it with the long horns and when I came up with the string section behind he couldn’t stand it anymore, since it was getting completely too messy according to him. It makes me smile now thinking back to those arguments we had, some of them ending up in just leaving the song and moving on to something else.
Well, after we had put on vocals and used days just working on small effects between the explosions and the jazzy part we suddenly were both going… “I have to listen to this part again.” And so we did, again and again. Suddenly this song Terje hated and I didn’t know what to do with, had become the one of the most interesting songs on the album. The orchestral arrangements suited the slightly stressed atmospheres perfectly. All the songs are dear to me, but if I had to pick an favourite song on the album, Rex Regi Rebellis would definetly be one of my top candidates.

12. Katuman Kaiku
“The Echoe of Lake Katuma” - Katuma is a lake in Hämeenlinna and the Finnish name actually means regret. Earl Birger of Sweden led the so called “Second Crusade” to Finland in 1238 or 1239 (or 1249 according to some sources) which was aimed towards the stubborn pagan tribes of the Häme region who had so far managed to put up a fight against the christian concuerors. The second crusade was successful and the people were converted and babtised to christianity. According to the legend, when the imperialist troops had left the region, the people ran into lake Katuma to wash away the babtisement they had been given and continued to live their pagan lives until decades and centuries after when christianity slowly started to take over in a more peaceful manner. This is how the lake got its name. Old pagan traditions actually never died out completely, even during the 19th century some people still did their sacrificing to the old gods after going to church.

A more campfire style of an outro, that grows into a larger soundscape in the ending. The original idea to have a guitar solo where the drums come in, but then I got this idea of trying out a recorder solo instead. The recorder isn’t precisely a solo-instrument, but I tried to play in style more common to guitar solos. We even experimented with a wah-pedal and distortion, but it didn’t fit the sound of the recorder at all. To me this sounds like the echo over that lake in the pagan woods of Häme region.