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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ...Raise your flagons high...
Just in case you don't know, Varangians were 11th Century Vikings who ramapged southwards through the Baltic states in their quest for plunder and glory. Which means they weren't responsible for ravaging my great-great-great-great etc grandmother and aren't responsible for my 75% Scandinavian bloodline. So I won't be suing. Yet.

Those of you who regularly read...
Published on 4 Jun. 2007 by Mr. H

versus
2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good in Parts
I was drawn by the description of a blend of Folk & Metal which is pretty accurate, however, there is a distinct lack of guitar pyrotechnics just a chord based chugging. The keyboards can tend to dominate in some songs but with more and interesting guitar work this would not have been the case. The drums were pretty good until the electronic quadrupal kick-drum was...
Published on 6 Jun. 2007 by We ARE the Road Crew


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ...Raise your flagons high..., 4 Jun. 2007
By 
Mr. H "Mr H" (Embra) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Varangian Way (Audio CD)
Just in case you don't know, Varangians were 11th Century Vikings who ramapged southwards through the Baltic states in their quest for plunder and glory. Which means they weren't responsible for ravaging my great-great-great-great etc grandmother and aren't responsible for my 75% Scandinavian bloodline. So I won't be suing. Yet.

Those of you who regularly read my witterings will know that I have a full on allegiance to the glory that is battle metal and as the purveyors of "Battle Metal", the album, Turisas are right up there at the top of my particular pecking order, despite (or because of ) their folk metal leanings.. Sure the hurdy gurdy fiddle and accordian may be a bit much for some, but when they put their pedal to the metal, Turisas are as good as it gets. It's now 10 years since they first got together in the delightfully name Hämeenlinna and three since the epic "Battle Metal" was unleashed. This album is also hot (well, warmish) on the tail of their tour with Lordi which will have brought their name to a few new folks. Which means this is probably a very important album for the band.

And once you get past the furs, war paint and accordian solos, what you find is a very, very good metal band. Personally, I love the folk touches that bands of this ilk bring to the table, which is why you will find me flipping out to the likes of 'In The Court Of Jarisleif' just as much as I do to 'To Holgard And Beyond'. Taking in epic themes, Eastern European folk music and some crushing riffs, this is absolutely fantastic and will be firmly taken to the bosom of those who loved "Battle Metal". Raise your flagons high!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 1 Jun. 2007
By 
Mr. L. Skelding "Warlock Meister" (Wakefield, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Varangian Way (Audio CD)
Turisas, Finnish in origin, debuted on to the metal scene with Battle Metal, an album which will go down as legendary amongst folk metal fans such as myself. Now they bring us their follow up, an album which has a difficult to task to match its predecessor. Oh boy does this record manage that, wow.

Sadly the album only contains 8 tracks managing only about 43 minutes but trust me each of those minutes is worth its place on the CD. 43 minutes of epic, symphonic metal making you feel like you are listening to a film soundtrack but with the storyline incorporated with lyrics.

Turisas' debut album (Battle Metal) told tales of great battles and the activities surrounding those events which entered Turisas into their own genre of Battle Metal. The Varangian Way tells the story of a great journey as opposed to a great battle, yet keeps the epic elements which made the first album so successful. Constant time and style changes keep you interested while segments of opera and classical singing break up the harsh vocals of Matthias 'Warlord' Nygard.

This is a true masterpiece which will not only appeal to metal fans but also others who can see past the brutal nature of some vocals to see the beauty of this album. The day I got this CD in the post I listened to it fully a total of 4 times as I was instantly hooked. Buy it, it will hook you too and enter you into the growing legion of Turisas fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Magnum Opus of Heroic Metal, 15 July 2012
Turisas is, my favorite band, the one that introduced me to heroic metal, and for that matter, all Metal. The Varangian Way was the album that first introduced me to this genre and the hundreds of sub genres I love and hold dear now. And even after hearing hundreds of albums from so many bands, I always return to the first one I truly listened to and loved. The Varangian way is Turisas' second album following the folk tinged, aggressive but more than anything else, fun Battle Metal. Whereas their debut concentrated on battle, drinking and Finnish folklore, the Varangian way takes Turisas onto their historical route that would take them all the way through two albums. The Varangians were Scandinavians who went down the Eastern River Routes of Ukraine and Russia to reach Constantinople / Miklagard, the Great City. The album tells of this remarkable journey, from setting sale at Holmgard / Novgorod through portage, courts and rapids to their final destination to serve the Emperor at what was then the most impressive spectacle of the era.

The album being with Turisas' most renowned track aside from Battle Metal - "To Holmgard and Beyond", it's a pounding, epic and heavy yet melodic masterpiece of strong clean vocals, grinding guitars and the accordion and violin tinging the sides as the song progresses in sheer epic strides. It's a powerful opener and is best heard live as the crew of the Varangians set sail for their epic journey Southwards down the rivers. Track 2 is the seaman's song "A Portage to the Unknown" with choir like choruses and that orchestral feel in the backing as the men continue on thier voyage, carrying their boats on waters too dry and shallow. "Cursed be Iron" is an unusual track lyrically and is based on a mythology standpoint about the iron workers from the view of our narrating protagonist. It's heavy with rough vocals and the kind of mining atmosphere only countered perhaps by Rammstein's "Sonne".

Fields of Gold, the song describing the fields on the side of the rivers in Ukraine, yet also a track about the good things in life and appreciation, is fast, lyrically sparse (yet when it does come it comes bellowing out with a force unlike any other) and a great song overall. The next track is the somewhat strange and almost demented "In the Court of Jarisleif" with a vocalist that sounds like the Go-Compare man having an epileptic fit and refusing to shut up. It's an entertaining, whimsical and downright puzzling piece. And then we have one of my three favorites on this album, "Five Hundred and One". This track begins with a haunting piano melody before kicking in with heavy guitars and rough vocals. We then get a track which goes from tough decisions to roll call and eventually choir singing finale of sheer power that is only matched in the final track.

The final two tracks are "The Dnieper Rapids" and "Miklagard Overture" which are both two masterpieces, the former an atmospheric and frantic ride down the rapids with pace, orchestration perfectly delivered and rough vocals throughout. And then the latter is the epic of the album, Miklagard Overture, containing two female choir segments, multiple key changes and Turisas' first guitar solo - which after two albums in Metal is restraint unto itself (previously it was all done on Violin). The final track ends the album magnificently and with great prowess of Turisas' achievements.

Bonus track on here is Rasputin, the disco-metal hit Turisas conceived and has become one of their most popular live songs with its funky styling, excellent lyrics and manic pacing. So that concludes this review of my first and favorite album of all time, thank you Turisas, you delivered me to Metal, will never forget it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 7 Jun. 2007
By 
Rachel F-J (Edinburgh, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Varangian Way (Audio CD)
Wow. Discovered at Bloodstock, Battle Metal has been a mainstay of the stereo for 10 1/2 months, so couldn't wait until the new one came out. Not disappointed. While not quite as solid as Battle Metal, The Varangian Way is a corker of a concept album, following a group of hairy Viking travellers down to Constantinople. Holmgard and Beyond is a broadswords-in-the-air anthem, and Cursed Be Iron is a fantastic piece of Kalevala folklore set to some mighty riffs. If you're new to the exciting world of folk metal, I'd start with Battle Metal or Ensiferum's debut, but the Varangian way is essential listening for eclectic metalheads anywhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an Album!, 31 May 2007
This review is from: The Varangian Way (Audio CD)
To be perfectly honest im not the biggest metal lover im into more punk, pop punk and rock but this band has turned my head!

To Holmgard and Beyond is an awesome track and a great opening!

Cursed be Iron has to be my favourite song apart from TH&B.

I think it is so clever how they integrate folk music and metal together to make truly adrenaline pumping music, it really does get me "ready for battle"

Miklagard Overture is an awesome ending to the album, it combines the classic folk and metal very well to give you 8mins 18seconds of bliss.

My only real critisism is that there should be more tracks but most track so head for 5 mins or longer in length.

I have to agree with the previous review by julie it has to be listened to in sequence really rather that random tracks as it does tell a story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 31 May 2007
By 
Chris East (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Varangian Way (Audio CD)
Only released on 28 May so I think the review below was premature.....From someone who has loved Turisas since the release of Battle Metal. I have been waiting impatiently for this and it's worth the wait. Different in many respects to Battle Metal this is more of a concept album and needs to be listened to in it's entirety rather than as a series of seperate songs. More symphonic than Battle Metal, less heavy in parts, more prog rock than metal (but the metal is still there). A superb progression from Battle Metal, easily the best band in the viking metal genre. Favourite track is 'cursed be iron', but they are all great. To Holmgaard and Beyond!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love It, 1 Mar. 2014
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What I really admire about this record is the big effort they have made to make the music create pictures in your mind of the epic journey from the Baltic to Constantinople by river and land.

Holmgard- Catchy bombastic epic setting the scene with Hakon one of the men with thirty ships singing the songs. Brilliant sort of heavy guitar bridge complimented with a narrative voiceover.

Portage – Sailor song feel. You can feel them straining to pull the boat across land.

Cursed be Iron- Medieval sound, but I don’t know what its doing on this album. The lyrics don’t really fit in with the journey. Maybe they’re getting themselves some new swords from a blacksmith.

Fields of Gold- A whiff of whimsical Irish trad. The fields of gold are actually Ukranian wheat fields visible from the river. There’s a nice touch with the ominous choral drums to underline that they are now far away from where they started and heading to an unknown future. I can imagine them rowing below high bluffs on both sides of the river when these drums kick in.

Jarslief- A well earned night on the town before they get back on the river. Slavic accordian trad feel.

Five hundred and one- Haunting piano at the start followed immediately by rough shouting voice but it works. This is brilliant. The lyrics don’t tell us exactly what’s going on here. We are expected to read between the lines and its easy enough if you have listened to the songs that have gone before. They’re not fresh anymore, they’ve been through a lot, come a long way and Hakon’s getting second thoughts about pushing on to Miklagard and considering an offer by ‘ new friends last night’ to do something else while knowing that they only get one chance to run the rapids before having to wait till next year for the ‘favourable’ conditions to come again . The organ builds up the tension when he considers this. In the end after running everything through his mind including what they’ve been through so far, he decides to stay the course and the roll call is emotional because he realises the bond he has developed with these men on the journey and because they’re about to embark on the most dangerous part. So five hundred and one get back out on the river instead of five hundred.

Dniepr Rapids- The most evocative track apart from possibly Miklagard Overture.. The thumping guitars and choir for the rapids and the way they wind it down at the end to convey that they’ve made it through to the calm. The choir was a great touch here.

Miklagard Overture- One of the best things I’ve ever heard. The combination of melancholy verse and rough chorus vocals. And again the choir take a bow. The teasing guitar/synth bit conveying both the euphoria that they’ve pulled it off and the reward of the sight of a city that towered over any settlement they had ever seen before. .The lyrics describing the city. ‘ Astonishing colours.’ ‘The Greatest of the Times.’ The city was no longer that by the time it fell a few hundred years later but it had served its purpose and this song combines a mesmerising description of it in its heyday and the sense of achievement of the Northmen upon reaching it and the awe they felt upon seeing it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Real metal that needs you to warm to the music, 4 Oct. 2007
By 
Vidar Halvorsen "vrvlvnd" (Oslo, Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Varangian Way (Audio CD)
Half a year ago I discovered Turisas by a stroke of luck, surfing the Internet for new bands. I read about how Turisas impressed with live performances everywhere. After a visit to their web site I purchased Battle Metal and never regretted it. When first listening to The Varangian Way I was a bit underwhelmed and disappointed in it. That is what is called a first impression.

Having been so pleased with Battle Metal, I decided to give the album a chance anyways and I ordered it from Amazon. Actually it took some time for me to warm to the album. I think I played the album once before putting it aside. Then a month later I put it on again ... and again ... and again. Now I play it all the time.

This is an album I had to invest time in for it to really sink in. Now I think it is even better than Battle Metal. For more details about the album you should visit the band's web site, [...] where there is an extensive presentation of the album and how it is structured.

Some last observations: "Cursed Be Iron" to me has to be the ultimate metal song ever. The lyrics are superb and the music is top notch metal. However, if you prefer clean vocals, you should maybe consider something else, although the black metal-like vocals of singer Warlord Nygård are not as prevalent as on Battle Metal.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Romancing the Vikings!, 13 Sept. 2007
By 
S. Väpnargård "Auburn Raven" (Skåne Sweden) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Varangian Way (Audio CD)
I really enjoy the first album by Turisas, Battle Metal. But where it lacks in musical confidence and a fully fledged concept, The Varangian Way, is far superior.
On their new album the songs are grand and well orchestrated. The only component to bring me out in hives, are the use of the accordion. An instrument that in my opinion really is the Devils piano! And NOT in a good way!!The lyrics are full frontal flirts with long gone times of Viking grandeur. And they definately have a great sense of humour. Holmgard and Beyond is the strongest track on the album, unfortunately they have a much better mix not released on the album, but you can find it on the June issue compilation of Rock Sound magazine. That version would have been the iceing on the cake.
I have yet to see them live, wich will be fantastic. You can never have to much of a good thing! Turisas new album is an eclectic mixture of fun, folksy metal, eastern european intrumentation and a lot of musical elements that sounds like big, bold Soviet propaganda-songs. And that meant, in a good way!
Someone referred to Turisas as black metal, bah humbug! this is fun metal, with a twist!
I strongly recommend both of Turisas albums, had it not been for the accordion, it would have been 5 stars!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LISTEN WITHOUT PREJUDICE, 4 Aug. 2007
This review is from: The Varangian Way (Audio CD)
First thing, this is an EXTREME METAL album. The fact that the massively expansive music contained herein encompasses Finnish folk (violin, flute, accordion), Broadway-style AND Killing Joke-style vocals, heavy and Battle metal, is all grist to the mill. It's prog-rock for the 21st century cognoscenti of extreme metal - not for the masses. Important stuff is happening here; the hugeness of the sound, the variety of the musical genres will entrance the open-minded listener. The album's subject matter is a true saga - a concept album in the most real of terms, in that the epic story is one based on historical events - the 11th century journey of a band of vikings from Finland to Constantinople, inclusive of their trials and tribulations along the way. The CD lasts 40-odd minutes, but it draws the listener in to such a degree that time is not an issue here - content, however, is. Sit up, take notice and acknowledge that Turisas are here to rescue modern heavy music from a mundane future, but then realiize with an almost crippling sadness that "The Varangian Way" and "Battle Metal" are the only Turisas products available at present: join the saga - lose yourself in the voyage, buy the CD and you will not regret parting with the cash - you WILL want more!
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