Turbo

Turbo is one of Poland’s most important metal bands. The band was formed in Poznań in 1980 by Henryk Tomczak, formerly of the pioneering Polish hard rock bands Stress and Heam. Turbo’s album Satan’s Cavalry (Kawaleria Szatana, 1986) is considered something of a magnum opus of Polish heavy metal.

Turbo’s intial lineup consisted of Tomczak along with Wojciech Hoffmann (guitar), Wojciech Anioła (drums), and Wojciech Sowula (vocals). The group’s initial sound mimicked much of 1970s and early 1980s hard rock, such as Black Sabbath. Turbo’s first release came shortly after the group formed; it was a single containing the tracks “So Many Years with You” (“Byłem z tobą tyle lat”) and “Deep in the Silence” (“W środku tej ciszy”). The early period of Turbo’s existence was marked by numerous lineup changes, eventually culminating with Grzegorz Kupczyk, who has been compared to Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, taking lead vocals.

In 1983 Turbo released their first full-length album, Grown-Up Children (Dorosłe dzieci), the title track from which is still Turbo’s most recognizable song. Trailing this release, Turbo began to play live more often, especially at music festivals. This early period, besides seemingly constant lineup changes, was also marked by tension with the group’s record label, who wanted the band to have a softer sound. As a result, Turbo’s second album, The Taste of Silence (Smak ciszy), did have a much softer sound, even as the musical structure still recalled that of Iron Maiden.

The following year Turbo released their seminal and highly succesful Satan’s Cavalry (Kawaleria Szatana). The next year they put out Last Warrior (Ostatni wojownik), this one under the influence of the early Metallica. This technical, thrash-y style continued with their next release, Epidemic (Epidemie), as the group was inspired by bands like Anthrax and Wolf Spider.

In 1990, after several key members abruptly quit the band, Turbo briefly went on hiatus. The next year, now with Robert “Litza” Friedrich on vocals, Turbo released probably its heaviest album, Dead End. However, the tumultuous lineup changes eventually led Turbo to commercial losses, and they disbanded again. In 1995 they played a reunion show in Poznań, which was such a success that the group decided to reunite once again.

In 2001, after a ten-year break from new material, Turbo released the experimental album Avatar (Awatar). However, the album did not do well. Despite a few more attempts at making a comeback, Turbo has never yet been able to rise to their former levels of popularity.

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Here is a live performance of “Satan’s Cavalry” (“Kawaleria Szatana”):

 

Lyrics for “Satan’s Cavalry”:

Miażdżonych ludzi przenikliwy krzyk,
Łamanych kości trzask,
Zbliża się ognisty miecz!
Szatańska kawaleria czarna śmierć!
Z rozdartym krzykiem,
Wciąż przed siebie mknie, zbliża się!

Ref.:
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść, szatańska kawaleria, czarna śmierć!
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść, dokona się okropna rzeź!
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść, ludzie, ludziom niosą śmierć!
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść!

Płonących ludzi przenikliwy krzyk,
A przedtem wybuch, straszny błysk,
Wielki grzyb!
Szatana histeryczny słychać śmiech,
Dokonał swego dzieła, cieszy się,
Kipi gniew!

Ref.:
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść, szatańska kawaleria, czarna śmierć!
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść, dokona się okropna rzeź!
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść, ludzie, ludziom niosą śmierć!
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść!
Śmierć, wszędzie śmierć, wszędzie krew, wszędzie krew, Krew!
Krew! Krew! Krew! Krew!

Ref.:
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść, szatańska kawaleria, czarna śmierć!
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść, dokona się okropna rzeź!
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść, ludzie, ludziom niosą śmierć!
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść!

W błagalnym geście wyciągnięta dłoń,
Diabelski tabun zgniata ją,
Zgniata ją!
Ostatni podryg i ostatni krzyk,
Zniknęła ludzkość,
Nie ma już nic, nie ma nic!

Ref.: x2
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść, szatańska kawaleria, czarna śmierć!
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść, dokona się okropna rzeź!
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść, ludzie, ludziom niosą śmierć!
Spalić, zgnieść, spalić, zgnieść!

 

Here is “Soldiers of Fortune” (“Żołnierz fortuny”):

 

Lyrics for “Soldiers of Fortune”:

Wśród ryczących fal,
Poprzez chmury i deszcz,
Płynie wielki galeon,
Poganiany przez śmierć!

Trzeszczą maszty i ster,
Rwą się liny i żagle
Ryk zawiei, szum wód
Śmierć nie zaśnie, nie zaśnie, nie zaśnie!

Ref.:
Galeon… Galeon! x 4

Jenijusz śmierć, już idzie,
Statek bierze w objęcia,
Niczym żołnierz fortuny,
Fale morza wciąż spiętrza!

Sternik wypadł za burtę,
Wicher zawył z triumfem,
Statek runął na skały,
Fale pokład zalały.

Ref:
Galeon… Galeon! x 4

 

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Zach Hicks is a PhD student in Comparative Literature at the University of Oregon. He is currently participating in SRAS's Home and Abroad scholarship program. His main areas of interest are twentieth-century Russian and Soviet literature, socialist modernism, and critical theory. Outside of academics his major interests are martial arts, the outdoors, and music. In Russia, he plans to continue to increase his language proficiency, to learn as much as possible about the Russian underground music scene, its tattoo culture, and to become a student of Russia’s native martial art, SAMBO.