Imagine a time when warriors strode the earth. A time when battle-painted warrior-poets sang of battles and heady feats of heroism, myth intermingled with fact, and romantic notions of adventure on the high seas sparked the imagination. The time is now, because so-called battle metal maestros TURISAS – named after their homeland's ancient god of war – are bringing back the old school. As in, 1000 AD. “This comes from somewhere deep inside,” is the only way founder and chieftain songwriter Mathias 'Warlord' Nygård can describe both his music and the inspiration behind it. “We play around with history, there's fantasy imagery there, but I hate fantasy metal with all those dragons or whatever. There's no substance there. We actually believe in what we're doing.”
Be afraid. With festival appearances across the board – Wacken, Tuska, Earthshaker, Party.San, Bloodstock, Nummirock, Summer Breeze, not forgetting an uproarious sold-out UK tour with compatriots Lordi – it was no surprise when readers of the UK's Metal Hammer magazine voted TURISAS 'Best New Band' in their 2006 Reader's Poll. It's because there's simply no one else like them. With 2004's debut 'Battle Metal', a thrilling folk-flecked tour de force, they already established themselves as a genre of one. Now they're upping the ante with “The Varangian Way”, the most singularly ambitious album of the year. Recorded at Sound Supreme Studio and mastered at Finnvox, this metal-clad 8-song battlecry is awash in epic themes, eastern-european folk, and an abiding belief in the almighty power of the riff. “We didn't do this the rock ‘n’ roll way,” adds Nygård . “The music was written around the story, to create a certain atmosphere and take you on this journey.” With stunning cover artwork by graphic artist, illustrator and designer John Coulthart (Cradle Of Filth, Hawkwind, poster and cover art for spoken word albums by writer Alan Moore ["Watchmen", "V for Vendetta"]) Varangians, in case you slept through your Medieval Scandinavian history course, were 11th century vikings who travelled southward through the Baltic and then east on an epic quest for glory. Awash in orchestral inspiration, stomping riffs and skewering hooks, this is what you want on your iPod when you're pillaging a village or plotting a new course through an unexplored continent. Sure, they have a violin and accordion player with a penchant for playing Slayer covers. And yes – they wear furs and war paint. Don't let that fool you. “Ok, people think this is crazy but there's a reason why it works. We aren't Lordi,” says Nygård. “There are so many interesting, inspiring old stories that are still connected to our reality. These aren’t just meaningless lyrics, we're telling a tale here.” With already confirmed slots at Download (mainstage) Graspop, With Full Force, Rock Hard Festival, Tuska, and plans for a relentless, take-no-prisoners tour already underway, 2007 is the year TURISAS take the world by storm. Join them on their quest, to Holmgard, and beyond!