Turisas is a Finnish metal band from Hämeenlinna.
They were founded in 1997 by Mathias Nygård and Jussi Wickström, and named it after an ancient Finnish god of war.
Turisas is known to play most of their solos on electric violin, as opposed to traditional guitar solos.
Since 2003, Turisas have been signed to Century Media records, which released their debut album Battle Metal in 2004. Then the band went on a European tour with various guest musicians on instruments such as violins and accordions.
On October 28, 2005, guitarist Georg Laakso was badly injured in a car accident and due to the extent of his spinal cord injuries, on July 12, 2006 issued a statement of his permanent resignation from the band on the official website. Nevertheless, the band continued to work on their second album titled, The Varangian Way, which was released in early 2007. Jussi Wickström recorded all guitars on the album.
Mathias Nygård revealed in the January 2007 edition of Terrorizer magazine that the touring musicians Hannes Horma, Olli Vänskä, Janne Mäkinen and Antti Laurila had been added to the band as full-time members, taking them up to an 8-piece act. It later turned out that of the two accordion players, only Janne Mäkinen had become an official member.
Antti Laurila is no longer a touring musician for the band.
On February 19, 2007, keyboardist Antti Ventola posted a message on the Turisas discussion forum announcing that he and the band had parted ways. This was later confirmed by the rest of the band. Mathias Nygård performed the keyboards on The Varangian Way and Turisas are presently using backing tracks to replicate them on stage.
In January 2008, accordion player Janne "Lisko" Mäkinen disappeared mysteriously in Amsterdam. For the upcoming tour dates in spring 2008 Turisas announced Netta Skog as a step-in accordionist. She had already helped the band on the European tour in October–November 2007. Netta was soon after added to the band on a full-time basis.
After a string of festivals in the Summer of 2008, in September the band started a long tour through the United States and Europe in support of DragonForce. This tour ended in March 2009, and the band then took part in a new European tour with Cradle of Filth and Moonspell, dubbed the "Filthfest Tour 2009", in April and May 2009. The band played at Wacken Open Air festival in Germany, early August 2009 and also played at Bloodstock Open Air festival in the UK, Mid August 2009.
The band took time off at the end of 2009 to make a new album and then planned to return as fully-fledged band no longer supporting others. In 2010 the band concentrated on finishing the recordings of the upcoming third album. Still, the band did a short tour in Asia and Australia in May 2010, including headline concerts in Sydney and Melbourne, two gigs in China, a gig in Shanghai World Expo 2010 and a gig in Japan.
As of March 2010, Turisas announced they were in the studio working on a new album; at that time, the band documented the recording process in a series of studio diary videos on YouTube. The title for the latest album, Stand Up and Fight, was revealed on November 11, 2010: the album was released through Century Media Records on February 28, in Europe and March 8, in North America. A new song off that album: "The March of the Varangian Guard" was performed at the band's Finnish gigs in October 2010. On December 17, 2010, the title track "Stand Up And Fight" was released as a free download on the band's website.
The band took part of touring in Mexico and North America with Cradle of Filth, the other supporting bands being Nachtmystium and Daniel Lioneye beginning in January 2011 and in Europe with Die Apokalyptischen Reiter from March through April 2011. Their England tour came with Crimfall as the supporting band, as well as other local supporting bands. 2012 saw them headline the North American "Paganfest: America Part III" tour with Alestorm, Arkona and Huntress in tow.
In November 2012, the band announced they had started work on their fourth album titled Turisas2013. The album was published on August 21, 2013 in Finland, and August 26, in the rest of Europe, while the UK followed on September 2, and North America on September 3.
Mathias "Warlord" Nygård – lead vocals, keyboard, percussion (1997-present)
Jussi Wickström – guitar, backing vocals, bass (1997-present)
Olli Vänskä – violin, backing vocals (2005-present)
Jaakko Jakku – drums, percussion (2012-present)
Jesper Anastasiadis – bass (2012-present)
Former live session musicians
Riku Ylitalo – accordion, keyboards
Wincef Boncamper – accordion
Antti Laurila – accordion
Janne Mäkinen – accordion (2005–2008)
Antti Ventola – keyboard (1997–2007)
Georg Laakso – guitar (ex-Cadacross) (2000–2006)
Ari Kärkkäinen – guitar (1997–1999)
Sami Aarnio – bass guitar
Tino Ahola – bass guitar
Mikko Törmikoski – bass guitar (until 2004)
Hannes "Hanu" Horma – bass guitar (2005–2011)
Netta Skog – accordion (2007–2011)
Jukka-Pekka Miettinen – bass guitar (ex-Ensiferum) (2011–2012)
Tuomas "Tude" Lehtonen – drums, percussion (1997–2012)
Robert Engstrand – keyboard (2011-2014)
Live session musicians
Robert Engstrand – keyboard (since 2019)
Caitlin De Ville – violin (since 2019)