As technology and intensified communication bring us all closer together, making the world seem smaller in the process, our need as human beings to look out towards ever-broadening horizons becomes ever more integral to our evolution. As a result, music fans will always look to the mavericks, the outlaws, the eccentrics and those touched by the hand of sublime genius for sounds and sensations that transcend the everyday and the mundane. This, of course, is precisely where the inspirational cinematic battle metal brilliance of Finland’s TURISAS comes in. Carving their own unique and momentous furrow through the European metal ecosphere, these proud storytellers and masters of the bombastic epic are poised to return with their most monumental sonic saga to date…
Forged in the flames of inspiration back in the late ‘90s by frontman and chief songwriter Mathias Nygård and his trusty sidekick, guitarist Jussi Wickstrom, TURISAS matured like a fine wine over a number of years before unveiling themselves with maximum drama and power on 2004’s landmark debut album, “Battle Metal”. A tour-de-force of epic, folk-tinged metal with a palpable sense of big screen ambition, the album struck an immediate chord with metalheads across Europe and turned the band into one of the hottest new acts the continent had witnessed in a long time. By the time Nygard and his henchmen followed their debut with 2007’s astonishingly intricate, deep and dramatic concept piece, “The Varangian Way”, TURISAS were unstoppable and garnered widespread acclaim and attention from the rock and metal media all over the world. Consolidating their reputation for musical greatness with a similarly explosive and eye-popping live show, the Finns have spent the last few years taking their music to the people, just as their beloved Viking ancestors strode purposefully across the northern Hemisphere many centuries ago.
“The Varangian Way came out in 2007 and touring on it kept us busy for a couple of years,” states Nygard. TURISAS toured relentlessly as headliners during this period, as well as supporting Iced Earth, Dragonforce and Cradle Of Filth/Moonspell in Europe and UK. Furthermore, they conquered North America with their fellow comrades in Ensiferum, Tyr and Eluveitie as well as their friends in Dragonforce. Additionally TURISAS were frequent guests on numerous European festivals such as Download, Sonisphere and Bloodstock in the UK, Rock am Ring/Rock im Park, Wacken Open Air, With Full Force, Rock Hard Festival in Germany, Graspop (Belgium) and Lorca Rock (Spain). Their native Finland saw them playing Tuska, Ruisrock, Nummirock, Wanaja, Ilosaarirock and Sonisphere, just to mention a very few. Last but not least, TURISAS managed to recruit new Battle Metal warriors on the other side of the globe during their first trips to Japan and Australia in 2010. “At some point I tried writing on the road, but it just didn’t work, so we knew that sooner or later we’d just need to stop and say no to all the offers that still kept floating in, so in 2009 we headed home and started the writing process. I had been building on a new concept and storyline already and most of the groundwork and research had already been done back in 2005 and 2006. I had a pretty good idea what I was to do when starting out.” Buoyed by the support of their ever-growing legion of acolytes, TURISAS return to action in the rudest of health and with supreme confidence driving them forward. The triumphs of old have all been documented and used as fuel to propel the band to new creative heights, and now, as 2011 dawns, the time has come to plot a new course and to unleash a new album. Now it is time to “Stand Up And Fight”.
“’Stand Up And Fight’ is a loose continuation of the story from ‘The Varangian Way’, and picks up where the previous one left us, in Constantinople,” explains Nygard. “However, it is not a sequel as such. In general, the songs are much more universal and deal with topics that can be placed just as tightly into the modern world as in the 11th century Byzantine Empire. ‘Stand Up And Fight’ has much more to offer the contemporary listener.” The biggest, boldest and most gloriously extravagant album of the band’s career, “Stand Up And Fight” erupts like the ultimate heavy metal musical, with many layers of orchestration and choral harmonies adding to these songs’ intense sense of drama and mischief. Although remaining true to the spirit of past TURISAS records, the new album, which was mixed by Jens Bogren (Opeth/Katatonia) at Fascination Street in Sweden, takes the Finns to a whole new level of depth and bravado, as their unmistakable sound expands before our very ears, consistently conjuring up vivid images of the Vikings’ ongoing adventures. “On ‘Stand Up And Fight’ the storytelling and flavour of musical drama is more strongly present than ever,” agrees Nygard. “The album also introduces some new flavours like ‘80s stadium rock. Unlike many other symphonic metal releases, the orchestration is rich in detail and has a lot of different moods, atmospheres and emotions to it. For the first time, ‘Stand Up And Fight’ features real string and horn sections played by some of the best Finnish classical musicians, hand-picked from leading symphony orchestras at home and abroad. I’m sure TURISAS fans will be surprised, but in a positive way!”
Obliterating the competition and, once again, affirming their status as one of the most exciting and fearless metal bands on the planet, TURISAS look certain to claim 2011 as another addition to their treasure trove of glory years. “Stand Up And Fight” is a lavish banquet of melody, muscle and haughty defiance; the sound of giant hearts beating out a rhythm for freedom, brotherhood and a horizon that never ends. “There are too many bands pushing out release after release only to feed the market and stay in the headlines,” notes Nygard. “In reality, there are very few bands who are able to avoid repeating themselves. We’re not here to please an audience or to write music according to what they want to hear. We’re here to be one step ahead and give them something they didn’t know they wanted. We’ve taken big steps with releases in the past, and this time is no different. So as long as the curve is upwards and we can do exactly what we want, I’m happy!” Another step on the mighty Finns march towards world domination will be their upcoming North American tour with Cradle Of Filth, Nachtmystium and Daniel Lioneye as well as touring (mainly) Germany, Austria, Switzerland with Die Apokalyptischen Reiter. Keep your eyes peeled for more dates!