Turisas is a Finnish folk metal band from Hämeenlinna. They were founded in 1997 by Mathias Nygård and Jussi Wickström and named after an ancient Finnish god of war.
Turisas combine elements of folk metal and power metal, with strong influences from symphonic metal as well. The album title Battle Metal has given rise to the term "battle metal" being used as a description of folk metal (as stated by Metal Hammer magazine) but it may not be a canonical metal subgenre.
On October 28, 2005, the 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 Mäkinen had become an official member. Laurila is no longer a touring musician for the band. On February 19, 2007, keyboard player 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 base.
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 in early August 2009 and also played at Bloodstock Open Air in 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 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 17 December 2010, the title track "Stand Up And Fight" was released as a free download on the band's website.
The band took part in tours 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 that drummer Tuomas "Tude" Lehtonen and bassist Jukka-Pekka Miettinen had both left the band. They were replaced by Jaakko Jakku and Jesper Anastasiadis, respectively. They also announced that they had started work on their 4th album, and that the album would be released in May 2013.