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Turisas are a Finnish viking metal band founded in 1997 by Mathias Nygård and Jussi Wickström and named after an ancient Finnish god of war.
Turisas combine elements of black metal and power metal with Finnish viking music. The album title Battle Metal has given rise to the term "battle metal" being used as a description of folk metal (used mainly by Metal Hammer magazine and its readers) but it is not a canonical metal subgenre. The label Viking metal is perhaps more fitting, as there are mild similarities to bands such as Amon Amarth and Finntroll.
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.
Turisas will be a part of the US Paganfest tour in 2008, which Ensiferum will be headlining, and will also include Týr and Eluveitie.