These blood drenched warriors of metal are barbarians only in terms of their clothing. On the contrary, the Finnish folk metal band Turisas is very sophisticated in terms of their musicality. Epic sagas and symphonic compositions are coupled with tales of battles and voyages to foreign lands. Incredibly entertaining and great musicians, Turisas can be summed up in one word - epic.
Turisas' music is symphonic in nature, bordering on filmscore. They use rough vocals, have the traditional instrumental line-up as well as a violinist and accordion player. They sing about history, specifically about vikings and battle. One of my favorite things about them is their versatility and spontaneity. I've had the opportunity to see them live twice, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the violinist would play some of the keyboard parts from off the albums. He does an amazing job, too! They are great entertainers, when I saw them in the Sacramento, CA area in '08, they sang happy birthday to a girl in the crowd and played a "gay ballad" version of "Battle Metal" and started dancing with each other on stage in honor of their show in San Francisco the next day (oh, stereotypes... XD; it was still very awesome though!) Very fun, and one of the best bands I've seen live!
Their violinist is one of my favorite metal violinists, and is also a big proponent of the violin metal underground. Olli Vänskä has been an official member of the band since 2007, and has played on the albums Battle Metal and The Varangian Way. He plays electric violins both live and on their albums, and has three different violins: a Yamaha SV120, Yamaha SV-200, and Yamaha EV-204. He uses distortion on his solos, and uses a BOSS GT-6 multifx pedal. I really love his violin tone! The violins aren't in every song, and they aren't always given a prominent role either, so I have included a list below for your convenience :) The violins usually play folky leads or dramatic texture parts, or sometimes plays fast paced parts doubling with the accordion. He has really incredible solos, I highly recommend giving them a listen!
Recommended songs: "One More" (Battle Metal), "Dnieper Rapids" (distorted solo, Varangian Way),"Land of Hope and Glory" (Battle Metal), "Miklagard Overture" (distorted solo, Varangian Way), "Rex Regi Rebellis" (solo, Battle Metal), "Midnight Sunrise" (Battle Metal), "Sahti Waari" (Battle Metal), "In the Court of Jarislef" (Varangian Way), "Rasputin" (cover, Varangian Way)
Official Site: http://www.turisas.com
Olli's Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/geigeistkrieg
"Dnieper Rapids" live: