Rockharz - 2011

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Turisas was, alongside Týr, the biggest name for me at this year’s Rockharz festival, and after the catastrophe that the Týr show had turned out to be (not at the hands of the band), I was really hoping my luck would turn as I awaited the Finns arrival on the Rock Stage.

After a taped spoken-words intro, the band came rushing out in full armour and bloody faces, scaring any potential foe with the bombastic track To Holmgard And Beyond. As it turned out, the band didn’t seem to have any foes at this festival; everyone present was happily singing along to the lyrics instead of turning and running with their tails between their legs.
This pleased the Finnish war machine, whose members were not only smiling from ear to ear as they played their epic tunes, but also put some extra energy into the performance. I stood closest to bassist Hannes ’Hanu’ Horma, and he was no stranger to seeking contact with the audience; while not taking some turns running over the stage or facing off against some of the other musicians, he was all too happy to stand on the edge of the stage and making us shout along, something we in turn were all too happy to do for him!
Now, don’t you go and think that the rest of the band was holding back just because I pointed this one man out especially; the rest of them were certainly equally active in their respective places (which they didn’t stay put in for long), and maestro Mathias ’Warlord’ Nygård was all of the time firing people up to do more, be wilder, be louder!
And so it was that when One More came on, he had the whole field jumping up and down so the ground shook, and soon after, when the band played In The Court Of Jarisleif, both the band-members and the entire audience went completely amok in a dancing frenzy which was out of this world. It was so wild in fact that when the next song came on, The Great Escape, Nygård had to wave a white flag (towel actually) of defeat to calm things ever so slightly down again...

Sadly, Turisas only had 45 meagre minutes in which to play, and so the end drew ever closer, and fast.
Even so, there was time for a special guest appearance, and to perfectly tie in with my other favourite of the festival, Terji Skibenæs of Týr came on. He was no longer holding a guitar though, it had been replaced by a bottle of vodka, and judging from his unbalanced swaggering, this replacement had occurred as soon as his own band had left the stage a few hours earlier...
Fittingly, the next song was one about drinking we were told, as Turisas began Sahti-Waari from their first album.
Overall, the set was very evenly split between the three albums Turisas has released so far, but what surprised was that they did not play the title track of the latest one, Stand Up And Fight, and neither did they play the opening track, The Varangian Guard, from this one; a highly unusual decision when you have just released a new album. Even though they were both missed, I was happy to hear the two songs they had chosen, especially so Take The Day!, and this only leaves me with something to look forward to for the next time.

At the end of the day, Turisas gave possibly the most powerful performance of the entire festival, even though the road hadn’t been easy for them; Nygård told us that all of their equipment had been stuck in the airport in Stockholm, and had only arrived some 15 minutes before the band was to go on stage!
For me, the only thing that could possibly have topped this was if they had had more time to play in; everything else was just perfect!


To Holmgard And Beyond
One More
Take The Day!
In The Court Of Jarisleif
The Great Escape
Battle Metal

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