OK, so the Discovery Channel has Shark Week. Pretty cool series about fish at the top of the oceanic food chain. For the Deciblog, we're officially calling this week (February 14th - February 20th) Viking Week. No, we don' t have the budget to film bloody reenactments, travel to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, or the Faroe Islands (though this trip would be all kinds of awesome, except for the inevitable Hákarl eating contest in Reykjavík.), or buy LARP weapons from Museum Replicas Limited. The one thing we do have is pull. That's right. We make the call and record labels and their Viking-themed acts jump. We strong-armed Enslaved into the Decibel Hall of Fame and an exclusive song for our Flexi Series. We then beat Amon Amarth in an wrist wrestling match to premiere--worldwide that is--new song "Slaves of Fear". And finally we caught Turisas with their pants down (NSFW!!!). Oh, Turisas. We simply sent Century Media the incriminating evidence and they happily supplied "The Great Escape", a rollicking good tune that has vestiges of the Robotech end credits theme.
Man the longboats! Sound the horns! Here's "The Great Escape"! [audio:http://www.decibelmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/06-The-Great-Escape.mp3]
But what do we know about Turisas or Vikings, actually? Only this. Mathias Nygård, Turisas's face-painted frontman, clearly has us beat on both fronts. Check out this explanation of "The Great Escape"! Dude knows his Viking history.
"'The Great Escape' is a song about the legendary Harald Hardrada of Norway, who is one of the historical figures featured in the story running through The Varangian Way and Stand Up And Fight albums. Harald was a Norwegian prince in the 11th century who was forced into exile and his path took him down south to the Byzantine Empire, where he made a career as a mercenary in the so-called Varangian Guard -- an elite mercenary force of the Byzantine army, which in those days consisted mainly of Scandinavian and Eastern European troops. He served from around 1034 to 1042, when events back home in Norway started to pull him back. He asked the Emperor for permission to leave, but it was denied. According to the legend he then summoned his men and snuck down to the Golden Horn -- the sound in the heart of Constantinople which was cut off from the Bosphorus with a heavy chain running all the way across it. They manned the ships and ran them heavily against the chain, so that the bow would lie on top of the chain, and then the men ran from the stern to the bow to shift the weight of the vessel and tilt them over the chain. Some of the ships broke in half, but some made it over, and so Harald and his men escaped and started the long journey back home. Later, Harald claimed the throne of Norway and while attempting to conquer England, he died at the battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066 which is regarded as the end of the Viking Era."
** Turisas's Stand Up And Fight is out March 8th, 2011 on Century Media Records. Order it here.