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On disc: Heljareyga

Heljareyga - Mike Thompson - 9 stars


(Black Bards - 2010)

Heljareyga, as I'm sure many readers will know, is the side-project of Týr frontman Heri Joensen. Originally this album was released back in February, but this October sees the release via Black Bards, Heljareyga's new distribution partner.
The name Heljareyga is inspired by a natural phenomenon in Joensen's native Faroe Islands, where holes appear in the rock underneath waterfalls and so on. These holes were seen to be passages to Hel. Such a strong tie to the myths and legends of the Faroe Islands immediately brings to mind Joensen's main band, Týr, and it is true that the sound of the two bands bears a lot of similarities.
Admittedly, having heard the first three albums a lot, I'm not a big fan of Týr. Its a bit too slow and too folky for my taste with the exception of a few songs. The latest Týr album though, Under The Northern Star, I actually really enjoyed. It seemed to be a little faster, a little more 'metal'. This is where Heljareyga comes in. Where Týr is based on the traditional folk melodies of the Faroe Islands Heljareyga is more about progressive metal structures and original melodies with a less pronounced folk base. Of course the sound is very reminiscent of Týr due to the distinct vocal style of Heri Joensen singing in his native language.
The five songs presented on this disc are all quite lengthy with even the shortest approaching the nine-minute mark. However, despite the length the songs actually seem to be a lot shorter! They don't drag at all. Each song is a finely crafted piece of work showcasing the high skill level of all five musicians with excellent riffs and some truly stunning lead guitar work being especially worthy of your attention.
This is definitely recommended to all Týr fans as well as to fans of progressive metal who fancy something a little different to the norm. It won't be to everyone's taste but even if you're not a fan of Týr it will be worth giving this one a spin.

9 stars

Mike Thompson


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