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On disc: Týr

By The Light Of The Northern Star - Jörg Petersen - 8 stars
The Lay Of Thrym - Mike Thompson - 9 stars

The Lay of Thrym

The Lay Of Thrym
(Napalm Records - 2011)

Tır is the Faroe Island's best know musical export here the progressive folk metal quintet present the sixth studio album. I first heard Tır back in 2006 when the band toured with Wintersun and Amon Amarth and I have to admit that I wasn't a big fan. The music was dominated too much by the traditional folk elements for my delicate metal sensibilities and I found myself getting bored of the first couple of albums very quickly. Things improved a little with Ragnarok, where I discovered a few more songs I liked but I didn't really pay much attention to the band until 2009 when By The Light Of The Northern Star was released. Whilst sticking close to Tır's roots this album had a lot more about it that I enjoyed. Overall, it was just more 'metal' sounding. In 2010 Joensen released an album with his side-project Heljareyga, which I thoroughly enjoyed and so I come to The Lay Of Thrym, an album I'm approaching with less trepidation than I once would have.

This album is a continuation of the Tır sound as heard on the previous album. Strong folk melodies combine with unusual time signatures and other progressive elements and Heri Joensen's powerful voice. This isn't your typical folk or Viking metal but I'm sure that most people know that by now. If you've not heard Tır before then this is a perfect starting point as I found it much more accessible than the band's earlier works.

Musically, all of the band members are excellent but especially noticeable is the fantastic guitar work of Joensen and Terji Skibenæs. Some of the solos heard on this album are absolutely stunning, even if not for the technical complexity then at least for the way that each one adds to the song.

By far the best song on this strong album is the title track. This is an almost-seven minute long song of truly epic proportions with great lyrics and vocals, a great, fast beat and catchy hooks. By the time this is over you'll no doubt want to play it again!

It took some time but finally they've won me over! This is a great album by the Faroes foursome.

9 stars

Mike Thompson


By The Light Of The Northern Star

By The Light Of The Northern Star
(Napalm Records - 2009)

I got this CD from a friend who thought it's time for me to check out Tır. So far I only knew the band from the Faroer Islands by name. I learnt that this is their 5th full-length album and that the band was founded in 1998 in Copenhagen. Okay, that's the facts.

Musically the four Faroese are based in Viking metal with some Faroese folk elements, traditional metal influences and epic parts. And with the opener Hold The Heathen Hammer High they present a fast metal tune which invites you to sing along. Singer and guitarist Heri Joensen don't use growls or high screams, he has a dark timbre and a powerful, melodic clear voice. I think they are even more interesting when they sing in their mothers tongue! Just listen to Tróndur í Gøtu, and you'll know what I'm talking about! Turiğ Torkilsdóttir starts with an a capella choir and so has something majestic. The song about Torkil's daughter - whoever she is - is a bit slower, but then they speed up a bit and the song becomes an up-tempo rocker. Only the long guitar part is a bit... well, too long. After another passage of the choir they lead over to By The Sword In My Hand. The drums forcing them ahead, but the vocals seem to crown this heavy metal tune. If you read the lyrics, you might expect them to sound cheesy, but they don't!

First I thought this is another Viking metal band who adds some folk elements and that they will be boring after a few songs, but Tır are different - and I was wrong! I will check out more of these Faroer Islanders and recommend you to check out: Hold the Heathen Hammer High, Tróndur í Gøtu and By The Light Of The Northern Star.

8 stars

Jörg Petersen


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