Metal Blade Records (Release date – 17th Sept 2013)
This is TYR’s seventh album and once again it plunges the listener into the dark world of Norse mythology and ancient gods. ‘Valkyrja’ is a concept album loosely based on the story of a Viking warrior leaving his women to head off to impress the Valkyrie on the battlefield so that she will lead him to Valhalla or to Freyja, The Lady Of The Slain, all epic stuff.
The music is more than a match for the heroic tales. The band manage to blend traditional folk and metal with classical flourishes to create a majestic sound. One characteristic of the band is the vocal delivery of Heri Joensen who has a distinctive narrative style which fits perfectly with the epic tales related in each song.
The album opens in fine style with ‘Blood Of Heroes’, a heavy melodic number which sets the scene nicely. ‘Mare Of My Night’ follows in a similar vein, the guitar work of Heri and Terji Skibenæs being particularly good here, solid riffs and great soloing throughout. Another track that impressed greatly was ‘Grindavisan’ which has a strong Norse folk influence, with big harmonies and a huge sound it has an almost religious feel to it.
To add a bit of light to the proceedings the guys have enlisted the help of Liv Kristine who duets with Heri on the track ‘The Lay Of Our Love’. This pairing works amazingly well and the track is one of the album highlights. The album ends on a fast and furious note with the band in full power metal mode on the tracks ‘Lady Of The Slain’ and ‘Valkyrja’. ‘Lady Of the Slain’ in particular romps along, it is easy to image the Viking warrior giving his all on the battlefield with this as his soundtrack.
There are a couple of bonus cover versions on the album as well for good measure in the shape of Iron Maiden’s ‘Where Eagles Dare’ and ‘Cemetery Gates’ by Pantera, both of which are excellent.
TYR have produced yet another epic album with every track worthy of a listen. As a concept album it is all you could hope for given the subject matter and the guys excel themselves musically throughout.
Without doubt, the best band to emerge from the Faroe Isles, I’m off to burn a longboat!
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