Album review: THYRIEN – Hymns Of The Mortals – Songs From The North

Massacre Records – Out Now.

The idea of working with a record label is still quite appealing to most young Metal bands out there, with the most eager ready to enter the best possible recording studios even before the ink has dried on their contracts.

Finnish Folk Metal quartet Thyrien had to fight harder than the average band to reach such a state of affairs. Having first formed in 2005, the lads released their first collection of songs in 2005 under a five track EP entitled “The Frozen North” and it took them another eight years before convincing German label Massacre Records to add them to their roster.

With a stable line up and label support finally at hand, the band entered D-studio and with the assistance of the producing duet Olli Mattila/Jarno Hanninen, they  finally brought to life their first ever studio album “Hymns Of The Mortals – Songs From The North”.

Like with most Finnish bands, keyboards and Folk elements play a dominant role in the music of Thyrien but there are many more sides to the character of this young band that one should expect to come across while listening to this album.

The lads are seriously indebted to Dark Tranquillity for the majority of the shredding riffs employed here, while the mellower guitar elements on offer could trace their influences as far back as the mid 80s and the works of the mighty Iron Maiden. Now, on paper, this all sounds as quite the deal, right?

Sadly, even though, Oskari Koivisto made a valiant effort in trying to get these elements to work together with the support of a variety of Death and Black Metal vocals, the end result leaves much to be desired.

The lack of consistency is not entirely the band’s fault, however. While technical and compositional skills are definitely in need of further development, both on an individual and a collective level, a lot of what’s wrong with this album has to do with the work behind the mixing desk.

Both the drums and the rhythm guitar could have benefited from a meatier sound, while keyboards should not have been as prominent as they are in the album opener “Vengeance Through My Soul”. What about the songs on offer, then?

The first half of the album consists of harmless but also pretty average compositions, such as “Deathwish” and “Eternal Journey”, taking a good twenty minutes to get to a track of significant weight and personality. Also suffering in terms of sound, but with a quality guitar melody, “My Victory My Defeat” stands out as evidence of what this band is capable of achieving when not stretched beyond its current abilities.

Sadly, the equally impressive “When The Horizon Burns” is sandwiched between the fairly average “Natures Rage” and the absolutely terrible “Tinasormus” – a cover of a song originally recorded by the Eurovision-hopeful Finn Janne Hurme.

If “Hymns Of The Mortals – Songs From The North” was Thyrien’s fifth studio album, I would strongly believe that there would be not much future left for this band.

As things stand, what we have here is a collection of songs which showcase Thyrien as a promising band – one, however, that will need to work pretty hard if it is to reach a level that will allow them to become serious contenders in their chosen genre.

Fans of Fintroll and Korpiklaani will most likely warm to this album – as for the rest? Well, you can of course approach, but with much caution!

John Stefanis

Rating: *** (3.0/5.0)

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