This is my favorite Tyr work so far. i have listened to Land, By Light of The Northern Star and How Far to Asgaard. you listen to this one and yo think, “yup, this is how it should sound. this is it, this is TYR.”
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
This is for those who know this album…perhaps you can help me…
After hearing this incredible song about the virtues of a hammer, I decided that I must own one myself. Unfortunately the vocals went by too fast for me to discern much descriptive detail about the hammer, but with “virtue untold” and “hold the heathen hammer high with a manly cry” how could I not own one myself??? And just listen to how passionate this dude is when he sings about it- it’s gotta be a pretty wicked cool tool. I checked Home Depot and Lowe’s, neither of which was able to help me. At least when I spoke to the pimply faced clerk at ACE Hardware he said that they might be getting a shipment of heathen hammers in the fall. That’s only a few weeks away! What will I do in the interlude?
The other songs on this album are impressive. Northern Gate for instance speaks of; you guessed it, a northern gate. One can only assume they mean New York, gateway to the world of finance and prosperity. “We have won the wars of late” I mean, that’s got Mergers and Acquisitions written ALL over it!
By the Sore in my Hand is a little disturbing. I know I won’t be questioning the sore in his hand. I don’t want to be decapitated because I questioned the sore in his hand. Could it be the result of a particularly vicious paper cut? No, no, I shouldn’t ask. His voice was particularly menacing in that song. It scared me enough to require a change of underwear.
I can’t wait until ACE gets a shipment of hammers!
Oh my. Tyr have done it, arguably better than ever. Tyr has always pulled together fantastic music, and while each album has it’s own unique charm, this one is currently contending with “Eric the Red” for my favorite by the Faroese quartet. Unlike what I found on the recent *slight* disappointment that is “Land” (keep in mind, “disappointing” for Tyr = “phenomenal” for many bands, folk metal or not) “By the Light of the Northern Star” does not have a weak moment on it.
The very recognizable traditional melodies and nonstandard time signatures that were so inherent to their previous releases are still present, utilized to their full potential; this is definitely Tyr. I think the thing that separates this from previous releases in some respect is the improvement in song structuring. Most songs really have a strong initial build and climactic epic passages that work well. “By the Light of the Northern Star” has a harder feel than any release thus far, and the power really permeates the music.
The drums are also more intense in this release than previous releases. Vocals are, as always, a main highlight, especially in the perfect harmonies (see “Turið Torkilsdóttir”), and the guitars keep getting better (see every single track)! Lyrics are thematic as other reviewers mentioned, and for the majority of us that don’t speak Faroese, the non-English songs are beautifully done and sound great in Faroese.
This is a must-have for any fan of folk-metal and is sure to be a classic anthemic album for pagans everywhere.
Favorite tracks: Turið Torkilsdóttir, Ride, Into the Storm, Hold the Heathen Hammer High
The Faroe Islands. Harsh, windswept, desolate. A frozen, treeless group of rocks jutting from the North Atlantic. A place not meant to be inhabited by man or beast. And then along came…
No mere humans. People left the beauty of Norway and sailed to new lands, not for adventure, but to provide for their families, to survive. The Faroe Islands were but a pit stop on the way to better lands, Iceland, Greenland, Vinland! But over a thousand years later the Vikings still inhabit the Faroe Islands. The true Vikings, the real Vikings, are still alive today and they are known to the world musically because of this group of men. This group of incredibly gifted men who call themselves TYR! All Hail the Mighty TYR!
Vikings and Metal were always meant to be together. There is a group of bands that blend the two and stand tall above all others. Amon Amarth. Ensiferum. Wintersun. Einherjer. Enslaved. Moonsorrow. Unleashed. TYR not only stands with these giants but surpasses all of them in authenticity.
The language of the Faroe Islands is Faroese. It IS Old Norse. It IS what the Norsemen spoke over a thousand years ago. It IS the language of the Viking and only TYR presents music in this language. The stories passed down from generation to generation in spoken form and song are preserved and translated through modern, epic, progressive metal. There is no one like TYR. Their sound is unique and genre defining. For those who have followed and admire this band you know this to be true. I don’t have to convince you. It is for those who are new to the band or the genre that I say all of this. Listen to this band. Listen to ALL of their albums. How Far to Asgaard. Eric the Red. Ragnarok. Land. By the Light of the Northern Star. All equal. All epic.
It is difficult to judge which album in a bands catalog is the best when all of their albums are good. It is usually easier to pick out the worst (St. Anger, Chinese Democracy, etc.). Again, this is nearly impossible for TYR. Right now By the Light if the Northern Star is my favorite. That may change over time but it is really that good. I say this particularly because of one song. Hold the Heathen Hammer High. As most TYR fans would probably agree, TYR has had an unofficial anthem since the beginning. That song was, and is, Hail to the Hammer, track 1 on How Far to Asgaard. It was the first song I heard by TYR. It passionately describes the ancient Norse, their struggles, their calls to Thor to guide them through their troubles all in 4:34. To me, though a completely different type of song, Hold the Heathen Hammer High is their next great anthem. It celebrates the pagan life, the pagan way. It is one of their best ever.
I have thousands of songs by hundreds of artists in every genre of metal you can think of. There are standout bands in every category who not only produce quality album after quality album but who define their genre. TYR is one of those bands. Please give them a try. I sincerely believe you will come away impressed.
There are no throw away tracks on this album but the following are my current favorites:
Hold the Heathen Hammer High
Into the Storm
By the Sword in My Hand
Hear the Heathen Call
oh, and it would be terrible if I forgot to mention TYR has THE BEST album art I have ever seen. Period.
I have a very expensive habit of buying music as soon as it is released in Europe. For one, sometimes the album doesn’t go on sale domestically for a month or more (incredibly stupid decision in this day and age of file sharing) and two, the Europeans often get much nicer, deluxe editions. Luckily the domestic release for Northern Star is just a week from the European date.
Well this week I received the new TYR album “By the Light of the Nothern Star”. This is TYRs second concept album (the first being Ragnarok) and in my opinion one of the best in their library. Erik the Red has been my favorite TYR album, but Northern Star is giving it a run.
For one, I love the concept behind the album. Ironically, By the Light of the Northern Star tells a story much like David vs. Goliath, where Goliath is the Crusades spreading a religion not through acts of kindness but through war. Singer Heri describes it best “The subject of the album will be the Viking age resistance against the christianization of the Faeroes.” For those that do not know, TYR hail from the Faeroes islands. The album poetically sings of the battle to hold onto legacy pagan beliefs, even though the crusades made this nigh impossible to do openly. Those who did fight were slaughtered as strength in numbers overwhelmed the small trading colonies of the Faeroes. In the end many held onto their pagan beliefs, though they did not practice openly for fear of being labeled a heretic and publicly executed.
Highlights of the album:
Hold the Heathen Hammer High – probably my favorite track
“Heathen Heart, Pagan Pride
Faring far, sword by side
Hold the heathen hammer high!”
Northern Gate – When I listen to this song, I think of the battle in the pass in the film 300.
“Show your swords! Drive them down!
Hold, my hoards! Give no ground!
SHOW YOUR SWORDS!”
By the Light of the Northern Star
Song is about how pagan beliefs/spirituality of Faeroe ancestors has all but disappeared in today’s culture, and
questions if it is too late to revisit spiritual roots.
By the Sword in My Hand
Great revenge tune. Protagonist goes after those who killed to spread their beliefs.
So this album is destined to be controversial and possibly labeled as anti-Christian. There is one line in the song By the Light of the Northern Star that is especially inflammatory. For me Northern Star is less about the spread of Christianity, and more about the yearning for a people to seek and know a spirituality that was taken from them unwillingly, by force and murder. History is filled with examples of religion used as a scapegoat to conquer. Your views may be different.
If you like TYR, this album is a must have. If you prefer TYRs album Ragnarok because of it’s continuity as a concept album, personally I think this is a much stronger concept album, especially musically.
Good stuff. Peace.