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