So often we hear about the so-called Viking Metal but really it is just Black Metal or Death Metal with Viking Themes. Tyr, on the other hand, is music that the vikings actually would have listened to. In fact, about half of the songs on this album that are traditional folk songs played on modern instruments with some killer guitar solos thrown it. Even the ones that are original like “The Edge” (which defines their sound), “Rainbow Warrior” (delightfully Hippie-bashing), or “Dreams” (which describes every Heathen’s experiences) draw upon these folk-musical structures. This whole album is a remarkable musical synthesis.
The Faroe Islands’ lone metal band, TYR have also produced the island’s best-selling album, now finally available domestically. Few Viking metal bands can compare to TYR’s classy style: stirring choruses, catchy melodies, lyrics sung in Faroese (a derivative of Old Norse) and triumphant guitar harmonies. Influenced by tradition and free of kitsch, TYR usher in a new era of sophistication!
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I generally have mixed feelings about folk metal. On the one hand, I appreciate the melancholic and dark folk-tinged metal stylings of Primordial, Drudkh, or even Agalloch. I also like the more energetic folky metal of old Amorphis. But the boppy polka metal of Finntroll and others leaves me cold. Tyr, however, while being closer to Finntroll than Primordial, are not only listenable but enjoyable. First of all, it’s fun that half their lyrics are in Faeroese. Second, I like that their song structures are a bit more complex than your standard folk metal band. And third, I like the sung vocald and solid musicianship. Sure, the CD gets a little same-y after a while, but it does contain some great songs (the first track especially is addictive) and is a worthwhile purchase for anybody into this subgenre of metal.
I first discovered TÝR upon watching the music video for ‘Regin Smiður’ (track 2) and I was instantly hooked. TÝR is possibly the finest in Viking/folk metal out there, as they not only deliver excellent musicianship and beautiful melodies with crushing metal riffs, but they aren’t below mixing jazz and classical elements into their music (examples: ‘Eric the Red’, intro to ‘Rainbow Warrior’).
TÝR is a refreshing change from the tradition of European bands who sing exclusively in English – some of the songs are Færoese, with one in Danish. Keeping in mind their heritage, TÝR has updated some old folk songs (‘Ramund Hin Unge’, ‘The Wild Rover’, ‘Stýrisvølurin’) and given them a progressive metal makeover, so to speak. If Dream Theater wore chainmail and drank mead, they would probably turn into TÝR. ‘Eric the Red’ has a good measure of time signature changes, odd meters, and instrumental technicality, but nothing that detracts from its base in Viking lore. It’s definitely a hard-hitting metal album, so prepare to be rocked!
‘Eric the Red’ is definitely a change from ‘How Far to Asgaard’ in that the songs on ‘EtR’ have a much faster pace, and the overall sound quality is greatly improved. There’s no single outstanding track, as each one has parts that really stand out. This album is a must-buy for anyone who loves metal, Scandinavian lore, or just an album with a sense of adventure.
First I must say that Tyr’s “Eric the Red” and Opeth’s “Morningrise” are imo, the absolute 2 best Metal albums ever created. In this genre of Viking Metal, the only other band that tops Tyr is Enslaved. On this, their second album Tyr demonstrate brilliant songwriting and instrumental skill. They are making this genre incredible. There are so many metal bands out there, and I’ve listened to hundreds. But, Tyr are way ahead of every one of them. These kinds of albums come along maybe once every 10 yrs. Their latest “Ragnarok is also a great slab of Metal. You must check this band out, Pronto!!!!!!!!!!
I can’t say enough good things about this album. I think I listened to it at least once or twice every day for the first 4 months or so that I owned it. It still gets played at least once a week more than 8 months later. This is one of those CDs that you feel like purchasing multiple copies of, just in case one is damaged somewhere down the road. With “Eric the Red,” Tyr has crafted an album that will appeal not only to fans of viking and folk metal, but to metal in general. Listeners who may be turned off by the harsh vocals found in many metal bands these days can rest assured that there’s nary a scream or growl to be heard on this release. What you get are ten outstanding tracks ranging from an excellent and very fun rendition of the traditional folk song “The Wild Rover,” to the absolutely stunning “The Edge”–my vote for one of the best metal songs EVER. I love the way the band has incorporated both English and Faeroese lyrics into this song and the absolutely seemless manner in which it is carried out. Other songs are sung almost entirely in English or the bands native Faeroese. Tyr has two other releases that I’m aware of (“Ragnarok” and “How Far To Aasgard”) and while both are excellent, neither can hold a candle to “Eric the Red.” A mandatory purchase for anyone interested in the viking/folk metal genres, and an essential one for anyone else who cares about metal music in general.