Ragnarok is the 3rd full length release by this great band. Tyr hails from Faroe Islands, a country whose current decendents are of nearly 100% Viking blood. The Faroese speak a dialect of ancient Old Norse to this very day. Those deep traditional ties are very evident in the music of Tyr. One thing that really sets Tyr apart from most other Viking/Pagan Metal bands is the fact that they do not do the screaming/growling Death Metal vocals at all. ALL vocals are clean, although many songs are sung in Faroese.
Their sophomore album, “Eric The Red”, was a bonafide masterpiece within this genre of metal, but many of the songs off that album were actually traditional songs that have been celebrated by the Faroese for centuries, not material completely developed by the band. While this album may fall a tad bit short compared to that masterpiece, I think it is a more impressive offering because most of the material here is original. This album is also somewhat of a concept album in that it basically covers the traditional Norse tale of the Ragnarok, the battle to end all time.
Besides the fact that this is a concept album, it also offers a lot of other “prog-like” elements like odd time signatures and songs that are very long, with many changes throughout. Tyr has previously been accused by some of being one of those bands where every song sounds the same… On Ragnorok, that definitely doesn’t apply. The songs this time out are much more diverse in nature, and they really push into different territory here.
I think the best songs on the album are: Hammer of Thor, Brother’s Bane, The Ride To Hel, Torsteins Kvædi, Wings of Time, and Ragnarok. Brother’s Bane would be my favorite track on the album, and possibly the best song Heri Joensen has ever written.
This band is currently touring North America on PaganFest and they are playing a criminally short setlist of only 5 songs. If you have gone to one of these shows and came away as disappointed as this long time fan was, please consider that they have a much larger bulk of quality material than only 5 songs. So, definitely pick up an album for a better feel for this band. I would recommend this album, definitely… Of course, if you only want one Tyr album, then “Eric The Red” is that album. Also keep an eye out for the new album, “Land”, which will be released the 2nd week in June, 2008.