Týr – Land (2008, Napalm Records)
- Gandkvaedi Trondar
- Sinklars Visa
- Gatu Rima
- Fipan Fagra
- Lokka Tattur
- Hail To The Hammer
Heri Joensen – Vocals, Guitars
Terji Skibenæs – Guitars
Gunnar H. Thomsen – Bass
Kári Streymoy – Drums
Produced by: Týr
Total Time = 1:08:28
LAND is my first listening experience with Týr. I had heard of the band in 2002 with the release of their debut full-length HOW FAR TO ASGARD but I really began to take notice when the band started to get major media attention following 2006’s RAGNAROK. I started to read up on the band and I saw that they were touring the U.S. on this year’s Paganfest. Not many bands from Europe, especially from the small Faroe Islands, tour the U.S. and generate a major buzz among fans, but Týr has.
Týr’s sound is a combination of traditional Folk and Power Metal mixed with Progressive elements. Some call the music Traditional Folk Metal, some Pagan Metal, but most use the term Viking Metal to best describe the Nordic and Icelandic themes that run through the music and the lyrics. Many, if not most, of the songs are sung in a combination of Faroese, English and Norwegian. For some this may be a turn-off but I find the different languages make the overall sound that much better. Language is a reflection of culture and an influence to the overall musical structures of the songs, using traditional rhythms and language adds a regional flavor and an exotic tone, especially to a listener in the U.S. that only knows English. Musically, Týr is technically sound. The guitars are really great and the rhythm section is tight but the vocals, especially the choir style, are particularly striking.
‘Gandkvaedi Trondar’ opens the album on a grand scale and is mostly instrumental with some vocals mixed in. I’m not really sure how this translates to the rest of the album because I think that opening with an instrumental can be a mistake. If the band is looking to establish a mood/feel to the album, then ‘Gandkvaedi Trondar’ sets it well. A grand Viking choir vocal opens ‘Sinklars Visa’ and it sounds great, it really hooks me in. It’s more of a mid-paced song with the non-English lyrics and the guitars are very heavy. ‘Gatu Rima’ is very similar to ‘Sinklars Visa’ but the song picks up pace a bit and the Viking chorus has a good hook to it, almost like a melodic traditional chant. English lyrics are mixed in to ‘Brennivin’ and the song is another mid-pace affair with a few quick guitar bursts. The are a few interesting drum fills as well as a very good solo section.
The 10 minute ‘Ocean’ is a solid track with excellent instrumental passages and English lyrics. Musically, it’s along the same lines as the rest of the album but I think I identified to it more because I could understand the words. ‘Ocean’ is a perfect example of the Progressive influence on Týr’s traditional folk style. The same goes for the 16+ minute ‘Land’, another Progressive song with English lyrics and exploring musical insturmentals. The Viking and Nordic themes to the band’s music are perfect tools to create musical epics and Týr has succeeded with both of these songs. The three songs between the epics (‘Fipan Fagra’, ‘Valkyrjan’, and ‘Lokka Tattur’) are very similar to the first few songs of the album. Of these three, I enjoyed ‘Valkyrjan’ most because it starts off quietly and slowly builds as the song progresses. ‘Hail to The Hammer’ was first released on the band’s debut HOW FAR TO ASGARD (2002) but it is included on LAND re-recorded by the current lineup. I’m not sure why this is relevant to the proper album but I’ll assume it’s to give fans an idea of what Heri Joesen sounds like on the early material from the first album.
For my first Týr experience, I really enjoyed the record. The band is technically sound and the song structures are very interesting but the Viking choir vocals are so powerful that they hooked me in right away. I know it might be a sticking point with some fans but I also liked the use of different languages on the album. When the band uses their native language, it adds that traditional folk element to the music, giving it variety and a uniqueness. I’m not sure how LAND compares to the first three Týr albums but I’m going to track them down because Týr has gained another fan. Now I’m kicking myself for missing the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival last month because the Paganfest played the NEMHF and Týr played live.
Favorite songs: ‘Ocean’, ‘Land’, ‘Sinklars Visa’, ‘Valkyrjan’