Ah, the rich subgenre of viking metal. It lies somewhere in between black and folk metal but has a sound all its own, as its fans know all too well. And while I can't say I'm one of those fans, I can tell good metal when I hear it. Týr's latest effort, Valkyrja, is their seventh studio album and tells the tale of a Viking warrior striving to battle his way to worthiness for his beloved goddess Freyja, The Lady Of The Slain. Oh yeah, this is the real deal. And for a nice touch, Leaves' Eyes vocalist, Liv Kristine, joins lead singer Heri Joensen on the track The Lay of Our Love, lending a haunting beauty to the atmospheric opening arpeggios. Great stuff.
BONUS: The album has a really bad ass cover as well.
But ultimately, what's impressive is the cohesiveness of the storyline/songwriting and how it all feels like an epic tale being handed down to some new generation of Viking youth. It is said that the traditional music of the Vikings - none of which is recorded anywhere - is passed on through oral tradition and kept alive and well in Týr's native country, from which they heavily draw inspiration for their music. So, if nothing else, I must salute these Faroese sons for their intense national pride and sense of heritage. It doesn't hurt that this is some pretty bad ass metal to boot. Epic/Power metal fans should definitely give this a listen.
NOTE: This release also includes two amazing covers of Iron Maiden's Where Eagles Dare and Pantera's Cemetery Gates, should you doubt Týr's non-Viking metal related skills. Also, shame on you!
The Bottom Line: Týr has made a pretty solid concept record in homage to their Norse heritage, replete with all the staples of viking metal; thundering bass, torrential drumbeats, choral harmonies and lightning guitar work. And, yes, more Norse mythological themes than you can shake Mjölnir at. So, fans of the genre come and ride the lightning!
Tracks That May Cause Explosive Beard Growth: Hel Hath No Fury, The Lay of Our Love, Grindavisan, Lady of the Slain, and Valkyrja
- Genghis thinks Týr should write their own soundtrack to that new Thor movie...