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Conor Fynes
3 stars 'The Lay Of Thrym' - Tyr (6/10)

The Faroe Islands are not a place that many know anything about, let alone that they are home to one of the biggest Viking metal bands out there. Tyr is a band that takes their love of Norse mythology and makes music surrounded by it, and while this is certainly nothing new for a metal genre that has been worshiping the icy gods virtually since its inception, their highly melodic and clean-vocalized approach to viking metal tends to send them apart somewhat from the legions of other Viking revivalists. 'The Lay Of Thrym' shows a band that is very familiar with their sound and the science of making Viking metal music. On that note, there is nothing new here that listeners of Tyr will not immediately identify with, but their legacy of catchy and melodic mythos-inspired metal lives on here.

I will make it clear from the beginning that Viking metal is not something I find myself all too enthused by, seeing as there are only so many albums and songs that can be written about the ancient stories. On the other hand, Tyr do have a identifiable sound to them, thanks largely to the vocals of Heri Joensen. It is not necessarily that his voice is distinct, but rather the fact that in a genre where vocalists tend to rumble and snarl, he opts for an incredibly clear, only slightly accented melodic voice. The music huddles around the vocal strengths of Tyr, as is evidenced by their songwriting. Although Tyr's songwriting gets somewhat tired by the end of the album, they do know how to write a catchy song, and the choruses to each of these will have you at least humming along by the end of it.

'The Lay Of Thrym' certainly is about being Norse and in no dearth of reverence for the old gods, but the thing that actually had me even just a little surprised by the album was the fact that Tyr was expanding their lyrical themes to address other issues. As one might expect, 'Shadow Of The Swastika' is about Nazis, and although a stranger to this band might suddenly think based on the title that Norse mythology is not the only thing that Tyr wants to revive, the band openly condemns the neo-Nazi movement, as well as all of the National Socialist bands that give metal a bad name. The lyrics are not particularly poetic- as anyone who has heard the song may agree- but undeniably effective. With 'Take Your Tyrant', they continue this style of good-guy lyrics, and while it is an interesting change of pace to see a metal band writing lyrics about things advocating the good and well-being of mankind (as opposed to its depravity and destruction), they usually are not particularly interesting.

For someone looking for upbeat, catchy, and even slightly (but only slightly) progressive Viking metal, Tyr's 'The Lay Of Thrym' may be a good album to check out. The album does not pass me as being great or excellent, and while the upbeat melodic nature of Tyr can feel a little too shallow for the album's length, there are enough strong tracks and originality to be worth checking out.

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Posted Monday, August 1, 2011 | Review Permalink

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