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Týr - Hel CD (album) cover



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3 stars Although it took them quite a while to get their line-up stabilized, Tyr was officially formed in 1998. This Progressive Metal band is originally from the Faroe Islands. These islands, of which there are 18 large islands, are located between Iceland and Norway somewhere between the North Atlantic and the Norwegian Sea and they are self-governing but considered part of Denmark. This is mentioned because it can give you reference to their sound and influence. They definitely have the Scandinavian look to them and that influences their music.

The band has released a total of 8 full length albums and 2 EPs between the years of 2000 and 2019, but their line up changed a lot in their first few years until they were signed with a major label. Once their line-up stabilized, they would release occasional albums, but spent most of their time touring. In March, 2019, they released their 8th full length album called "Hel", 6 years after their previous album. Their current line-up consists of Heri Joensen on vocals and guitars, Attila Voros on guitars, Gunnar H. Thomsen on bass, and Tadeusz Rieckmann on drums. The album consists of 13 tracks and has a total run time of nearly 70 minutes.

Vocals are an interesting combination of growling/screaming dirty vocals and memorable, melodic vocals, sometimes changing several times in one song. The style of metal is clearly the Norwegian sound you expect, with a lot of melodic hooks in the guitars, plus a lot of great solos. There are places where they even take snippets of folk influences into their melodies, both vocal and instrumental. You will find all of these traits just in the first track alone "Gates of Hel".

Even though there is only one vocalist credited, the vocals are quite varied and even well harmonized at times as in the chorus of "All Heroes Fall", which also features a killer guitar solo. They even feature a couple of tracks with their native language, but most of them are in English.

The first four tracks are pretty much heavy tracks with quick tempos and melodic progressive metal, giving you what you expect. On "Sunset Shore", there is a bit of a break from the heaviness with the more ballad-like verses and slightly heavier choruses and even a "Michael Schenker Group" style sound throughout. After this, there is a return to mostly full-blast prog metal, continuing with the melodic sound but with hints at progressiveness with passages approaching extreme metal at times. There isn't much let up from the heaviness throughout the album, and by the half-way point, you are wishing for more variety in the music and that is the main weakness here. Even though the sound and music is well-produced, some additional variation would have kept the interest higher. But those that love the melodic Norwegian metal will definitely want to check this out. The two biggest pluses of this album are the changing vocal styles and the excellent guitar solos, but the biggest minus is the overall lack of variety.

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Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2019 | Review Permalink

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