Týr – Valkyrja
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Hailing from the Faroe Islands, in the kingdom of Denmark, the folk metal giant Týr hit the metal scene with their first full length album in 2002. Over the years, they’ve become quite infamous for their Scandinavian pride, while standing against racial prejudices, and of course their anthem, “Hold the Heathen Hammer High” from By the Light of the Northern Star (2009) that quickly went viral. Their discography is a roller coaster of everything from a more raw form of heavy metal to more polished, epic metal with folklore and Norse mythology a common theme throughout. At this point in time, there really isn’t a bigger name in folk metal than Týr. They are preparing for the release of their seventh full length album titled Valkyrja. While many people complained about the signing to Metal Blade, it may have been the best thing to happen to Týr, as the band hasn’t seen near the amount of publicity in the past as they get now. Also assisting to boost this album into the vast, worldwide metal scene, is the addition of George Kollias (Nile, Cerebrum) on drums.
Kicking off the album is the track “Blood of Heroes” which was extremely promising to a fan such as myself. In my humble opinion, the band’s best album to date is still By the Light of the Northern Star, but this opening track is very reminiscent of that album in the drive and melodies from strings and drums. When Týr released The Lay of Thrym in 2011, I was worried that the band had lost the hook and epic sound qualities that I had originally fallen in love with on earlier albums, but the Týr I knew has returned.
The album is not a flawless album, as a few of the tracks are enjoyable but questionable.
“Mare of my Night” might as well be a late night “adult” special on HBO, which I am sure is an attractive quality to many readers, however I am not so interested in hearing about such things. “The Lay of Our Love” is a painfully obvious ballad, and while the songwriting is beautiful and the lyrics are sweet, there are moments in the song where the vocals of Heri and the female vocalist, Liv Kristine (Leaves’ Eyes), just don’t quite mesh well. Between these two songs however, lies “Hel Hath No Fury” which saves the day and easily overpowers them.
Other mentionable tracks are the hook-filled tunes “Another Fallen Brother” and “Into the Sky” which feature great guitar work, powerful lyrics, and moving bass lines. (As always though, the bass really could be louder in the mix.) The drum work of George Kollias is a breath of fresh air, as the man loves his toms and cymbals, and the small little flourishes he adds are perfectly timed and very much appreciated. The second half of the album as a whole is much stronger than the rocky start, and all of the songs warm my heart as a classic Týr fan. With the addition of two amazing cover songs, “Where Eagles Dare” (Iron Maiden) and “Cemetery Gates” (Pantera) this album is a release to be proud of. I love the beefiness that the lineup gave “Where Eagles Dare” and I was seriously shocked at how high Heri’s voice can actually go towards the end of “Cemetery Gates”.
To sum all of this up, Valkyrja is worth all of the hype it has been given, for the old fans, and for the new.
To mead, and to mayhem! Cheers!
Gunnar Thomsen – Bass
Heri Joensen – Vocals, Guitar
Terji Skibenæs – Guitar