TYR - The Lay of Thrym CD
Genre: Folk/Viking Metal
If you've been following this Faroe Island band's career path (and frankly who hasn't?) then you know that each successive release they've gotten more of a power metal sound. Sure they've still got the Viking Metal motif going, look at the goddamn cover artwork if you have doubts. Plus the title is taken from a section of the Poetic Edda which is a collection of old Norse poetry. And if that's not good enough for you then the alternative title for this is “The Fetching of Thor’s Hammer”. Soundwise they've laid down the "hammer" and moved onto a more epic sound and style. No complaint here but I kinda got turned onto em because of the campy Viking thing. From what I've read about em the whole Viking thing was cool to get em noticed but they were not into being pigeon holed as only that. By listening to this, their sixth full length, it's obvious their chosen path has always been to progress. You won't find any cheesy Viking sing-a-long cuts worthy of donning that plastic Viking helmet you've got. (FYI: Vikings didn't have cow horns on their helmets.) In fact the lion's share of The Lay of Thrym sounds like true metalized traditional folk. It's majestic sounding which might not get your fists pumping or beating your fake sword on your fake shield. Instead this is a great release to kick back and relax to.
For all of you Pagan Fest followers don't start to cry since there's some battle hymm revelry type cuts on here like "Nine Worlds of Lore" and the title cut. The latter cut has a decent galloping rhythm to it with a beat to get you going on your row-master. The opening cut "Flames of the Free" is epic and with a thrash happy riff, "Hall of Freedom" is similar. Heri Joensen’s vocals are pretty much overwhelming in that he sounds like that lone man crying out from the wilderness. Actually TYR have become epic troubadours of the Faroe Islands and probably one of their greatest exports maybe second only to Kristian Blak and whale blubber. On another note the song "Shadow of the Swastika" left me dumbfounded because lyrically it sounds like they're making fun of nazis with the line "Make sure you count me out of the ranks of your inbred morons. With your sewer gas and kiss my Scandinavian ass". On the other hand historically the British invaded the Faroe Islands during World War Two which prompted the Germans to invade Denmark which at the time the Faroe Islands were under the governance of. There's also the line; "The shadow of the Swastika by fools' fears now for far too long has been cast" which seems to mean somebody must be calling em pro-nazi which is not the case with TYR.
Whatever the case my be on a whole The Lay of Thrym is a extremely energetic release, it's very harmonious with great background choir-like vocals, "Hall of Freedom" is a perfect example. There's even a ballad, "Evening Star", which does not hurt since it's a folksy tune. But this release isn't without a few surprises and they're only available on the digi pak. Actually there's two surprises that both have something dedicated to Ronnie James Dio. The first is TYR's cover of "I" from SABBATH's Dehumanizer release. Heri Joensen makes this song TYR's especially with his great vocals along with the background vocals giving it an epic quality as well as Terji Skibenaes' solo which is not Iommi influenced. They have to do this as an encore in their live set which will get a crowd screaming "I,I,I". The second bonus cut is their version of RAINBOW's "Stargazer" with two guitars, bass, drums and no keyboards. Once again Heri Joensen's vocals are amazing and they twist the cut into a TYR version instead of simply playing traditionally. Another great release from this band.