While I was still trying to find more from Týr, I suddenly discovered that they had a new album: Land
. October 30th stands in my mind as one of the best days in my life, because that day, my metal CD collection began, with the acquisition of this album.
Three years later, it's hard to really speak about this album. I played it so much in my high school days that it's almost become cliche in my mind. Yes, I loved it then, and though I'm more partial to Ragnarok
and Eric the Red
, I still drag Land
out of moth-balls to give it a once-over (though it's so horribly scratched now, playing it on my computer is probably safer).
This was the first time that I really learned that Týr was more than just a band that sang about Norse
mythology. The intro track, "Gandkvæði Tróndar", is riff with anti-Christian, or as I call it now, "cross-bashing", sentiment...but from a pagan view, of course. This same theme is taken up in "Ocean
", though from the atheist point of view of Heri Joensen. What I find hilarious, though, is that said atheist makes a reference to a Christian parable in the lyrics of this song.
For the moment you choose to believe
you're building your castles on sand."
I've always known that one cannot destroy an 'old regime' by using anything of it in their 'new regime', which proves my point that, as much as you want to burn crosses and write songs like "By the Light of the Northern Star", you're shooting yourself in the foot if you use the tools of your enemy.
But, all philosophy aside, I don't know what people have against this album. It's a very strong album, filled with hair-raising choruses, crunching riffs and folk melodies from the ages of yore. Even though I've played it unto death, "Sinklars Visa", a tale, not from the Viking
Age but from the 17th century Battle of Kringen, an actual event. Unfortunately, the music video leaves much to be desired (as you can see below). It's pretty much no different than their "Hail
to the Hammer
" video of their debut album, just without Heri shredding on the edge of a cliff.
As I've said before, Heri Joensen can really tell the tales of yore in an amazing way with his lyricism and domination of the tongue-twisting melodies of old. From fun-sounding tracks like "Gátu Ríma" and "Fipan Fagra" to the slow "Lokasenna", a tale of the "Lord
" being helpful for once, Heri really takes you on a voyage, one that is further grounded in its antiquity by the use of the original language. Speaking of fun, party-tracks, the bilingual "Brennivin" is a Viking
drinking song, a bit heavier than the usual folk-party songs of Korpiklaani
, but still as crushing and enjoyable as any AC/DC or Motörhead track. So pop open a Smirnoff
Ice, or beverage of your choice, and chant along with the IceLand
almost covers every track on the album. But I've still got the penultimate one, the titular track, to cover. Aside from "Ocean
" is the biggest of the two epic tracks from this album. I know, I use 'epic' liberally when discussing Týr. But you can see the influence from classical music in this track. Theme and variation is heavy here in this track, with the heavy instrumental passage from "Gandkvæði Tróndar" reused throughout the song. Even more so, we see a repetition of the theme of the titular track from How Far to Asgaard
, down to a lyrical tee.
"Still we've sighted only sea till now
As we sail, I sometimes wonder how..."
Then the final "...far to Asgaard
" repeated at the final repetition of this refrain. At sixteen minutes and seventeen seconds, brimming with lengthy solos, clean guitar passages and even Bathory
-esque atmospherics reminiscent of the Viking
tracks from Twilight
of the Gods or NordLand
" is a good, heavy and hard way to end the album and, if the band had called it quits then, their whole career.
To say nothing of "Valkyrja
" or the re-make of "Hail
to the Hammer
." I'll leave that to others. In the end, it doesn't matter if there are only two and a half songs in English, I can head-bang and sing along to any of them just the same. If you love long tracks, this album is definitely for you!