Has it only just been two years since the Faroese progressive-viking metal act Týr released an album? Yes, and even two days from being two years exactly! Damn, it's felt like forever.
As some of you may or may not know, Týr was one of the first real metal bands (apart from Metallica
) that helped me leave nu metal and enter into the world of traditional heavy metal. As such, I am forever grateful for these four vikings, for starting me on "the Olden Path
" of both heavy and viking metal.
Okay, enough bollocks, here's The Lay of Thrym
I give this album 15 of 20 mostly because there are a severe lack of extremely enjoyable tracks on this album. Regardless, it is still an enjoyable listen. It's definitely a departure from the blunt, black-metal-esque lyrics of By the Light of the Northern Star
. If there's any cross-bashing to be found on this album, then Heri has reverted to the old formula from Eric the Red
, making the subject matter just beneath the surface, out of sight of a casual listener.
Perhaps one of my favorite tracks on this album is "Shadow
of the Swastika". As Týr has stated before, they have been plagued by false allegations of Nazism due to their usage of Nordic symbols. Here, Heri tells those who have been on their tail about such allegations what they can do with their false charges...
"You can shove the sins of your father
Where no light may pass
kiss my Scandinavian ass"
The overall tenor of this track is that the fear of Nazism has been carried too long, and while Heri and co. do not appreciate being associated with such, they do not support Nazism either. It's definitely one for the books.
Another strong track is the leaked one, "Take Your Tyrant
again, if there's cross-bashing to be found on this track, it's not on the surface. What we do find on the surface is about defeating those who have made your life hell and making them pay for their tyranny.
There's not much else to this album. As with Eric the Red
and By the Light of the Northern Star
, the title track of this album has almost nothing to do with the Thrymskviða other than just a nominal association. It really is sad, because, as we saw in Ragnarok
, Heri Joensen can really make the old stories of Nordic antiquity come alive. As the Thrymskviða happens to be one of the most enjoyable tales of Nordic lore, it would have been very good to hear it retold, especially in Heri's tongue-twisting brand of vocal/folk melodies. Apart from the intro, which sounds very much like "Torsteins Kvaeði" from Ragnarok
, or even one of the older, epic tracks of Eric the Red
, there's not much else to this song.
But wait! There are two bonus tracks that really grab your attention, and showcase some of our Faroese quartet's stellar skills. "I", a classic metal song from the Heaven
-era of Black Sabbath
, Dehumanizer album to be precise, has actually gone a half-step higher than the original. Though I usually prefer lower tunings, and Heri's studio-tempered high vocals reach a peak never before reached, even in Ragnarok
, it is thoroughly enjoyable. The second bonus track is another, even older classic, also sang by our beloved Elf
: Ronnie James Dio
" opens by show-casing the skills of little-noticed drummer Kari Streymoy. But once it comes to life, you'll be happy you did. Heri and Terji would make Ritche Blackmore and Dio
very proud with this faithful adaptation of the epic song from Rainbow
's sophomore album.
In the end, this album seems to have dismissed epic tracks for shorter, speedy, high-vocal tracks. I don't see how that makes it "power metal." There's nothing cheesy about this album, just much of the same that we've seen before: though that should be a good thing. There are a few good tracks in their foreign tongue, but those do not make up for the otherwise similar-sounding tracks. Who knows, maybe a few more listens will change my opinion on this album, that certainly did the trick with How Far to Asgaard