One of the biggest sellers from the Faroe islands is back. NO, I don't speak of sheep but of the Heavy Metal group TYR. After releasing their records "How Far To Asgard?" and "Eric The Red" in 2002 respectively 2003, there was not much going on around them until Napalm Records signed them and re-released their "Eric The Red" album with a new artwork in 2006.
But now, three years after their break, TYR are back with new material and a new album called "Ragnarok". This raises the question if something has changed but fortunately, TYR kept true to themselves and they still play their brand of typical, traditional Faroese-style Heavy Metal. Also the artwork is again mady by Jan Yrlund, who did the cover for the re-release of "Eric The Red", too.
Already the four minutes long instrumental "The Beginning" is one of the best intros I ever heard of. It's so often that an intro has nothing to do with the actual music but the heavy riffs and acoustic breaks serve for a great introduction into "Ragnarok". Songs like "The Hammer Of Thor" and "Brother's Bane" continue this way; sluggish but powerful. The vocals of Heri Joensen are as always and the polyphonic vocal passages serve for a great epic feeling.
"The Ride To Hel" begins also sluggish, with heavy riffs but it's mostly characterized by some wonderful guitar melodies and also the double bass shows off its talents. You may ask now why I haven't mentioned tracks like "Envy" or "The Burning" and the reason for this is the division of "Ragnarok" into eight chapters, each one introduced in a certain way. "Envy", "The Burning", "The Rage Of Skullgaffer" and "Gjallarhornid" are all completely instrumental and they all suit perfectly to the musical concept.
"Grímur Á Midalnesi" is then a Faroese folk song from 1966, composed by Albert and Martin Djurhuss (both R.I.P.). TYR wanted to do something of their own out of this 40 years old classic and put it into a Metal context and finally it works. "Victory" is made by a band called Spćlimennirnir and it's an interlude, where some musicians play in a tavern and TYR take over the melody to create the song "Lord Of Lies". "Lord Of Lies" is my favourite on here with its sweeping rhythm alike on the track "Ragnarok", while "Ragnarok" is more distinctive due to its choirs. The closing of the album is then a short outro, which joins right after "Ragnarok".
Thanks to TYR, now I don't have to plan my vacancies on Faroe Islands because after listening to "Ragnarok" I have a clear vision of Faroese landscapes but maybe I will reconsider my decision some day. As a side note I also wanted to say that it was good that Alex rated "Eric The Red" not with the highest rating because this left some room for improvement and "Ragnarok" is definitively a bit better.
(Online November 8, 2006)