It took three long years since the genial “Eric The Red” until the Faeroese from TYR got their deserved record deal with Napalm Records and are kicking off with a brand new record. And the newest export-hit of the Faroe Islands (and the greatest since the invention of sheep) is not at all disappointing! Once again with a Jan Yrlund cover (he already was responsible for the cool artwork for the re-release of “Eric The Red”), the guys round Heri Joensen created with “Ragnarok” a concept album dedicated to the Twilight of the Gods and the final battle in Asgard, which musically implements this complex story more than adequate.
“Ragnarok” did not become a catchy album at all, but rather needs some time to find the proper access. Does this mean that TYR have changed their style in comparison to their two former releases? No, not really, they have rather chosen a different approach here and there, which does not appeal from the very beginning but needs some more attention, which will be more than rewarded.
“The Beginning” is an intro or more a full-grown instrumental to begin with, which covers the whole spectrum from acoustic guitars to double-bass , before with “The Hammer Of Thor” they deliver , for me, a rather surprisingly voluminous opener, which took me a long time to find access to, not least cause of the very long chorus, endowed with unusual harmonies. But after the acoustic interplay “Envy” (the album has a lot of these interplays, that hold the story together) “Brother’s Bane” brings us a very strong mid-tempo hymn with a genial chorus, which impressively displays the potential of the quartet.
“To Ride To Hel” once again displays the trademarks of TYR, Heri’s characteristic vocals, the inimitable vocal harmonies and the choirs, along with heavy riffing, before “Torsteins Kvaedi” brings us a small hymn in Faeroe language, and “Grimur A Midalnesi” picks up a folksong from the sixties, whose melody is carried forth in the genial “Wings Of Time” which weaves into a really weighty song, which simply captures you. The same goes for “Victory”, which delivers a cheerful folk melody in a tavern, takes up the melody in “Lord Of Lies” and puts it into a sweeping song, which is truly bliss! At the end, the title track is another varied highlight with hymnal character and those incomparable choirs.
As already stated, “Ragnarok” needs a few runs, but holds the same charm as its forerunners, definitely shows a more mature band which is able to aptly assemble demanding and more complex songs. And I think, in the meantime nobody can complain that TYR don not have an own style. That was clear for me from the very beginning but with the acquired maturity the guys establish themselves at the top of Metal, no question about that! Why still not 10/10? I think they have not reached their climax yet… (Online September 20, 2006)