In 1999 THYRFING already released 3 albums, their self-titled debut, a 7” EP and the much-praised “Valdr Galga” album. Their label, Hammerheart then had the excellent idea of releasing the demo material on a limited CD, which is what we have here: “Hednaland”.
I say excellent because the material on this CD is absolutely brilliant! Their demo’s sound completely different from their latest offering “Vansinnesvisor”. Instead there are lots of influences from almighty BATHORY to be found here. Every song has beautiful, grand, majestic yet simple keyboard patterns that give the music a mighty epic feeling and take you back to the age of the Vikings. Which is after all what Viking Metal should do eh? And this album succeeds like no other. What is also very remarkable are the vocals, they are raw and grim, very different from other THYRFING albums. Especially on the last 4 tracks when the vocals are done by drummer Jocke Kristensson. What makes these vocals sound great too is the small echoing effect that you hear, this of course adds to the epic-ness. The guitars are very distorted and the riffs are pretty slow and serene.
Even though I consider every track on this album a Viking Metal classic there are a few songs that exceed the average brilliance. The best track is “Fard Mot Thrudvang”; the keyboard melodies are out of this world and the whole atmosphere on that song is superb. The other above average song is “Slaget”, again, brilliant melodies and the vocals carry so much cold emotion, are so raw, so fantastic… Add to that the great chants of “Odin!” throughout the song and you have another great song.
This is by far the best demo material that I have ever witnessed; it even exceeds some of their later full-length albums! The only bad thing I can mention is that it is too damn short, although it has 10 tracks; the playing time is less then half an hour. Every track is a two to three minute masterpiece with a distinct epic melody. If you like Viking Metal and you don’t have this CD, bow your head in shame and buy it as soon as you’re done doing that. Heck, I even daresay it is an essential purchase for every metal fan! Only master Quorthon can rival with this…
SUPERB! (And apologies for the excessive praising) (Online February 12, 2004)