• Týr - Hel (2019)

    It took Faroese heavy metal band Týr five and a half years to release a follow-up to critically acclaimed predecessor Valkyrja. This might have been due to extended touring activities, two important line-up changes on drums and guitars and the fact that the group got unfairly boycotted by extremist environmentalists who attacked the lead singer for honouring his cultural heritage, exposing themselves as closed-minded radicals. The quartet's eight studio record Hel was worth the wait though and is one of the band's greatest hours.

    The bigger picture of this release is truly convincing. This starts with the atmospheric, detailed and diversified cover artwork, continues with the elegant booklet, can be perceived in the organic production that enables each instrument to shine, goes along with the creative top quality songwriting and ends with the fact that fans get a generous thirteen songs with a whopping length of seventy minutes after so many years of silence. Some critics claim that the release offers quantity over quality but I have to disagree. The record starts and ends on extremely strong notes and even though the middle section doesn't keep the momentum of excellence, it's still very potent and keeps the band's trademarks going on an entertaining level.

    Speaking of the band's trademarks, this album offers everything the band has stood for in the past but still manages to push the boundaries. Epic doom metal passages meet melodic heavy metal stylistics with occasional power and folk metal influences that enhance the atmosphere. The heavy riffs are played in a technically impressive and at times progressive way. The bass guitar is even more domineering than in the past and doesn't only follow the drum patterns or guitar rhythms but has its shining moments. The drum play is accurate and versatile as it easily shifts from slower parts over mid-paced rhythms to fast sections. The epic and melodic vocals are still one of a kind but sound even more diverisfied than on past efforts as the singer even experiments with vibrant death metal growls.

    Mentioning the numerous great songs would take way too much time. Let's just focus on the excellent opening trio that exemplifies what this album is all about. The opener ''Gates of Hel'' might be the best song the band has written so far in its career. It's atmospheric, creative and epic as it finds the right balance between progressive instrumental parts and memorable vocal lines. The vocals vary from melodic parts resembling chorals to gritty death metal growls that blend in perfectly. The guitar work is energetic and versatile. The drum play is dynamic and playful. The song features an extended bass guitar solo which is absolutely stunning. I wish more bands would go for bass guitar solos instead of classic electric guitar solos. I can't stop listening to this vibrant opener and overuse the repeat button despite the quality of the material that follows. Among excellent songs, this one here is perfect.

    Up next, ''All Heroes Fall'' quickens up the pace and is one of the band's heaviest songs on the record, showcasing how much the band has evolved from its doom metal roots towards fast-paced heavy metal flirting with power and thrash metal elements. The chorus on the other side is simply beautiful and haunting and particularly memorable. If bands still actively released singles to support their new records, this song would be the perfect choice. As a collector of physical records, I must admit that I'm somewhat missing these days.

    Third track ''Ragnars kvæði'' is one of only two songs sung in Faroese. As quality matters over quantity however, this song is particularly great as the use of Faroese lyrics amplifies the longing atmosphere of the track. The song also rekindles with the group's cultural heritage and flirts with folk metal stylistics that transport you back in time and to a place that is now known as Northern Europe. The song has a cinematic vibe without ever being pretentious and would make for a welcome addition to any soundtrack involving Faroese or Scandinavian culture.

    In the end, Týr is back with a bang almost six years after its previous studio record as Hel qualifies as one of the band's strongest records ever. The band has never released a weak record in the first place but I would put this output in third position after Eric the Red and Ragnarok. If you like vibrant heavy metal with progressive and folkloristic elements that doesn't sound old-fashioned despite its cultural roots, you might have already found your album of the year candidate right here.

    Final rating: 90%

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  • Enjoy this legendary concert at a legendary location on March 15th, 2019!

    The live stream starts at 33:09 minutes.

    Set list:

    1. Intro Jam

    2. Can't Stop

    3. Fortune Faded

    4. The Zephyr Song

    5. Dani California

    6. Dark Necessities

    7. Hey

    8. I Wanna Be Your Dog (The Stooges cover)

    9. Right on Time

    10. Snow (Hey Oh)

    11. Pea

    12. Californication

    13. Go Robot

    14. Don't Forget Me

    15. Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder cover)

    16. Under the Bridge

    17. By the Way

    18. Pyramid Song (Radiohead cover)

    19. Goodbye Angels

    20. Give It Away

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  • Winter is gone: Last days of cold in Ottawa and Gatineau

    Winter is gone: Last days of cold in Ottawa and Gatineau

    Winter is gone: Last days of cold in Ottawa and Gatineau

    Winter is gone: Last days of cold in Ottawa and Gatineau

    Winter is gone: Last days of cold in Ottawa and Gatineau

    Winter is gone: Last days of cold in Ottawa and Gatineau

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  • 2019 MLS season

    Eastern Conference

     1. Atlanta United FC - 67 points

    2. D.C. United - 65 points

    3. Columbus Crew SC - 62 points

    4. New York City FC - 60 points

    5. New York Red Bulls - 58 points

    6. Orlando City SC - 53 points

    7. Toronto FC - 51 points

    8. Philadelphia Union - 48 points

    9. Chicago Fire - 42 points

    10. Montreal Impact - 40 points

    11. FC Cincinnati - 37 points

    12. New England Revolution - 26 points

    Western Conference

     1. Seattle Sounders FC - 69 points

    2. Los Angeles FC - 64 points

    3. Sporting Kansas City - 62 points

    4. LA Galaxy - 60 points

    5. Portland Timbers - 55 points

    6. FC Dallas - 52 points 

    7. Real Salt Lake - 48 points

    8. Houston Dynamo - 45 points

    9. Vancouver Whitecaps FC - 36 points 

    10. Minnesota United FC - 33 points

    11. Colorado Rapids - 32 points

    12. San Jose Earthquakes - 28 points

    2019 MLS Cup

    LA Galaxy

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  • 2019 USL Championship

    Eastern Conference

     1. Nashville SC - 78 points

    2. Saint Louis FC - 72 points

    3. Bethlehem Steel FC - 67 points

    4. Charleston Battery - 66 points

    5. Atlanta United II - 62 points

    6. North Carolina FC - 60 points

    7. Tampa Bay Rowdies - 56 points

    8. New York Red Bulls II - 55 points

    9. Swope Park Rangers - 53 points

    10. Pittsburgh Riverhounds FC - 52 points

    11. Charlotte Independence - 48 points

    12. Ottawa Fury FC - 45 points

    13. Louisville City FC - 44 points

    14. Indy Eleven - 38 points

    15. Hartford Athletic - 32 points

    16. Memphis 901 FC - 27 points

    17. Birmingham Legion FC - 23 points

    18. Loudoun United FC - 19 points

    Western Conference

    1. Phoenix Rising FC - 79 points

    2. Sacramento Republic - 72 points

    3. Orange County SC - 69 points

    4. OKC Energy FC - 64 points

    5. Reno 1868 FC - 62 points

    6. San Antonio FC - 62 points

    7. Colorado Springs Switchbacks - 60 points 

    8. Las Vegas Lights FC - 60 points

    9. Real Monarchs - 56 points

    10. El Paso Locomotive FC - 52 points

    11. Austin Bold FC - 47 points

    12. Rio Grande Valley Toros - 45 points

    13. Fresno FC - 43 points

    14. Tulsa Roughnecks - 41 points

    15. New Mexico United - 40 points

    16. Portland Timbers II - 33 points

    17. Tacoma Defiance - 27 points

    18. LA Galaxy II - 17 points

    USL Cup winner

    Nashville SC

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