Týr - Eric the Red (2003) - An epic trip from doom over heavy to power metal - 96% (14/07/14)
Only one year after the promising debut record How Far To Asgard, the authentic Faroese viking metal band Týr follows up with an album about the legendary Eric The Red, along with other famous figures and events in viking history. After a few line-up changes, guitarist Heri Joensen takes charge of the new vocal duties. In general, many front men and women have some troubles with playing an instrument and singing at the same time, but Heri Joensen does a quite convincing job both live and in the studio. His vocals are more melodic and joyful, but are just as powerful as those on the band’s first output, and should please a larger crowd.
The second output is quite different from the band’s first strike. There are still some doomy moments on the album, but they are transitionally replaced by power and heavy metal influences without losing that atmospheric and epic touch that made the first work such a promising debut. The songs still have a slower pace than is traditional for heavy, power, and prog, though not as much as previously, and some are even situated on an upper mid tempo level. Simply put, the band just sounds more diverse than before. The bass guitar and the drums also play a more important role, the guitar solos have become more emotional, and the technical skills are also slightly (but noticeably) improved in only one year between both releases. Just listen to the highly diversified album highlight “Alive” or the epic title track “Eric The Red”, and you will immediately hear the difference.
Some considerable changes have occurred here. Most noticeably, the new folk influences and increased Faroese lyrics that are performed with enthusiasm, as in the dark “Ólavur Riddararós”. These changes take some time to digest, but might rather please fans of the first release. The truly majestic anthem “Stýrisvølurin” really helps give this album a fresh, and at the same time, historical identity. While the first release had its lengths and became a little bit redundant after a while, this album is much more even, though we have once again, a quite long running time (around one hour) with only ten tracks.
Add to this length that almost all songs have an anthemic approach with catchy choruses and majestic choirs (like “Hail To The Hammer” from the debut), and you’ve got a rather grand affair. Immediately, the opening “The Edge” comes quite close to that song in terms of catchy sing-along passages, despite a length of almost eight minutes. Faroese-sung songs like “Regin Smiður” and “Ramund Hin Unge”, which begin with dreamy folk parts and become energizing, anthemic tracks with catchy hooks and melodic guitar solos represent this new, catchier approach of the band quite well. This is where the band easily surpasses most bands that regularly touch on the topics of viking culture and legacy in terms of authenticity, diversity, and sheer grandiosity. These guys don’t just talk about vikings, they sing it in the right language, are inspired by actual historical events, and rehash some famous folk melodies and texts on this release as well. In comparison to other bands, these Faroese skip the stereotypical approaches and teach all the Amon Amarths of the world how to do things right.
In the end, Týr takes a big step forward with this release. Eric The Red moves away from the band’s doom metal roots and introduces new folk and heavy metal elements. The band finds just the right mixture of shorter, catchier songs and progressive epics that never get redundant. I would even go as far to say that the band’s second album is their greatest to date. It’s probably one of the best releases of its increasingly popular genre. Any viking metal fan should call this record her or his own. Anybody who has only read about this band before but never found the time to check them out should immediately go for this most essential release, and surely won’t regret it.
Originally written for Black Wind Metal« Týr - Valkyrja (2013) - Consistent power with catchy yet versatile anthems - 87% (14/07/14)Týr - How Far to Asgaard (2002) - A psychedelic doom metal version of Metallica - 79% (14/07/14) »
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