Týr - The Lay of Thrym
Napalm Records
Viking Metal
10 songs (45'58")
Release year: 2011
Týr, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

Having reviewed a number of Tyr albums by then I remember feeling a little peeved missing the opportunity to do so for By the Light of the Northern Star. In hindsight, it was for the better. Honestly, I am not sure how I would be able to square away the immediate accessibility of that album with the fact that Tyr, at that moment anyway, ceased being that quirky progressive not-like-anybody-else Viking metal band which I delusionally thought I was helping to cover for the rest of the world to see. The shift to straightforward power metal, combined with some silly petty personal jealousy that my hidden secret is now known to thousands, made my initial enthusiasm for By the Light of the Northern Star wane with time. It is the one Tyr album I come back to the least, although my kids love shouting “I will decimate and decapitate” from By the Sword in My Hand on the car rides with their metal-crazed dad. Then came early 2010 and the opportunity to see Tyr live for the first time on their North American tour with Korpiklaani. Perhaps catching them on the cold January night in Detroit, when they had trouble with the equipment and the show may not have gone as planned, could explain why my Faroese heroes weren’t much in the mood to chat.

All of this may explain why I was approaching The Lay of Thrym with caution and why I am more than elated to feel that my faith and passion for Tyr has been restored. It could be (and most likely is) an immediate reaction to an excellent offering, but I am ready to proclaim this album to be Tyr’s best work to date, as for my ears they have captured the perfect balance between their folk authenticity and user-friendly direct attractiveness. After hearing The Lay of Thrym I can see why the band had to come out with By the Light of the Northern Star to widen their circle of friends and draw more fans in, only to follow up with the album much closer to their original roots.

To be certain about it The Lay of Thrym is not the second coming of Eric the Red, as that deliberate, convoluted, maybe even a little plodding Tyr is not making a comeback. The songs construct on The Lay of Thrym is still quite a bit more clear-cut, but the riffs and heroic melodies on the album scream Northern Europe culture from the top of the lungs. The riff on Hall of Freedom is almost a dead ringer of Varyags of Miklagaard from Amon Amarth Twilight of the Thunder God, showing that this gem is embedded somewhere deep into the Norse psyche. Drumming, while short of peculiar up-and-down rolls, provides that half beat off pace which makes all the difference on Take Your Tyrant and Nine Worlds of Lore. Seemingly a little twist, but it presented these cuts in totally different light.

On The Lay of Thrym Tyr presents an uncanny ability to seize on the song’s golden moment, the catchy chorus or whatever else constitutes the track’s core, and milk it for whatever it is worth. Flames of the Free, Shadow of the Swastika and Take Your Tyrant are going to become the standout live sing-alongs, and the stepped up heaviness of Fields of the Fallen is also “compensated” with a catchy chorus which will reverberate. At the same time, Tyr recaptured their ability to be epic, building up an acoustic ballad to a thundering roar in Evening Star or melting your heart with an intro to the title track before providing the best tempo pick up in years with essentially the same riff. For those who will think that the first half of the album is still a bit too “power metal”, the trademark Faroese-sung Konning Hans will introduce the second, more indigenous and eccentric part of the album, which will actually show how the Tyr of five years ago and today connect. Konning Hans, Ellindur Bondi A Jadri and Nine Worlds of Lore are plenty elaborate and involved without losing their grip.

2011 is still short, but so far this Tyr album has been an inspiration. If anything, it motivated me further to try and pack those sizeable family bags and convince them to go on an exploratory vacation some place in Northern Europe, like one of my friends did earlier this year on his family trip to Iceland. I also have something to look forward to, hoping Tyr will come back to the US promoting The Lay of Thrym, so I can also discuss with the band the meaning and intent behind the Shadow of the Swastika song title, which will certainly cause controversy. By then I am sure I will be a holder of the bonus digipack edition of The Lay of Thrym, like I am for all band’s prior efforts, except How Far to Asgaard and Eric the Red where I own the original TUTL issues. With the bonus edition you can add two more tracks (Black Sabbath and Rainbow covers) to the ten magnificent cuts already on display.

Killing Songs :
Here is one case where I can truly say I loved them all from start to finish
Alex quoted 95 / 100
Other albums by Týr that we have reviewed:
Týr - Valkyrja reviewed by Jared and quoted 100 / 100
Týr - By the Light of the Northern Star reviewed by Charles and quoted 75 / 100
Týr - Land reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
Týr - Ragnarok reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
Týr - How Far to Asgaard reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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