Týr - Eric the Red
Progressive Epic Metal
10 songs (60'25")
Release year: 2003
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

Good fortune (or misfortune) can visit you in many different ways. Good fortune visited me recently on a day when Tyr’s manager Sigrid Dalsgaard asked Metal Reviews whether one of us wanted to review Tyr’s second album Eric the Red. I was lucky enough to say “yes” … and have been blessed with a wonderful album to be added to my collection.

How many Metal bands do you know to come from The Faroe Islands? Heck, how many of you know where The Faroe Islands are? I don’t mean to insult anybody’s intelligence, but a quick lesson in geography would say that The Faroe Islands is a Danish territory which lies halfway between Denmark and Iceland. This is where Tyr comes from, the small isolated island chain in the middle of the Atlantic. If you guessed their music is inspired by Nordic traditions you were right. If you guessed they play Viking Black Metal so popular these days you couldn’t be further from the truth. It turns out, as Tyr shows, you can be epic and progressive at the same time.

Eric the Red is based on Faroese ballads, although one shouldn’t expect the album to be slow and soft, because it is “balladic”. Heri Joensen, the band’s vocalist, guitarist and the main songwriter either uses traditional Faroese melodies for his songs, or comes up with his own compositions which unquestionably bear a Nordic mark. Tyr’s songs, long and generally mid-pace tempo, flow like stories, which, I believe, truly was the band’s intention. The lyrics bring to life the images of the Old Gods, Heroes and Beasts. Melodies are not the only way Tyr reaches for their Nordic muse. Three songs, Regin Smidur, Styrisvolurin and Olavur Riddararos have traditional Faroese lyrics. Another one, Ramund Hin Unge, has Danish origin and lyrics. The Wild Rover, although sung in English, comes straight from the Irish pub. Just about every song has a chorus you would die to sing along to, even though I am betting, just like me you don’t understand a word in Faroese.

Heri Joensen sings with clean soulful vocals, be it in English or Faroese. His voice has this manliness about it, and although not as operatic as Mattias Blad, former Falconer vocalist, Heri stands out from the crowd. It wouldn’t’ wow you with its power or range, but it is incredibly fitting to the rest of the Tyr’s music. As I mentioned above, the band’s riffs have Nordic origin, but frequent “stop’n’go” tempo changes, well placed and intricate solos (Joensen and Terji Skibenaes, also on guitar) hint at excellent musicianship and progressive leanings of Tyr. Band’s rhythm section, bassist Gunnar Thomsen and drummer Kari Streymoy, delivers with a bang. Not overwhelming, but very cerebral, the drummer comes with a right roll or accent at a right time. Even the album’s production is clear and sounds very mature for a young and upcoming band. The vocals are mainly upfront, and you don’t even need a booklet to follow the lyrics (of course, if you understand the language).

Eric the Red is what happens when excellent musicians dedicated to their roots come together and write inspired songs. Transcending the genre boundaries this can’t be classified as Viking, Power or Progressive metal. The fans of bands from Falconer to Thyrfing, from Rhapsody to Bathory, from Cruachan to Waylander and Promordial are strongly encouraged to seek out this gem of an album.

Killing Songs :
All of them are very good
Alex quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Týr that we have reviewed:
Týr - Valkyrja reviewed by Jared and quoted 100 / 100
Týr - The Lay of Thrym reviewed by Alex and quoted 95 / 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
To see all 7 reviews click here
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