Thyrfing - Farsotstider
Regain Records
Viking Metal
8 songs (42'43")
Release year: 2006
Thyrfing, Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex

I have never made a secret out of the fact that I enjoy Northern European culture. Those of you who read my Windir and Moonsorrow reviews probably know that. While the rest of my family and many of my friends think Sagas of the Icelanders to be the most boring book ever, I find it magnificent. Cool, calm and reserved recollection of the deeds of early Norwegian and Swedish colonizers gives me chills, as underneath all that frigid calmness temperament and emotions boil.

Viking Metal then can be viewed as a part of this total enjoyment package, as I certainly don’t deny my being a fan. Black (Enslaved, Mythotin), power (early Falconer), progressive (Tyr) – one can find loads of Viking Metal CDs in my collection. Authenticity is what I look for in the band professing to play this style. I am not claiming I have the recipe for a litmus test to determine whether the band is authentic – the view is strictly personal, but I certainly have my favorites.

In this regard I have to admit I did not quite hit it off with Farsotstider as it begins with Far At Helvete, the song possessing shreds of atmospherics, but also full of flat black metal blastbeat, or worse yet, static gothicy metal with extreme vocals reminding me of Rammstein. However, I am confident that our knowledgeable listeners possess an attention span extending well beyond this poor choice for an opener. The album is full of rewards.

Thyrfing gets “on track” with Jag Spar Fordarv and does not fail to impress from that point on. Mid-tempo distorted guitars with strong memorable riffs and obvious Nordic melodies, this Swedish band adds a sprinkle of keyboard mystique to their power (Jag Spar Fordarv, Farsotstider). Strong bass and guitars production, Thyrfing, however, also finds room for orchestral touches in unusual spots and acoustic breaks among fuzzy tremolo (Tiden Laker Intet). As a result, Thyrfing’s version of Viking Metal is extensive melodic sound with a lot of muscle. In such interpretation the Vikings not only clumsily flop around the campfire bragging of their exploits inspired by hallucinogenic mushrooms. They also have a softer side as well.

Even where Thyrfing borrow some riffs from the Gothenburg melodeath school (Sjalavrak), the music sounds quite heroic with a tortured vocals folk chorus. Khold (I guess I am still under impression from my own review from last week) could take a lesson how seemingly simple riffs, when infused with folky melody, makes this style attractive (Baldersbalet).

Two top moments of Farsotstider for me come when the band rips away the harder façade and exposes themselves with Host and Elddagjamning. The former could almost qualify as balladic, where slightly cleaner sound makes the song even more extensive and vast than the rest of the album. Thomas Vaananen, most of the time, is fire-breathing, extreme and gruff, but also lets a tear creep into his voice on Host. A cleaner voice lament, drony guitar and drum rolls of Elddagjamning create a moment of desperation before an unbelievable, instrumental and epic, piano laden part takes over.

I have a gap in my previous Thyrfing education, the size of Vannsinnesvisor. Given the fact that I like Farsotstider more than Hednaland demo collection, Valdr Galga and the highly lauded Urkraft, perhaps I should go back and fill that gap. It would be easy to claim authenticity by writing the whole album worth of lyrics in Swedish, but Thyrfing does not rely on the gimmick writing instead some songs you would enjoy.

Killing Songs :
Jag Spar Fordarv, Farsotstider, Host, Elddagjamning, Tiden Laker Intet
Alex quoted 76 / 100
Other albums by Thyrfing that we have reviewed:
Thyrfing - Hels Vite reviewed by Alex and quoted 79 / 100
Thyrfing - Vansinnesvisor reviewed by Jack and quoted 85 / 100
Thyrfing - Urkraft reviewed by Danny and quoted 60 / 100
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