Tyfon's Doom - Emperor's Path
Gates of Hell Records
Heavy Metal
11 songs (46' 24")
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Andy
Surprise of the month

After last year's EP, one-man NWOBHM band Tyfon's Doom is back, with a cleaner but still gritty production and no shortage of memorable new riffs on the new LP: Emperor's Path. I'd been impressed by how well Tommi Varsala captured the excitement of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and some of their followers in Yeth Hound, but after listening to Emperor's Path, it's clear that he's upped his game. It's easy for the old-school heavy metal afficionado to love what he's done here.

Gone are many of the production weirdnesses from Yeth Hound; the resulting job still sounds like Varsala made it in his garage, but now it's endearing rather than aggravating. The grittiness, a lineal descendent of nameless, magic-marker-labelled tapes of the early 1980s, still pervades the entirety of Emperor's Path. So does the fine riffing we got a taste of on the EP: Tommi Varsala clearly is a fervent believer in the galloping two-guitar attack, and even when he colors strictly within those particular lines he can come up with some pretty inventive stuff, especially on the first two tracks. It may be my imagination, but it also seems to me that he has moved away from his "low-octave King Diamond" vocals; they're now more of a hoarse roar, crammed back in the mix behind the guitar, which fits his guitar style better and doesn't require him to try any high-pitched screams, one thing from the 80s that Tyfon's Doom has never tried much.

Even on the slower tracks, which is often where newcomers to metal songwriting miss a beat, the juggernaught keeps rolling. Endless War and some of its peers go for less Maiden-style quick-stepping and more for a sort of swinging folk beat, which turns out to be an excellent foil for Varsala's lead noodling. Now and then the mood is broken a bit by technical limitations; Sea of Life's gang choruses are hard to make into a thousand men singing, and it sounds like Varsala overdubbed himself on the same track until either his tape got too thin to use, or his computer ran out of RAM. Occasionally, he sounds off-key. But the songwriting and guitar work keep the vocal shortcomings at arm's length, and anyway, if there's one genre of music where idiosyncratic vocals, low-budget production, and cheesy epics are to be celebrated, it's heavy metal. By the time the listener gets to the last two tracks, an instrumental and the title track, the listener is likely to be hooked despite himself.

Emperor's Path fulfills the promise of Tyfon's Doom's first EP and leaves listeners hungry for more. Quirky but delightful to listen to, it's well worth picking up.

Bandcamp: https://tyfonsdoom.bandcamp.com/.

Killing Songs :
The Hidden Hand, Moonlight, Howling Danger, Emperor's Path
Andy quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Tyfon's Doom that we have reviewed:
Tyfon's Doom - Yeth Hound reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
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