Týr are one of those bands that you can depend on and you know roughly what to expect from them with very few curve balls or drops in quality. They have a sound that is all their own and isn’t necessarily comparable to their genre-mates, with crisp vocals and catchy riffs rather than concentrating on an overtly heavy sound. Following on from their politically charged album ‘Lay of Thyrm’, Týr have returned to the themes of their earlier albums with their latest offering, ‘Valkyrja’, by drawing on the concepts surrounding Norse mythology. As the theme of the album is more female-centric than previous releases (taking the angle of a warrior who leaves his woman and goes off to impress the Valkyrie on the battlefield), it seems apt that this is the album to feature a duet with a female vocalist in the form of ‘’The Lay of Our Love’, a collaboration with Leaves’ Eyes’ Liv Kristine. The result is a beautiful ballad that is easily the standout track on the album. While the female vocals bring a different feel to the song, it still remains quintessentially “Týr”.
The album, as a whole, is fairly typical of what you expect from the band; not necessarily ground breaking but still of the quality and style that you’d expect – particularly from their more recent albums. It’s not the most progressive album in the world but it’s hard hitting, anthemic and relatively easy to listen to, which isn’t a bad thing in itself. A lot of the album, save a few standout tracks, does somewhat merge into one stylistically, but there are enough moments of memorable music to keep the listener interested and enough differences so you don’t feel like you’re listening to the same song ad infinitum.
Finally, it seems to be a recurring element of recent Týr albums that they end with a few covers for good measure (well, this is the second time they’ve done it…), this time they’ve chosen to cover the Iron Maiden classic ‘Where Eagles Dare’ and Pantera’s ‘Cemetary Gates’. The former works really well with Týr’s sound and you could be forgiven for mistaking it for an original song. ‘Cemetary Gates’, on the other hand… is somewhat lacking. This could be because it’s such an iconic song so it’s impossible not to compare it to the original and, I’d say, it lacks the same passion vocally that Phil Anselmo gives to it. Or it could be because, musically, it doesn’t quite fit with what Týr generally do. The jury’s still out on that one.
While I find it difficult to get completely enthused (in general, but in relation to the album in particular this time), if I take a step back and look at the album for what it is rather than comparing it to a bygone time when you’d expect several 6 minute plus songs from the band, and I guess this is how it should be judged, it’s a pretty impressive piece of work really and well worth a fair listen. And, in case you’re wondering, they do still have 6-minute plus epics in them, just listen to the title track…
Review by Siân Williams
17th Sept 2013
1) Blood of Heroes
2) Mare of My Night
3) Hel Hath No Fury
4) The Lay of Our Love
5) Nation; 6) Another Fallen Brother
7) Grindavísan; 8) Into the Sky
9) Fánar Burtur Brandaljóđ
10) Lady of the Slain
12) Where Eagles Dare
13) Cemetery Gates
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...not necessarily ground breaking but still of the quality and style that you’d expect – particularly from their more recent albums."