Written by: EW on 29/04/2008 19:51:35

Týr are a band who deserve your respect whether their music appeals to you or not. I say this because, whilst undoubtedly they must have overcome a few hurdles to get anywhere as a band by hailing from the isolated Faroe Islands, more importantly these Viking warriors have clearly tried to create a very unique sound and that always deserves some respect. That sound is hard to describe as they take the best epic qualities of Viking Metal bands like Enslaved and Falkenbach and mix it with a considerable amount of Doom and prog-like sensibilities. In this respect they are harder to compare to other bands as their riff structure is rather stop-start, comparators may include Confessor, combined with inventive lead guitar work in the form of solos and riff work that at times resembles a slower version of one of my faves, folk/Viking experts Windir (RIP). Further distinguishing marks come in the heartfelt vocals of Heri Joensen, whose recognizability I’m sure matches the likes of Warrel Dane (Nevermore) and Matt Barlow (Iced Earth).

The majority of the songs on "Land" are sung in the native Faroese of the band, giving extra authenticity to the subject matters of Faroese independence, Viking age stories and Norwegian lore. The highlight of all Týr records, including this one, is undoubtedly the vocal lines, both when sung individually and as a group, which is unsurprising given that songwriter Joensen starts with a vocal line before adding the music later. For some ("Gátu Ríma", "Brennivin", "Land"), these vocal lines are both epic and catchy and relied upon heavily in the manner that Blind Guardian do, though thankfully not about some Tolkien-esque night party that the Germans favor. For me personally the vocals lines of "Gátu Ríma" are the stand-out ones in the stand-out song of the album - the classic sounding Týr stop-start riffs are interspersed among rousing and fist-pumping choral sections and with a great solo to top it all off, it has a strong case for being Tyr's best song over "Regin Smiður" off 2003's "Eric the Red". Given the space Týr have created for themselves in the not-yet-saturated Epic-Viking-Prog-Doom Metal camp (!), there is plenty of room for variations in such structures. While one couldn't accuse Týr of re-writing the same song over and over, the similarity in tempo throughout can lead one to wishing for further expansion here in the form of faster tracks to compliment the slow-medium pace of the album - see Italy's Doomsword for a fine representation of how good Epic Doom can be when the tempo is varied throughout!

Perhaps not before time, Týr try their hand at the lengthy epic that was missing from previous albums, and "Land" has two songs over the 10 minute barrier, with the title-track being my favoured (and longer) of the two. The slow start leads into a multitude of riffs and yes, you guessed it, vocal lines to accompany the passage of the song with a commendably solid performance from the other 3 members of the band who push the song through its 16 minutes much quicker than you'd ever think. However, just like the Vikings, all goods things must come to an end, and "Land" does so with a re-working of one of their older tracks, topping off Týr's finest effort to date, outdoing "Eric the Red" in the process, mainly through a more refined idea of how to focus and control the songs. "Land" can only be described as a very good album from an instantly recognizable band, yet one which leaves the band plenty of room still to grow. Watch this Faroese Viking-infested space!


Download: Gátu Ríma, Land, Brennivin
For The Fans Of: Doomsword, Falkenbach, Enslaved, Amon Amarth, Ensiferum
Listen: Myspace
Buy: No pre-order available

Release date 02.06.08
Napalm Records

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