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Thyrfing – Vanagandr

by Ben Gardiner at 27 September 2021, 11:40 PM

Blackened Viking Metal maestros THYRFING are back with a brand new album, their first musical endeavour since 2013. In Vanagandr we are taken on an incredibly heavy journey, filled with fantasticality. Presenting itself as both technically engineered, both in sound and instrumentation, whilst retaining a sense of mysticism and folkish clarity.  Channelling a crushing mix of melody and brutality, this album walks a fine line between aggressive ballad and uplifting war cry.

The opening track establishes the album as an overtly heavy endeavour, a formidable guitar riff leads us into a ferocious growl, underlined by quick double bass rumbling like thunder, which feel even quicker combined with the quarter note snare hits. The opening track crams in epic guitar solos, plenty of tempo changes on the drums that keep the pace moving, and symphonic passages that blend together with the aggressive instrumentation to capture the intense Viking-esque atmosphere perfectly. “Undergångens länkar” shifts us deeper into the Viking Metal sound, a measured epic that focuses on hard hitting fills and headbanging sequences as opposed to the thrashing speed of the previous track. Track 3, “Rötter” has an immensely powerful intro, and incorporates strings to further layer the sound and mix of vibes in this album. The music has a more sombre, purposeful feeling, and the vocals take a dive into clan sung territory. I am a big fan of the moments in which the guitars drop out and we have a section of just drums and string, before the guitars burst back into life again.

Vocals in track four open much more diabolical, underlined by clean vocals, it makes for a powerful mix that perfectly encapsulates the album as a whole, the aggression mixed with delicate melody. As with the vocals, the first half is a heavy song much in the same vein as the others, until we are treated with a bridge of delicate strung guitar and soulful drums, climaxing with an epic guitar solo leading back into the layered vocals, evoking images of legions of warriors chanting as they charge into battle.

The final track of the album, “Jordafärd,” Swedish for funeral, opens with a symphonic string arrangement, steady, hard hitting drums are introduced along with a sweeping guitar melody. The vocals enter sounding strained, there is long, anguished cries and slow guitar riffs with the cumbersome drums give this song the effect of being both melancholy and elated. It truly feels like the soundtrack to dust settling on the battlefield, the calmness feeling abrupt but welcome after enduring the aggressive nature of the rest of the album. Angelic backing vocals, unlike anything previously heard, add to this feeling of elation, making for a beautiful, magnificent finale.

THYRFING’s Vanagandr is an epic ascent into the mystical world of Viking metal. Combining whimsical melodies with blackened aggression, the album lends itself to the contrasting world of violence and beauty we live in. a plethora of sequences, both heavy and not, mixed to a very high quality and rife with atmosphere, it ensures you’ll be kept on your toes, never sure of the direction you will be taken in next.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability:  7
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

1. Döp dem i eld
2. Undergångens länkar
3. Rötter
4. Fredlös
5. Järnhand
6. Håg och minne
7. Träldomsord
8. Jordafärd
Joakim "Jocke" Kristensson - Bass
Patrik Lindgren - Guitars
Jens Rydén - Vocals
Fredrik Hernborg - Guitars
Dennis Ekdahl - Drums
Record Label: Despotz Records


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