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Tyr - The Lay of Thrym

The Lay of Thrym
by Mike Novak at 29 June 2011, 4:08 AM

TýR has emerged over the past decade-plus as one of the top epic/Viking/folk bands out there and arguably the most unique as well. Hailing from the Faroe Islands, they have gained a large fan base and a record deal with Napalm Records through relentless touring, including appearing on the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise this past year. Since their first album, “How Far to Asgaard” was released in 2002, they have had the same lineup of extremely talented musicians, headed by singer/guitarist extraordinaire Heri Joensen.

One thing I’ve noticed over the past couple of albums is the decline of the folk aspect of their sound. Here, aside from a couple of songs like the fantastic closing title track, the folk elements are almost entirely absent. I would classify this album as “epic metal” as opposed to folk metal or Viking metal; that being said, the music here still holds many of the trademark TýR qualities. There are plenty of borderline-progressive rhythms along with fancy solos and those unique vocals and harmonies.

If anything, the songs are more upbeat and catchy. “The Lay of Thrym” certainly has potential to net the band a larger fan base, but I question the long-term potential of songs like “Take Your Tyrant” and “Nine Worlds of Lore,” where the “catchiness” seems to take precedence. That is not to say that this is a bad album, however. It is probably the best TýR album since “Erik the Red;” the approach is somewhat different, with fewer epic songs, but the epic atmosphere still mostly remains intact.

In addition to the over-reliance on upbeat melodies that are quickly memorable, I felt that there were times where a more aggressive approach would have suited the lyrical content more effectively. I’m not saying that they should sound like AMON AMARTH (that would be the worst possible thing they could do), but I feel that a more aggressive approach is a direction that TýR needs to explore to a greater extent on future albums.

So while the folk aspects have been toned down and the sound is more upbeat, this is still a very worthwhile album. I had thought that TýR had been going downhill since “Ragnarok,” but “The Lay of Thrym” proves that they are not out of ideas yet. While it probably will not make my end-of-the-year list, fans of this type of music will enjoy it a lot.

3 Star Rating

1. Flames of the Free
2. Shadow of the Swastika
3. Take Your Tyrant
4. Evening Star
5. Hall of Freedom
6. Fields of the Fallen
7. Konning Hans
8. Ellindur Bóndi á Jaðri
9. Nine Worlds of Lore
10. The Lay of Thrym
Gunnar Thomsen – Bass
Kári Streymoy – Drums
Heri Joensen - Guitars, Vocals
Terji Skibenæs - Guitars 
Record Label: Napalm Records


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Edited 29 March 2023

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