Tyr - _The Lay of Thrym_
(Napalm Records, 2011)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (7 out of 10)
In a previous Amon Amarth review, I made mention that Vikings are perfect subject matter for people not particularly into metal. The pro-Scandinavian lyrics are what everyone assumes all metal to be concerned with. Tyr was signed to Napalm Records in 2006 after two Norse centric records, which were later re-released. Tyr hails from the Faroe Islands, located at the intersection between Iceland, Scotland, Norway and Asgard. Tyr is a part of an extended family of far northern metal bands, fitting alongside Icelandic, upper Scandinavian and near Arctic circle musical acts. The distinct local lends itself to an unsurprising product of power inspired Viking metal, which continues to climb the rainbow bridge to mythological heights. _The Lay of Thrym_ adds another bedtime story in an ever-growing library for people who have nothing better to do than dream of Viking warriors for 56 minutes.

Tyr shares a lot of common interests with Finnish folk metal act Ensiferum. The common interest lays in a clean presentation of Nordic anthems centered around ancient lore and heroic battle anthems. Viking metal can as rich and interesting as it can be horribly caricatured. Some of the more interesting bands to create and progress the genre (Bathory, Enslaved, Falkenbach) sit along side of other who unintentionally parody it (Amon Amarth, Turisas). Tyr is neither, as their music, while predictable and common, makes itself so enjoyable and pleasing it is almost impossible not to smile. While I know better, _The Lay of Thrym_ is now my bedtime story where I will be dreaming of Viking warriors for the next 56 minutes.

_The Lay of Thrym_ takes its name from the nordic poem "Þrymskviða" in which the giant Þrymr steals Thor's hammer in attempt to extort the goddess Freyja as payment. While the above sentence probably has a dozen references used in a dozen metal songs, the poem itself is interesting. Tyr delves into the poetic subject on the closing track with reasonable quality. For 56 minutes, _The Lay of Thrym_ holds the listener's attention without pause or hesitation. There are moments in this record which urge listeners to emotional arrest, including the anthemic "Fields of the Fallen". Battles are won, love is lost and so many boats set sail across the eternal sea.

The record finishes itself with two Ronnie James Dio tributes. The first is "Stargazer", one of the longer tracks on Rainbow's 1976 semi-self-titled "Rainbow Rising". The other bonus track is a cover of "I" first seen on the 1992 Black Sabbath release _Dehumanizer_. Another interesting connection is made when one discovers Black Sabbath's previous record was the Nordic mythology concept album _Tyr_ originally released in 1990. This useless bit of trivia does nothing more than confirm heavy metal's preoccupation with muscled bearded men wielding runic axes.

I shouldn't have liked _The Lay of Thrym_ as much as I did. Tyr's sincerity and genuine devotion to the subject matter overshadowed the well treaded path of predictability. It is my belief the ancient Nordic warriors would be pleased with the current musical depiction of their folklore. _The Lay of Thrym_ would be played as celebration music in mead halls across the lands. For good or ill, one of our most accessible connections to the ancient world of Nordic raiders is the music of Tyr and other Viking metal bands. It may be factual. It may be bullshit. Regardless, it is as entertaining as a bedtime story.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/tyr1

(article published 26/6/2011)


ALBUMS
12/3/2008 Q Kalis 8 Tyr - Land
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