Album review – Týr “Valkyrja”

Týr “Valkyrja”
Review by Erika War

(Týr is songwriter Heri Joensen on vocals and second guitar, Terji Skibenæs on lead guitar and Gunnar Thomsen on bass.  They are looking for a drummer for their upcoming tour, to replace longtime drummer Kári Streymoy who had to leave the band because of a back injury. George Kollias is drumming on this album. Týr hail from the Faroe Islands and “Valkyrja” is their seventh album.)

Týr is one of those groups where, when you hear they are putting out a new album, you just know without doubt it’s going to be great. My friends will say “Oh, I hear Týr is coming out with a new CD”, and I will answer “Yes, it’s my favorite album ever”. “But you haven’t heard it yet Erika!” “That doesn’t matter, I just know it will be.” And boy did Týr deliver! This album is technically brilliant, Heri’s lyrics and melodies are something brought to us from Valhalla, and the music is tight and a joy to listen to.

Like their previous release “The Lay of Thyrm”, “Valkyrja” is an album with a central theme running through it.  This album tells the story of a warrior who leaves his woman to try to die a heroic death in battle and be brought by the Valkyries to the Goddess Freya.

The first two songs on the album, “Blood of Heroes” and “Mare of My Night”, were kindly released as a preview by Metal Blade records, giving fans a taste of what is to come. Nobody was disappointed. The third song, “Hell Hath No Fury” is an upbeat song that I can’t help but go around the house singing (much to my children’s chagrin). The fourth song on the album is Týr’s first duet. Leave’s Eyes Liv Kristine’s voice is hauntingly beautiful and complements Heri’s perfectly.  This song, “The Lay of Our Love”, is a great success and Heri would love to do many more duets in the future. The two Faroese songs “Grindavisan” and “Fanar Burtur Brandaljoo” are lovely to listen to as always. There is not a weak song on the entire CD. My absolute favorite song on the album is the title song “Valkyrja”; the blazing guitars are surpassed only by the poetic lyrics.

At the end of the album, again as they did on “The Lay of Thrym” Týr did two covers; Iron Maiden’s “Where Eagles Dare” (because it’s Gunnar’s favorite song in the entire world, ever!)  and Pantera’s “Cemetery Gates”.  What hit me the most on “Where Eagles Dare” is the striking guitars. The first half has Terji playing lead and the second half is Heri.

With “Cemetery Gates” Heri seems to be trying something new with his voice, in another tone, with another timbre, singing is a way that can only be described as something different from his usual style.  And the result is completely amazing.  As I sit listening to it, sometimes I find myself thinking “Wow, this is probably one of the greatest singers I’ve ever heard in my life…..oh wait, it’s Heri!” The song sounds phenomenal. (Pantera would be proud.)

Overall, this album is a masterpiece and it will continuously be played on my iPod from now until, well, Ragnarok.

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