Album review by Erika War
Týr, “Lay of Thrym”
“Lay of Thrym” is the latest album from the Metal Band Týr. Týr hail from the Faroe Islands, which are between Iceland and Norway, and are under the sovereignty of Denmark. Týr, named after the Norse God of war and justice, is made up of singer/guitarist Heri Joensen, guitarist Terji Skibenæs, and bassist Gunnar H. Thomsen. In 2013 longtime drummer Kári Streymoy left the band due to a back injury sustained in 2008. Heri Joensen does not like to put a label on the type of music Týr plays, saying that “Týr’s musical mission is to break down the walls that are erected between all the kinds of metal that have arisen over the years. Power-, doom-, black-, progressive-, gothic-, Viking-, folk-, ethnic- and epic metal. Walls and labels do nothing but fill people with prejudice.” Tyr’s music incorporates Viking lore, mythology, and history.
“Lay of Thrym” released in 2011, is the latest effort from this amazing, unique band. The title song tells the story of the theft of Thor’s great hammer, Mjolnir, by the tyrant Thrym, lord of the giants, and how Thor defeats him. The music fits this epic tale perfectly, Joensen’s vocal skills run the full range and complement the music perfectly.
Fighting for freedom is the common theme of the album. “Flames of the Free”, “Take Your Tyrant” and “Hall of Freedom” are examples of this. “Konning Hans” and “Ellindur bóndi á Jaðri” are two songs written in the beautiful, poetic language of Faroese. “Shadow of the Swastika” is a reaction to a German music critic’s accusation of Tyr having Nazi ties, which is absolutely ridiculous and Tyr vociferously denies, even to the point of recording a PSA.
The technical abilities of these songs are astounding. Each musician is the best in the world at their respective instrument. Kári Streymoy’s drumming is a feat to behold, Gunnar Thomsen’s pounding bass and Terji Skibenæs’ lead guitar are unparalleled. As legendary metal singer John Arch, former frontman of Fates Warning and currently of Arch/Matheos, has said “Tyr is the tightest band I have ever seen perform. And I have never seen a second guitarist with such ability, and who plays so well while singing, as [Heri] does.”
The well-educated frontman, Heri Joensen, is the driving force behind the band, and writes all the lyrics and music of 90% of their songs. Not only a terrific athlete, Joensen is a member of Mensa, and in his spare time studies physics, mythology, and history, among other things.
“Lay of Thrym” received so much success that it caught the eye of Brian Slagel, founder and CEO of Metal Blade Records, and in 2012 Tyr signed a 3-album deal with them. Their next album is due out later this year, with much anticipation from their fans worldwide.