The four-piece from Faroe Islands TÝR are a well know with a very respectable discography […]
By Martin Knap
April 3, 2019
TÝR - Hel album cover

The four-piece from Faroe Islands TÝR are a well know with a very respectable discography under their belt. They release albums consistently every two or three years and "Hel" is their eighth full-length release. TÝR's sound is pretty distinct and original, they have a sound influenced as much by Melo-Death like ENSIFERUM, as they have a lot add symphonic flourishes as Folk Metal like bands such as TURISAS. Their music doesn't have the light-hearted "party Metal" vibe of KORPIKLAANI or ALESTORM, nor do they use a lot of fiddles, flutes or bagpipes. Their sound is riff-centric, equal part Heavy/Power Metal with strong folky melodies. Their songs have the thunderous energy of classic Heavy Metal, to which belongs fleshy guitar playing as well, but also incorporate lively, vigorous, sort of primitive Folk melodies.

"Hel" is a sixty-nine minutes long beast with a total of thirteen songs on it - no intros, no instrumentals, just straight four to five minutes long songs, with the shortest being a bit over four minutes in length and the longest about seven and a half minutes. The album has upbeat songs as well as songs with a more serious tone. "Downhill Drunk" is a breezy, upbeat romp with big hooks, "Songs of War", on the other hand, is more serious, defiant in tone - especially the pre-chorus. It opens with a bad-ass arpeggiated bridging riff and nice leads and solos. The songs are different in mood across the album, but TÝR are good at writing songs that interestingly juxtapose different mood. The fourth song "Gates of Hel" has a heavy, AMON AMARTH-esque verse, as well as a Melo-Death sounding bridging riff, but the chorus is playful and brisk.

"Ragnars Kvæði" is a Metal reinterpretation of an old Faroese ballad, whose text and melody were written down about a century ago (the text a little earlier). It is very soulful tune and TÝR do a great job at conveying its arcane energy. No wonder the band chose it as a single from the album. "Far from the Worries of the World" is another standout song with lively melodies and strong hooks, especially the chorus is super pumped-up and exhilarating. It's just one of those songs that you immediately want to sing along to. The closer "Álvur Kongur" is an interesting song with strong folky melodies and a bit quirky, off-kilter sounding guitar leads - it's nice to hear that the band is not playing it safe. TÝR always knew how to write strong ballads and "Sunset Shore" is a testimony to that. It is a spirited, manly song with a bit of a METALLICA vibe - you won't find a cheesy schlock on a TÝR album.

The album doesn't have any filler on it, if TÝR want to put thirteen songs on an album you can bet that they can write thirteen good songs. Is one hour and ten minutes a bit over-long for a traditional Heavy Metal album? It depends on who you ask I guess, I don't have any problems ripping through it, it is really enjoyable form front to back, but I will say that I often wouldn't finish in one sitting because of the length. I think the 40 - 50 minutes play-length rule of thumb is time tested and prevents the album from stretching too thin. In case of "Hel" it is not a big issue for me, but I can't help but wonder if I'd enjoy the album more if it was shorter. But this is really just a quibble, overall "Hel" is a great addition to a very accomplished discography.

8 / 10









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"Hel" Track-listing:

1. Gates of Hel
2. All Heroes Fall
3. Ragnars kvæði
4. Garmr
5. Sunset Shore
6. Downhill Drunk
7. Empire of the North
8. Far from the Worries of the World
9. King of Time
10. Fire and Flame
11. Against the Gods
12. Songs of War
13. Álvur kongur

TÝR Lineup:

Terji Skibenæs - Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Gunnar Thomsen - Bass, Vocals (backing)
Heri Joensen - Guitars, Vocals
Tadeusz Rieckmann - Drums

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