Review Summary: Looks, or in Thyrfing's case, sounds might be deceiving. Given time, De Ödeslösa might grow indefinitely.
When I first heard this album a few months ago, my first impression was that Thyrfing had released yet another average folk metal album. However, after being completely unable to grow tired of De Ödeslösa, I am now convinced that this is the Swedes best effort since Vansinnesvisor. After listening more carefully to the album, it is clear that Thyrfing have made one of their top three albums. The production is undoubtedly the best the band ever had, the songwriting is mildly addictive and the level of orchestral details and subtle folk undertones never ceases to captivate. In fact, Thyrfing have managed to encompass their whole career with this one album. The low average score awarded De Ödeslösa seems somewhat in line with the first impression I got from the album, but I can assure you that it deserves a lot more.
What is most baffling about this album is how Thyrfing consistently refers to their own discography. The song writing and guitar work is somewhat in line with their last two albums, albeit leaning more towards folk sounding riffs than the more straight forward death metal style from Farsotstider and Hels Vite. In other words, the melodies and tempo is similar to the last two albums, the folk-like guitar play is reminiscent of Vansinnesvisor. But it doesn’t end there. For the first time in a long while, Thyrfing have really embraced their orchestral roots. The horns and synth is truly reminiscent of that which is found on Valdr Galga and Urkraft. The orchestration have of course matured and doesn’t take the same precedence in the sonic landscape as it used to do in the band’s early days, but it certainly brings the roots of Thyrfing into a contemporary guise. In short, De Ödeslösa blends elements from the band’s entire discography, and from the melting pot arose a hidden gem.
Before mentioning a few songs in particular, I have to praise Thyrfing’s new lead singer Jens. The last album, Hels Vite, was his debut with the band, and although he did an okay job, he has truly come into his own now. I have also read some critique of the clean vocals on this album, but personally I think it is a perfect variable which adds another level to Thyrfing's sound. The clean vocals isn’t utilized too much anyway, which only makes it that more effective when it pops out of the shadows. The opening to the track Kamp is a perfect example. Not only is this my favorite song on the album, the clean vocal gives me chills every time I hear it. The effect of the clean vocal might be attributed to me understanding Swedish language as well as my native tongue, but still, this is currently my Thyrfing favorite. Other noteworthy tracks are Mot Helgrind, Fordom and Vindöga. They all have strong melodies and superb orchestration. In fact, all songs on the album are strong, and I am sure other listeners have other favorites than I do, but that to me is a sign of strength. I tend to like the straight forward melodies myself, but for those who prefer higher levels of intricacy, Väners Forfall and the dark mood of Relik will surely fit the profile.
To sum up, most fans of Thyrfing have realized by now that the band has developed into a slower moving mood-driven folk metal monster than they were in the early days. Still, they have never driven themselves into monotony or predictability. Each album has had its own style, while maintaining variation and the classic Thyrfing sound. If you are a fan of the later albums from Thyrfing, De Ödeslösa will guaranty to satisfy. But I claim that this album might be just as rewarding for the fans of the band’s early career. In all honesty, I must admit that I found both Farsotstider and Hels Vite dissapointing. De Ödeslösa, on the other hand, I rank right next to Valdr Galga and Vansinnesvisor. Give it time and you will be rewarded.
PS: I’ve been a long time fan of Sputnik, but never felt the need to contribute, until I saw the low average score for this album. This is my first review for Sputnik, therefore all constructive criticism regarding my writing is warmly welcomed. Please bear in mind that English is not my native language.