Tyr
Valkyrja


5.0
classic

Review

by ScuroFantasma USER (38 Reviews)
November 29th, 2013 | 8 replies


Release Date: 09/13/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Valkyrja is one of the most powerful and beautiful listening experiences one could subject themselves to, definitely Týr at their very best.

When executed correctly, concept albums can be sensational to say the least. The journey-like atmosphere generally created by such albums can become one of the most phenomenal artistic moments in music, and when an entire album explores a single subject it is almost akin to listening to an audible, grandiose tale. Týr have succeeded in creating a truly magical experience, contained in one disc and spread across thirteen tracks. The sheer technicality and pristine quality of the whole album just adds to the beauty and with an exceptionally talented vocalist and infallible instrumentals there is no faulting Valkyrja.

There has been a distinct evolution of Týr over the years with each album being both incredible, and unique. There are of course a large amount of similarities, but that’s what makes Týr who they are. From the unmistakeable vocal style of Heri, to the ever-present mythological and battle orientated lyrics, you have an idea of what to expect from Týr most of the time but with the sizeable unpredictability they possess, they make the most of it. Getting back to the topic at hand, Valkyrja is like a collection of all the skills Týr have accumulated over the years dedicated to a single body of work.

Valkyrja takes no time coiling the spring; it’s already unravelling and jumping right at your ear drums from the onset. ‘Blood of Heroes’ begins with some speedy guitar work and some resonating drum work, until Heri’s voice breaks through and smooths everything over. The unique voice he posesses is a major part of what makes Týr such an intriguing band. There could be no better introduction to this album then 'Blood of Heroes'; it gives a taste of what is to come without revealing anything too telling in the process. The structure of this album is one of the most admirable works I’ve witnessed with each song correlating perfectly with the next, both with contrast and context taken into consideration.

Throughout the album there are great examples of Týr displaying their prowess in the waters they have already travelled and mastered. Tracks like the single ‘Hel Hath No Fury’ sound similar to Týr’s earlier work, with a new and effective twist, but there are also some incredibly different and downright moving songs on this album. ‘The Lay of Our Love’ is drenched in emotion and is a genuinely beautiful ballad style track. The melancholy lyrical content is expertly complimented by both Heri and Liv Kristine (of Leaves’ Eyes) singing in a duet fashion. The addition of a female voice is probably one of the greatest choices made during this album since it’s almost compulsory due to the concept of this album, but more on that later.

The instrumental component is mind-blowingly good. I cannot fault the bassist, nor drummer, or either guitarist. The bass kicks through each and every track and is always apparent, which is always a good sign because there is nothing worse than having the bass guitar hidden too deeply in the foray of other instrument. The drumming is excellent and definitely gives each and every track an accentuated punch. Perhaps ‘Into the Sky’ has one of the best examples of George Kollias’s exceptional drumming. The guitar work is undoubtedly a highlight on this album, with both the multi-talented Heri and lead guitarist Terji Skibenæs displaying their unique prowess. ‘Another Fallen Brother’ is laced with interesting guitar riffs and is probably the best guitar work displayed on the entire album.

Most of the song examples I’ve used thus far have been of tracks that are full on attacks, rather than the few different tracks that break up the album. 'Grindav*san' is certainly a very different track, both for its Faroese lyrics and it’s ballad-chant like vocal component. The instruments are also slowed down on this track too, making this song stand out just that little bit more. ‘Into the Sky’ has a killer chorus that is infectiously catchy and overtly grand in its brevity, clocking up a mere three minutes. Fánar Burtur Brandaljóð’s instrumental introduction is certainly a great feature on this album, with some strong folk elements and a strange mixed vocal delivery. The instruments really do make this album a pleasure to listen to, but even more impressive are the vocals.

Heri never ceased to amaze me with his voice. It is almost as if he was custom made for his role in Týr. Whether he is using his slow, deep vocal style in tracks like ‘The Lay of Our love’ or singing with undying passion on ‘Lady of the Slain’ he never for a second sounds sub-par. In fact, he has some of the most powerful and emotion invoking vocal abilities I’ve heard. His absolute highlight on this album is at the very end on the bonus track, the Pantera cover ‘Cemetery Gates’. Týr manages to offer up a magnificent and unbelievably true cover of an already great song. They certainly make it their own, but they don’t tarnish Pantera’s sound in the process, they embrace it and pay homage to them by delivering an amazing reiteration that nearly matches the original.

The concept of this album follows the life of a viking man who is looking to impress the Valkyrie in order to reach Fólkvangr and impress Freyja, and thus gain entrance and eternal life in Valhalla. The problem is, he must die and leave his wife on earth in order to do so. This is almost certainly a euphemism for the practice of a male leaving one woman for another and the consequences of doing so. In a way, it makes the male appear obsequious and foolish, but there is so much more to it than that. Naturally, the lyrics follow suit, but they are immensely deeper than anything Týr has released before. Heri has always been an effective lyricist, but he has taken it a step further and sprouted some incredibly meaningful lyrics, most prominently in the simple, yet heart-felt ‘Lay of Our Love’. An example of the exemplary lyrics on display here comes from the song ‘Hel Hath No Fury’ in which Heri sings;

“I pulled her arrow from out my heart
We wandered already worlds apart
And I have seen the heavens hold no rage
Like love to hatred turned
The gods may grant me a brighter day
There's more where that came from anyway
Life holds no promises nor Hel a fury
Like a woman scorned”

As well as the beautiful yet simplistic lyrics from ‘The Lay of Our Love’ which read;

“One autumn
Parting came relieving
She ran up behind me
Poorly hid her grieving
Come wailing wind chill my heart
Come the rain fall on me as I depart

Life left us
Yesterday's outshining
Our any tomorrow
With a silver lining
Remember a distant day
For even memories may fade away”

The sexually explicit ‘Mare of My Night’ garnered some attention at its release, but the lyrics are there for a reason and make an extreme amount of sense with the rest of the album. It literally is the incentive that sparks the entire adventure. Apart from these above examples, there is a plethora of other great examples hidden with this album, including the Faroese lyrics interlaced within the song ‘Nation’ which are juxtaposed against the English lyrics and are an unexpected and welcome surprise.

Týr have gone above and beyond with this album and it a worthwhile listen for anyone wanting to hear something that is completely enrapturing in its infallible magnificence.

Highly recommended tracks;

*Mare of My Night
*The Lay of Our Love
*Nation
*Grindavisan
*Into the Sky
*Cemetery Gates (Bonus Track)

This truly is an album not to be missed, so make an effort to listen to this masterpiece and absorb the experience, for it is enchanting in its exquisiteness.

-ScuroFantasma



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other reviews of this album
Handerson Ornelas (4)
An album not just for the fans of folk metal but for all the heavy metal’s listeners...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ScuroFantasma
November 29th 2013


2226 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well, this review took forever, but I think it was worth it to get my opinion out on this album, criticism is welcome

Digging: Horsehunter - Caged In Flesh

Vakarian12
November 29th 2013


3870 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

too lazy to read review right now but agree with rating definitely their best

emprorzurg
November 29th 2013


522 Comments


Holy shit, kudos to you for this review, I own this, but am yet to listen to it, I'll get on it

emester
November 30th 2013


3906 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

One of tyr's best works. Really awesome album definitely not a perfect 5 though

Digging: Falls of Rauros - Believe in No Coming Shore

InbredJed
November 30th 2013


6074 Comments


"I cannot fault the bassist, nor drummer, or either guitarist."

this may be true to you as you listen to the song, but it is kinda useless information when you are trying to describe a record to other ppl.

props for reviewing.

ScuroFantasma
November 30th 2013


2226 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@vakarian - I guess it is quite a long read, at least we can both agree this album kicks ass

@emprorzurg - definitely give it a spin man, it's an excellent album

@Emester - why do you think it doesn't deserve a 5? just curious.

@InbredJed - It is kinda useless, I just wanted to back up my reasons why i think this is a 5, it's pretty much flawless.


Turlerr
February 18th 2014


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

recs for shit like this? just started listening to folk metal and not really sure where to start, really digging this

Vakarian12
February 18th 2014


3870 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

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