Review Summary: A young, inexperienced version of Ensiferum
I am honestly perplexed by how much good metal music comes out of Finland compared to Estonia. We are only 100 kilometers apart. What do they have in their water that we don’t? Thyrien are not one of the more well-known names from the Finnish scene, but with their debut album Hymns of the Mortals – Songs from the North
they only add to the power-folk-melodic death metal the Finns seem to be giving birth to at an ever-increasing rate. Following in the footsteps of their universally lauded countrymen in Ensiferum and Wintersun, Thyrien strive for success by merging the same elements the aforementioned groups do – you can expect plenty of galloping rhythms, catchy melodic riffs, atmospheres guided by underlying synths, and a heavy dosage of pummeling double-bass drumming. There’s nothing here that other groups of the same ilk haven’t already presented us, but then again, this isn’t the kind of music you turn to when looking for innovation. Hymns of the Mortals
is easy listening, suitable for drinking beer to with your mates, with catchy melodies flying left and right. And while the songwriting chops of Thyrien aren’t as good as those of veteran bands in the genre, there are quite a few moments throughout the album that manage to conjure a little smile, like what I can only presume is an emulation of a short bagpipe solo 1:25 into "My Victory, My Defeat", or the band’s playful cover of the famous Finnish hit song "Tinasormus". I wouldn’t take Hymns of the Mortals
over an Ensiferum album not titled Unsung Heroes
, but would I take it with one? Absolutely.
Clocking in under 45 minutes, Thyrien’s first LP is a vigorous, folk-inspired melodic metal album that is bubbling with the energy of a young band. It is far from perfect though, and is plagued by the same generic issues that many modern-day metal debuts suffer from, like the lack of an album-defining song or the inability to truly stand out from the crowd of other similar bands. Hymns of the Mortals
doesn’t manage to leave a mark per se – I won’t be biting my nails while waiting for the group’s next one to drop – but it does have qualities that make it endearing, like the clumsy but spirited chants and the band’s refusal to step off the throttle. At the end of the day, it’s how much enjoyment we get out of listening to an album that counts, and Hymns of the Mortals
definitely has something to offer to those who appreciate the output of bands such as Ensiferum, Equilibrium, Tyr, Turisas et al. There’s both effort and promise to be found here, as the high spirits of these Finns shine bright on their first full-length offering.