Tyr
Eric The Red


4.0
excellent

Review

by Semelbister USER (1 Reviews)
December 29th, 2014 | 6 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Týr's first album with Heri Joensen as the lead vocalist offers original folk-inspired metal from the Faroe Islands with creative use of the guitars and a great listening value.

Eric the Red is the second studio album of the Faroese folk metal band Týr. It is their first album to feature Heri Joensen as the lead vocalist (he played guitar on the previous album though) and Terji Skibanæs as the other guitarist.

Týr can not be blamed for lacking originality. Alone the fact that they come from the Faroe Islands is enough to awaken one's curiosity (”They come from where? I've never heard about such place before!”). Their genre is not easy to define but they are something like heavy metal with progressive elements while their lyrics are inspired mainly by Norse mythology. They also do rearrangements of traditional folk songs. Why would I not simply label them as folk metal? The reason is that they lack such instruments that often are associated with folk metal: flutes, violins, accordions, bagpipes, hurdy-gurdys etc. Their line-up consists simply of a vocalist, two guitars, a bass and drums. Yet Týr has a unique sound.

I find two key factors that make Týr sound brilliant: the vocals and the way they use their two guitars. First, Heri Joensen has a great voice that fits fairly well in the backing instruments. It is worth pointing out that he does clean vocals only. His voice is middle-pitched and fairly smooth in most parts. However, during louder parts his voice becomes slightly rougher (e.g. in The Wild Rover). He switches from a language to another effortlessly, even within one song (e.g. in The Edge). On this album he sings in English, Faroese and Danish (Ramund hin Unge is Danish, not Faroese). Especially Faroese sounds very convincing when it comes to singing about Norse mythology and I wish they used their native language even more. The band provides English translations in the CD booklet for those who are interested in understanding the lyrics.

Another thing that fascinates me in Týr's sound is the co-operation of the guitars. They are rarely used for plain open chords. Instead, most of the time they are alive and create interesting patterns. You should pay attention to guitars while listening to this album. They support each other even when they are playing very differently. In addition to heavy riffs, there are atmospheric melodic parts like in the intros of Regin Smiður and Styrisvølurin.

The drums and bass are not as prominent as the vocals and the guitars, but they do their job. And that job isn't too easy to be honest since Týr makes use of odd time signatures every now and then (e.g. the main theme of Rainbow Warrior). On a closer listening I would say that the drum playing is diverse and technically challenging. Bass blends in nicely with the guitars most of the time but is more prominent at times (e.g. in Eric the Red). It is not breathtaking but, as I said, does its job comfortably.

The lyrics on this album are better than average since they allow deeper interpretations. Nearly every song has a story behind it and in order to fully comprehend some songs (tracks 1, 2, 3 and 10) you need some background information. If you are interested you should search information on Erik Thorvaldsson (the viking after whom the album is named) and the Völsunga saga.

As a whole, Eric the Red is a very solid album. There are not many drawbacks but I think that the two last tracks (Alive and Eric the Red) should have been shorter in order to keep them more interesting. Nonetheless, this album requires some listening before it works but after all it has a great listening value. Lively guitar patterns, odd time signatures, exotic languages (Faroese and Danish) and well written lyrics make this album worth trying, especially if you are interested in folk metal.


user ratings (90)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Semelbister
December 29th 2014


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is my first review (and English isn't my native language) so any advice on how to improve would be
appreciated.

Gameofmetal
December 29th 2014


4253 Comments


Solid job, considering the fact that english is not your native tongue. I do have some criticisms however.

I felt like your writing is a little too personal and "I" based. Around here we support two general methods. Mostly it's a professional, non personal writing style that just focuses on the music and album feel and is maybe a little more mechanical. I would recommend that for you since you are new to the review game. Staff in particular have done highly personal reviews that can be done right, but it's very difficult to get down. I'd study these reviews before you give it a go.

There were one or two badly worded lines, which is forgivable, such as "The another essential element". A few commas need sprinkled in. I felt like some of your descriptions were too shallow, you merely said to effect that the guitars or drums were "good" and not how they were good. The paragraph about the album theme was well researched, but unnecessary in my opinion. I also think you could have condensed the bits about the lineup changes as it felt like you tried to explain it way too much when a line or two would have sufficed.

Lastly the summary would be better served by being a snappy, short, and concise single sentence rather than a whole other paragraph. I pos'd for effort, so if you feel like it, do some editing and think about these criticisms next time.

On another note, what I've heard of Tyr was cool, but I haven't jammed this or very much of their material yet.

Digging: Death - Symbolic

ScuroFantasma
December 30th 2014


2637 Comments


Fuck yes! Love this band. Solid review too mate pos'd.

Digging: Ymyrgar - The Tale As Far

ScuroFantasma
December 30th 2014


2637 Comments


Oh and I second almost everything Game of Metal said. Personally I enjoyed the personal style of the review, I could tell that you are passionate about the mythology and messages involved with the band. Your description are a little convoluted in places, a little too long for my liking too. Overall though it is a good review for a first and a great album choice too.

Semelbister
December 30th 2014


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you for the feedback. I condensed my review now a little (on parts about the line-up changes and the interpretations of the songs) and edited the summary. You are probably right about this being too personal but maybe it's too late change that now. Or in that case I should consider writing a new review from scratch. I'll keep that in mind in the future though. I have been familiar with this band and album for years already so that's probably why my point of view wasn't as neutral as it should be. And what comes to the English language, sometimes sentences sound good in my native language (Finnish) but after translation into English they sound weird. I replaced "the another essential element..." with "another thing that fascinates me..." I hope it's better now.

Gameofmetal
December 30th 2014


4253 Comments


You don't need to bother rewriting the whole thing. A little editing is nice but just make sure you keep past criticisms in mind for your next review.



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