Review Summary: Twilight of the Thunder Tyr
Right off the bat, Tyr’s first album since 2013’s Valkyrja starts with one of the band’s heaviest songs to date. While the chorus on “Gates of Hel” is the sort of power metal upliftment one would expect from these Faroese raiders, the verses and instrumental segments suggest more extreme influence with their driving guitars, blasting drums, and growled vocals. It sounds more like Amon Amarth than Tyr at times yet manages to not sound out of place with everything to follow.
Going along with that, the musicianship on Hel is some of the band’s most involved in over a decade. The guitar tone is noticeably heavier, showcasing more bottom end with a fierier character compared to the usual icy feel, and the leads are more intricate. The bass is infinitely more prominent than it has ever been with numerous tracks bursting with intrusive undercurrents. The band has stated that the writing process was much more collaborative this time around and it truly shows.
But with thirteen songs totaling to a near seventy-minute runtime, Hel is admittedly rather overstuffed. Tyr is certainly no stranger to longer albums, but such lengths were better suited for the slower, more epic style of Eric the Red or Ragnarok than the more straightforward fast-paced metal of their most recent outings. Fortunately, there aren’t any outright weak tracks on here so culling tracks would largely be a matter of preference.
And with that in mind, there are pretty great tracks on here. The singles were well chosen as the heavier tinges on “Sunset Shore” give it some extra oomph not seen on any of Tyr’s other ballads while “Fire and Flame” is one of the album’s catchiest speedsters. “Far from the Worries of the World” may be the album’s strongest track thanks to its particularly triumphant refrains and I can dig the subtler percussive hooks on “Songs of War.”
As much as Hel can feel more like Amon Amarth with clean vocals than an “actual” Tyr album, it may be their strongest effort since 2009’s By the Light of the Northern Star. It’s a little sad to see less of the band’s folk tendencies but the boost in heaviness and heightened band chemistry more than make up for it. Seeing how the band has hinted that their next album could completely move away from their Norse aesthetic, it’ll be quite interesting to see how things progress in the future.
“Far from the Worries of the World”
“Fire and Flame”
“Songs of War”
Originally published at http://psychicshorts.blogspot.com