Sunday, May 04, 2008

Hail To The Hammer

On Tyr's sophomore release we see the band taking a more folk sound with their melodies and a stronger viking influence. This is still Tyr and the growth is subtle. I have the re-release of "Eric The Red" issued in 2006 and this is my first exposure to Tyr. I feel this is a superior album to "How Far To Asgaard" and so when I herd their debut, I was a little disappointed at first, however that changed after further listens.

The album starts off with the epic "The Edge" which establishes the new tone the band has developed. The melodic riffs are still there and the narrative feel, but the song is more thick and powerful and moving. This is my favourite track here.

The rest of the album is therefore a big let down. Nah, just kidding. "Regin Smidur" brings in the strong traditional folk melodies with full on viking chorals. It's rousing and features some fine guitar work. "Styrisvolurin" is traditional sounding as well with a stronger folk element as also with "Ramund Hin Unge".

Tyr's cover of the popular ~drinking~ tune "The Wild Rover" is brilliant. It is crunchy and metal-ish without losing the songs traditional melody. A fun song performed with conviction. If the band had more then 20 minutes at Paganfest, I bet this song would have made the set list.

The title track "Eric The Red" follows in the album openers epic tradition with flowing guitar riffs and narrative structure with a more upbeat sound and reminiscent of their "How Far To Asgaard" debut.

"Rainbow Warriors" follows the "...Asgaard" style as well with a strong rock base, whereas, "Olavur Riddararos" takes that rock base and mixes nicely viking gang vocals. "Alive" slows things down as a hymn-like ballad and the Tyr narrative structure. A beautiful and emotional piece.

The re-issue contains demo versions of "Hail To The Hammer" and "Gods Of War". The difference is negligible, but the quality is good and I like that in my bonus tracks. I liked the fuller sound and further traditional and viking elements here, but when it comes to putting on a Tyr album, I reached for "Ragnarok" which is coming up next week.


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