Týr – “Hel” (Metal Blade Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Like, what happened to Týr over the last 6 years?! Well, they’ve been touring heavily since the success of 2013’s “Valkyrja”, have a new guitarist in former Nevermore and Satyricon guitarist Attila Vörös, as well as a new drummer in Tadeusz Rieckmann, not to mention taking their time with this 8th album, which is very much their own effort being tracked by guitarist/ lead vocalist Heri Joensen and bassist / backing vocalist Gunnar H. Thomsen, with sessions split between the latter’s studio in Søldarfjørður. The material also includes more songwriting contributions from Thomsen and now former guitarist Terji Skibenæs than on previous releases, immediately noticeable from the large amount of instrumental passages, with plenty of guitar work and equally details in the bass. Also featuring 13 tracks as with its predecessor, “Hel” may be devoid of covers or any special guest appearances, but it will definitely surprise by the sheer diversity of the material, ranging from norse rock to softish ballads, traditional Faroese folk songs as well as the more expected viking metal classics, which is pretty much what I’ve always liked about these guys. As such ‘Empire Of The North’ with its rich, epic melodies backed by double bass drumming took my heart with little effort, and impressing even more so with its intricate fret board work be it in the breaks or unhurried solos, not to mention the contrasts between Joensen’s roughly hewn vocals and the liberal use of harmonies – quite an achievement if I might say so! Resonating even more epic glory through my soul was ‘King Of Time’, slower but no less passionate with its deep and powerful nordic melodies backed by powerful drumming while the guitars fired folk melodies across this amazing number before the brilliant twin soloing took me into total ecstasy. Could things get any higher?! Then try the majestic viking rabble rouser of ‘Far From The Worries Of The World’ with its energy building through the pounding warrior drums and electric folk melodies before being hit by the massive singalong catchy chorus, along with intensely passionate solos being traded before combining once more for a culmination worthy of the halls of Valhalla. Certainly their greatest achievement to date, Týr have done their island nation proud with feast plenty for everyone, with Joensen proudly proclaiming there’s still more to come – and I can’t wait!