1."Blood of Heroes" 3:41 2."Mare of My Night" 3:55 3."Hel Hath No Fury" 3:26 4."The Lay of Our Love" 3:47 5."Nation" 4:04 6."Another Fallen Brother" 4:04 7."Grindavísan" 4:10 8."Into the Sky" 2:56 9."Fánar Burtur Brandaljóð" 3:38 10."Lady of the Slain" 4:32 11."Valkyrja" 7:31 12."Where Eagles Dare" 6:26 13."Cemetery Gates" 7:25
Valkyrja Release date:
North America September 17 2013 Europe/UK September 16 2013 G/A/S/I district September 13 2013
Tyr has gradually become an icon of viking metal alongside big names such as Amon Amarth, Ensiferum and Turisas. Since their formation in 1998, the Faroese metal band has stormed the stage at Wacken and other huge festivals, toured over the world, and produced six full length albums. On September 17th, 2013, Tyr will release their seventh full length album, Valkyrja, unto eager fans.
I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the album thanks to Metal Blade Records. Being one of those eager fans, clutching their mjolnir and drinking horn whilst waiting for the release of Tyr's new music baby, you can imagine I was pretty excited to say the least.
Tyr's past albums each have songs that have come to be regarded as Tyr's anthems. Songs like "Take your Tyrant" from The Lay of Thrym (2011) and "By the Sword in My Hand" from By the Light of the Northern Star (2009) have a unique power that fans feed off of. And so this explains why Tyr fans, such as myself, have been anxious to hear what new anthem this folk metal band will bestow on us.
Sadly after listening to Tyr's new album Valkyrja, I can't seem to find that epic anthem that inspires the listener to raise a sword and chant the lyrics with all their might. Not to say that I wouldn’t chant any of the songs, quite the contrary. Tyr is a band that has perfected the chantable choruses.
New songs like "Lady of the Slain," "Nation" and their opening track, "Blood of Heroes" make me want to start headbanging and singing on the subway. But after listening to the entire album, none of it felt incredibly new. Tyr has decided to stick to what they know in this album and even though it is all new material, it feels familiar.
Valkyrja combines everything you have come to love about Tyr. The melodic riffs, the fast paced galloping drums, the imaginative lyrics that draw on Viking folklore and Heri Joensens powerful vocals that create catchy choruses and chants. Tyr stays true to their sound and use arrangements that fans have become accostumed to from their past albums.
Valkyrja delivers what the title promises. The album, though focused on a Viking hero, brings a view of the feminine image in the Viking realm. Balancing different female figures from the earthly woman to the Goddesses of Nordic mythology and the Valkyrie, female figures that chose fallen warriors and lead them to Valhalla, around an anonymous warrior. This definitely was a new direction for Tyr's lyrical content. The new feminine element brings an interesting lyrical text in, "Mare of my Nightmare" with its sexually suggestive lyrics. In Joensen's own words, the song "ïs based on the mare from folklore, the human-like creature that lies on top of you, riding you, causing bad dreams" and incidentally is, "the most sexually explicit piece of lyric I have written so far.”
In addition to this new lyrical angle, Valkyrja also features Tyr's first duet with Leaves' Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine entitled "The Lay of our Love." Kristine's angelic voice paired against Joensen's more powerful vocals create a unique sound that will be making the ladies swoon.
However, there's only so much you can do with viking inspired lyrics and I must confess I was able to predict where the lyrics were going on the first listen. The same Viking tropes that are seen in every other viking metal band and even previous Tyr albums are repeated in Valkyrja. Nonetheless pagan metal fans never really tire of songs talking about Valhalla and fallen brothers and so "Another Fallen Brother" was still one of my favourite tracks from the album.
Though Valkyrja is less instrumental than previous Tyr albums, we still get some instrumental melodies on "Fánar Burtur Brandaljóð." But the progressive elements Tyr presents in previous albums are definitely lacking in this album as is the versatility of the lyrics. By resorting to cliched sayings such as "hell hath no fury like a womans scorn" and "tonight we dine in hell" it feels that the lyrical content might have been a bit rushed. But in the end it works well in the song and creates a musical combination that makes you want to raise your fist and chant. All in all Valkyrja satisfies that craving for Viking Metal and is an album you will be singing along to wishing you had a battle axe in one hand and a drinking horn in the other.