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Tyr: Land
Heavy/Folk/Viking Metal
Rating: 4.0/5.0

I'll admit I had a difficult time getting my head and ears around Tyr and their new album 'Land.' Although Tyr plays basic heavy metal, the core of their music is founded upon traditional folk music and a very fundamental ethnic base. Tyr comes from the Faroe Islands (literally, "Sheep Islands"), a group of islands in Northern Europe, between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, roughly equidistant between Iceland, Scotland, and Norway. Tyr invokes their ethnic roots bringing folk melodies and pre-Christian history to their music. And, except for a few songs on 'Land,' they sing in their native language. For this myopic American, 'Land' was a real challenge. Tyr's metal is fundamental and very well done. My struggle was listening to some fine metal in a foreign language. Little did I realize how much my impressions and expectations rely upon any metal band singing English. Forgive my American proclivity to self-centeredness because Tyr's Land is a fine metal thanks to their honest reliance upon their heritage.

Your first introduction to Tyr's folk based metal comes with the lengthy spoken beginning on 'Gandkv di Trondar' which near the end turns into some rousing metal. A song like 'Sinclar's Visa' challenged me because the fundamental structure of the arrangement revolves around the nuances of their native language and song. If any song confronted my listening habits, this was it. 'Ocean' is one song sung in English; it's very traditional heavy metal with an almost doom metal feel. It's long and I struggled to stay interested. 'Gaturima,' 'Brennivin,' and 'Fipan Fagra' resound with classic heavy metal and are some of the best songs on the work. 'Brennivin' is most notable because of its dependence upon rational folk melodies and great vocal arrangements. All three song have some colossal ripping guitar work. The title track 'Land' is epic in scope and Tyr shows the breadth of skills throughout. By far my favorite track was the closing number, 'Hail To The Hammer,' and not because it's sung in English. It's simply good, honest heavy metal.

I'm thankful that I gave Tyr and their album 'Land' a chance. It blew away my conceptions of what metal (or any music) could be when founded upon a foreign ethnicity and heritage. Tyr should be commended and appreciated for their pursuits. Though not necessarily my mug of brew, I found 'Land' to be fascinating and well worth my time.     - Craig Hartranft

In Short

Tyr's music is essentially ethnic based heavy metal. Hailing from the Faroe Islands, their music is steeped heavily in their history, language, and traditional music. For me, an American, it was an immense, but satisfying, challenge to listen to Tyr's shape of metal. If you enjoy this mixture, you will find 'Land' thoroughly enjoyable.

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