Pros:Joensen's vocals, the overall sound and enthusiasm of Tyr.
Cons:I need to brush up on my Faroese and Danish.
The Bottom Line: Tyr's second album, Eric the Red delivers very listenable folk viking metal, even if you don't speak Faroese.
I've always admired Vikings. They were a hardy bunch, and explored a lot of the northern hemisphere. Erik the Red was the first to discover what is now North America, hundreds of years before Christopher Columbus.
Recommend this product?
Tyr is a Viking metal band from the Faroe Islands, under the reign of Denmark. They are a great band that have a folk / metal sound. Heri Joensen is the guitarist and vocalist for the band. He sings in Faroese, English and Danish on this album. Terji Skibonaes is the lead guitarist, Gunner Thomsen is the bass player and Kari Streymor plays drums.
Eric the Red
This is the bands second album, and it was released on June 27th, 2003. It was also re released by Napalm records in 2006. It is the original album that I am reviewing here. The album has 10 tracks of fine Viking metal.
The first song is The Edge, sung in a heavy voice by Joensen. His vocals are clean, Tyr doesn't use death vocals, so unless he is singing in another language, all Tyr songs are easy to understand. The Edge is about a man condemned to death for some unnamed crime against his King. The choruses are sung in Faroese.
Regin Smidur is sung entirely in Faroese. It has a very catchy sound to it though. An upbeat bass and drum rhythm provides the background for an almost chant like singing.
Viljið tær nú lýða á
meðan eg man kvøða
Um teir ríku kongarnar
sum eg vil nú um røða
which translates to
Will you now listen
whilst I will sing.
About the rich kings
that I will now speak of
In the song Tyr regails us with tales of ancient kings and dragons from folklore and myth.
It is the albums fourth track that really made me smile though, it is Tyr's cover of a song of unknown age, The Wild Rover, a traditional Irish drinking song. If you've ever been to Ireland, or just listened to any Irish music, you know this song! Tyr does a fun raucous cover of it complete with guitar solos.
It is a shame really that you either need to look up the translation or speak fluent Faroese to appreciate the lyrics of Olavur Riddaros. The song has a great sound to it with a great heavy folk/viking metal sound as Joensen sings the tale of Olaf Knightrose. What is missing if you don't translate though, is what the tale is about. Olaf is not the tale of a brave warrior, but a hunter who goes out to 'hunt' while leaving his fiance at home. He rides through the woods to visit his elven mistress. Alas, he has decided to end his affair, and he tells his elven mistress that their affair must come to an end because he is going to wed. She takes the news well and gives him a drinking horn full of ale. Women though, human or elf, don't take kindly to being scorned, and Olaf never makes it home, because he has been poisoned.
Ramond Hing Ung is the one song on the album sung in Danish. It begins with a nice acoustic guitar solo that sounds like the intro to an epic tale conveyed in song. Indeed it is. The vocal harmonies are beautiful as Tyr sings the tale of young Raymond as he goes off to fight giants and kill an emperor with his sword Dimling.
The final songs, Alive and title track, Eric the Red, are sung all in English.
Tyr has a very folk metal sound, with much more emphasis on the folk. If you only like your metal heavy you may not like Tyr, but if you appreciate great melodies, vocal harmonies and solid musicianship and tales of Vikings, you will love Tyr. They are a fun band to listen to, and my spirits are always raised when I have Tyr playing. Whether they are singing in their native languages or in English, the songs are fun to listen to. Tyr is one of my favorite bands, and although I think a couple other albums are even better, I gave this five stars. Eric the Red is very listenable.