Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Týr - Valkyrja

 Týr's have progressed steadily since their debut album, How Far to Asgaard, and that is key to their monumental current success. Valkyrja is a very different platter to How Far to Asgaard, or 2nd album Eric the Red for that matter, and had they jumped from that sound to this, I think a few of their fans might have found it hard to take (I know I would have), but they've made little steps towards it, gradually creting a bigger sound, incorporating more guitar solos and duets and increasing the tempo (Hold the Heathen Hammer High, from the previous album, is particularly quick!) I have to say that I prefer the original sound - I think it was more unique and 'viking'. Okay, I'm aware that vikings didn't play any kind of metal, but the atmosphere in those songs makes me think of vikings more that that found in the current songs. Týr now sound more like the result of vikings banding together with some valkyries and the resident Valhalla musicians to create a symphony of praise to Odin, and that's no bad thing at all. In fact, new Týr might just be a better band because of it.

Valkyrja is an upbeat album, full of meandering melodies and pummelling rhythms. Most of the songs are in English (for better or worse) and most of them are fast. I was particularly impressed with 'The Lay of Our Love', featuring some beautiful female vocals, for the first time. The song has a nice swing to it, harking back to earlier material such as Sand in the Wind.

Other stand-out tracks are Nation, with its nice use of pinch harmonics in the riff, and  Lady of the Slain, which opens with a riff that could have come from a black metal song were it not so joyous sounding. There are a lot of different vibes in here, some progressive, some retro, but all combined in a way that is unique to Týr.

Týr might not be the same anymore, but they are still a mighty viking horde, serving up originality, bravado and, most importantly, riffs.

release dates:
Europe: 13th September
UK: 16th September
North America: 17th September

Thanks to Metal Blade.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Eibon la Furies - The Immoral Compass (2013)

The Immoral Compass by British band Eibon la Furies opens with a brooding mixture of bass and drums that builds to a moment of suspense... then it fades out and the first song proper starts in a completely unrelated manner. So much for the intro, but what are the songs like?

First song, Immoral Compass to the World, has a stuttering, progressive feel to it, with moments of trippy madness and furious guitar work, meandering through melodies and vocals like a snake entwining a column of sound.

Astronomy in Absences begins with ambient sounds that make me feel like I'm floating on a lake, and that's no bad thing, before launching into a prog-black metal dirge reminiscent of Prometheus by Emperor.

Flames 1918 provides a gentle moment amongst the fury and sounds like a mixture of Ancient Rites and Cradle of Filth (certainly with regard to the vocals) and has fantastic drumming, courtesy of James 'Battalion' Batt that add drama and tension to the delicate piano melody.

There are some great riffs, particularly on An Enigma in Space and Time and The End of Everything, but these are sparse, and songs are dominated by more ethereal elements and lead guitar.

Paul D. 'Lord Eibon' Sims provides excellent vocals that are used appropriately, adding bite where needed. There are some excellent progressive moments with stuttering guitars and call-and-answer play between music and vocals. The Iron Maiden-like solos are gripping and not boring, although they do all seem to be similar. Not to be missed by fans of Arcturus!

 The Immoral Compass is out now on Code666 Records.