TYR - Eric The Red

Tyr - Eric The Red

12 songs
70:38 minutes
***** *****


The Faroes are a group of islands located between the Hebrides and Iceland. Only half as big as Luxembourg and only one tenth of our population, they nevertheless scored their biggest soccer victory ever again Luxembourg, even though we used to have the same couch Allan Simonsen who, we have to admit, got more out of the motivated Faroese players than from the lazy Luxembourgers.

Therefore we shouldn't be surprised that the principal heavy metal group from the Faroes is not only much better than our local produce, but even tops most of what I get to hear from most bands coming from thriving metropolitan areas.

In fact before I knew of their Faroese origins, I gathered that Tyr are from some part of Northern Europe, as many of their songs are traditional folk songs interpreted in the Faroese language, which is very close to Icelandic. Basically what we get is some kind of pagan/Viking/folk metal, but done in a way I have never heard before. Where most similar bands often have something like a dark or black metal background, Tyr seem happy enough to quote prog metal as one of their influences. The vocals are also very melodic, and choral parts add to the spiritual nature of their music. The pace of the songs is generally very languid, leaving enough space for melancholia to build up. With a good part of the material being metal interpretations of old Faroese folk songs, Eric The Red finds the perfect balance between progressive influenced pagan metal and dramatic folk music history of the Faroes.

Eric The Red is Tyr's second album, and was released on a small Faroese label already three years ago. Austrian dark metal specialists Napalm Records come now with a re-release with two bonus tracks. The perfect production and the band's original take on folkloristic music make this in my opinion the most refreshing pagan metal album of all times. It's the kind of heavy metal even your mother can't resist, while at the same time Tyr never wimp out in a kind of melodic metal kitsch. For those of us growing up with too much German television in the Eighties, there is even a moment to smile when we recognise in their Irish folk tune The Wild Rover the embarrassing An der Nordseeküste from the North German coastal proles Klaus und Klaus. Anyway, apart from that moment of fun, it's all very serious and moving, making this one of my favourite metal albums of the millennium.

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