|Review: Tyr - Valkyrja|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2013
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: September 11, 2013
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Rated 4.5/5 (90%) (18 Votes)
A new Tyr album is often cause for rejoice. I'm one of the guys who tend to prefer their later direction as opposed to the more progressive, doomy stylings of their first couple of albums (a minority?) I feel that since By The Light Of The Northern Star Tyr have done no wrong, with The Lay Of Thyrm topping it, and their latest opus Valkyrja bringing it full-circle, outshining both aforementioned albums on every level.
Valkyrja houses everything I love about Tyr's current direction, yet also takes a little of Ragnarok's progressive approach making this arguably the most complete Tyr album to date. Kicking off with the Painkiller fed through Amon Amarth riff attack of "Blood of Heroes", Tyr set into motion a great work of killer musicianship, shout-a-long choruses, and really, some of the finest heavy metal you're going to hear in 2013.
There are no blemishes here on Valkyrja, from the propulsive to the moody and everything in-between, not a moment feels wasted. The album is chock full to the brim of highlighting features, from Heri Joensen's ever-characteristic vocals all the way up to George Kollias's first-class drum performance. Production is flawless, as per usual, thanks to the wonderful Jacob Hansen, with the mix being particularly well done. I'd have to say my favorite aspect on Valkyrja is the guitar work, it seems Terji Skibenæs and Heri have been on the ball more-so than usual. As I mentioned before about "Blood of the Heroes" and its Painkiller via Amon Amarth approach, a lot of the album has a similar feel. This is blended in with some moody Scandinavian progressive power influence à la Anubis Gate (see "Into The Sky"), as well as the expected folky melodies, and of course some straight-up heavy riffs as displayed in standout "Lady Of The Slain".
Whilst the album definitely continues in the vein of the last two, I'd certainly class Valkyrja as a step up, one listen to the title track should be enough to discern as much. Some of the sillier sing-song type stuff from the last two albums has been ditched too, and while the songs are still catchy as hell I think the album benefits on the whole because of it. I will say that I feel Tyr have pushed this approach about as far as they can for now, and it will be interesting to see where they go from here, hopefully without them going through the motions.
On the whole Valkyrja certainly ranks amongst the finer albums I've heard this year. Fans who are more inclined to their earlier material might not find as much to love, although anyone who enjoyed their last couple will be in for a real treat. Power metal fans should pick this one up without hesitation too, as there's definitely a lot of appeal. Highly recommended!
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