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The Beginning
The Hammer Of Thor
Brothers Bane
The Burning
The Ride To Hel
Torsteins Kvæði
Grímur Á Miðalnesi
Wings of Time
The Rage Of The Skullgaffer
The Hunt
Lord of Lies
The End
Bonus tracks (digipack only):
Valkyries Flight

Heri Joensen – Vocals, Guitars
Terji Skibenæs – Guitars
Gunnar H. Thomsen – Bass
Kári Streymoy – Drums

TYR: "Ragnarok"    tyr      napalm records   


The soul of a people is reflected in their music.

Tyr: the God of Battle and Justice. Tyr, the only God who had enough heart to sacrifice a hand in order to trap the wolf Fenrir. Tyr, one of the most powerful Gods in the Norse religion, destined to perish in the Ragnarok after a valiant battle.

And to this Great God the band Tyr has dedicated its name. Coming from the cold winter of the Faer Oer islands, Tyr are a band which in the space of two albums managed to command respect from any metalhead worthy of this name.

And after the magnificent album Erik the Red, Tyr return with this new album, called Ragnarok. Will it be enough to withstand the unavoidable confrontation with the previous masterpiece of this excellent band? We are here to discover it.


The album opens with a delicate arpeggio of guitars called “The Beginning”, in which some themes that we will listen later are already surfacing. I like to trace the notes of what I consider the masterpiece of this album already in this long (more than 5 minutes) introductive track. But more on this later. Atmospheres of dark and clouds, of ominous stillness surface in this first track (at some points reminiscent of the soundtrack of the videogame Diablo, if anyone remembers it).

A change of pace with the following “The Hammer of Thor”. Immediately the voice and style of Heri Joensen (who also plays the guitars together with Terji Skibenæs) recalls to my mind a sort of Jon Anderson of the prog metal. If you are a diehard fan of the symphonic progressive of the Seventies, then this song will meet your immediate approval, as it is strongly in the style of the first epoch Yes, and you can easily see how greatly Tyr manages to transform a traditional Faeroese ballad in an exceptional folk metal song.

We move then to a brief instrumental track called “Envy”, with guitar arpeggios a-la Genesis, that introduce us to the next track, “Brother’s Bane”. This song tells us the tale of the “betrayal” of Baldr by Hodr, his blind brother, lured by the evil Loki to hit his beautiful brother with a spear made of mistletoe. Baldr will die of this wound, mistletoe being the only living creature who didn’t manage to promise to never harm Baldr. And, as the prophecies told, the death of Baldr will start the End, the Ragnarok. Permeated of doom, this song greatly embodies the anguish and fear after the fatal blow has been struck. A great rhythmic section built by Gunnar H. Thomsen on bass and Kári Streymoy on drums contributes to create a march into the tragedy, as we close our eyes to hold the tears and advance towards the following song, the instrumental “The Burning”, which opens with a melody of guitar and bass harmonics on a carpet of cymbals. But now it is time to move to Helheim and try to win back the soul of Baldr, and so we follow this journey in “The Ride to Hel”. Cadenced guitars march at one time with bass and drums, with cruel riffs describing the dangerous road no living sould should undertake. Great track even this one, not a single note out of place, not a single meaningless virtuosism.

And then we arrive to my favourite song of this album, a traditional Faeroese song, called “Torsteins Kvæði”. Listen to this one, let it flow in your blood, let it accompany every single step in your day. Let it escort your mind in a flight towards the shores of Faer Oer, towards the glistening of chainmail, the efficacious beauty of Norwegian swords against the Danish battelaxes, the shield walls, the silence of the dusk in the midnight sun after a long ended war between a Norwegian king and the Danish people. No word is enough to describe this song. This is the radiant proof that the soul of a people is reflected in their music. Listen to it. Thousands of times. And you will see.

And we then come to the very brief “Grímur á Miðalnesi”, another old ballad, sung in this album not by Tyr but according to the band by two old men recorded about 10 years ago.

“Wings of Time” returns to a more “metal” approach of the album, yet with a lot of the atmospheres you will now more than expect from such a masterpiece. Beautiful even in its guitar soloes, “Wings of Time” will surely be a hit in Tyr’s live performances.

We then find another instrumental piece, “The Rage Of The Skullgaffer”, but this time Tyr try their hands at classical music, with great success, in my opinion. And the almost onyric calm of the last track cannot prepare ourselves to the chasing rhythms and guitars of “The Hunt”, again reminiscent of the progressive rock of the Seventies, this time moving towards the last albums of Gentle Giant.

In “Victory” the Gods finally manage to put their hands on Loki, and they lock him under the ground, chained under a snake spilling its venom in the eyes of the God of Trickery. His fits of pain shake the ground, but the Ragnarok is now unavoidable. The Lord of Lies (as the title of the following track) prepares his final vengeance.

And then the fateful day comes. The army of giants and the forces of Helheim and Niflheim march towards Asgard. Bifrost shakes, Heimdall sounds the Gjallarhorni (this is the title of the next song) and the battle begins.

“Ragnarok”, the title-track, begins with a guitar arpeggio and choirs that grow in a metal march without losing any of its ominous aura. The end has come. The End, as titled by the last track of this album.


What can I say? Exceptional album, a concept that I personally love, very well expressed in music. I can’t find a major flaw in this album, except that it is Folk Metal so some of you out there will not like it so much. But listen to this: this is not the usual “folk metal”; I never liked the “systematics of metal”, so in my humble opinion Tyr’s album is Tyr’s metal. And, believe me, youd’ better listen to this album at least once or twice. Or you will lose one of the best releases of 2006 and maybe of the decade!

rating: 9/10  


Review by Marco Signore  20.11.2006 

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