Review by Suzi H.
I’ll be honest. I’ve known about Týr for years and just never quite got round to listening to them. I should like them – they’re exactly my sort of band but until I listened to Valkyrja they’d always been off my radar. I’m happy to say that’s no longer the case and I’m spending a fair amount of time listening to them now!
Valkyrja is a full length concept album, and what a concept it is! The storyline is loosely based around an anonymous Viking warrior who leaves his woman and goes off adventuring in the hope of impressing one of the Valkyries so he can get to Fólkvangr, the home of the goddess Freyja.
The album kicks off with Blood of Heroes a track that opens with some fast-paced guitars and then slick folk metal vocals slide over the top. This track is fist-pumping ode to warriors at battle and the soldiers prayer with a great hook- I was literally hooked from the first 10 seconds and at that point couldn’t have turned the music off even if I’d wanted too. Mare of My Night is a fantastically allegorical song – woman to this unknown warrior are both a blessing to ease his days and a terror that haunts his nights. Also, I don’t think I’ve heard such fine guitar work in a while.
Hel hath No Fury is another fist-pumping little number, full of the tale of revenge and the potential promise of revenge. It’s almost a fast lamentb- I really liked it, though the pacing is a little strange. The Lay of Our Love features Liv Kristine from Leaves Eyes and it is a beautiful trackb- there’s no other word for it. The story of lovers broken apart is done in a fantastically poignant way, without losing any of the fire of the band.
Nation steps up the pace after the two previous tracks with their heavily emotional lyrics and melodies and moves us back onto a more familiar footing of fist-pumping, shouting tracks. Another Fallen Brother is another brilliantly energetic song and involves the warrior making a direct plea to the Valkyries – ‘Choosers of the Slain’. Grindavisan was my first experience of songs in Faroese and I was bowled over by it. The melody was, well a bit reminiscent of a hymn to be honest, but in a good way and the vocals are like a punch to the gut. I’ve no idea what Heri is singing, but whatever it is, its brilliant!
Into the Sky brings more of the guitars with an intro that quickly grabs you. At this point our hero is lying on the battlefield and calling to his Valkyrie – his aim of reaching Folkvangr and the mighty Freyja is so close. Storyline aside, this is a track that’s eminently singable – it makes me wish I had a horn of mead to be waving about! Fanar Burtur Brandaljod is the second Faroese track on the album and (so a lyrics translator tells me) is the story of our Hero finally being lifted from the field by his Valkyrie.
Lady of the Slain is an ode to Freyja. It’s a fast paced ode I’ll grant you and has great headbanging potential – I’d love to see it done live. Valkyrja brings us some more ‘traditional’ and less metal sounds – listen to the intro and you’ll see what I mean. The pace quickly changes though and then the vocals slam through you and you’re left wondering whether our fallen hero has got quite the end he was hoping for or if he’s changed his mind.
There’s two bonuses for fans at the end – a cover of Iron Maiden’s Where Eagles Dare and Pantera’s Cemetery Gates. These are both brilliant and I’m hoping if I drop enough hints Carl will consider them for the show’s ‘Covered‘ segment (already done for Where Eagles Dare – Ed)
In short Valkyrja is a great concept album – I’m always a fan of the concept album anyway and this was a fantastic introduction to Týr as well. Well worth the listen, and it’s led to a nice expansion in my folk metal collection…