Alongside fish, Týr are one of the biggest exports from the Faroe Islands and for the good reasons. They’ve worked hard and earned a reputation as a quality live act and as heroes in the viking and folk metal scenes. Valkyrja is an interesting album because the drumming was done by none other than Mr George Kollias of Nightfall and Nile fame, a man more famous with blast beats than melodies.
Opening track ‘Blood of Heroes’ has a clear power metal influence, it is a grandiose track that starts off an epic journey through the mystical realms. This album is certainly one of the mighty proportions, well-crafted mystical tales and melodies. Heri Joensen’s vocals sound godly; there is so much melody and charisma oozing from his lips on the album. George Kollias’ drumming is superb, even with some machine gun drumming on ‘Lady of the Slain’. Even though it is unlikely he’ll return for another album, I’d certainly welcome him back with open arms.
It isn’t the Joensen and Kollias show though, the whole band deserves credit for a great album. There are many different styles and genres at play here. There are the guitar driven tracks like the ‘Blood of Heroes’, the sing-alongs such as ‘Hel Hath No Fury’, the progressive nature of the title track and the more emotional ‘They Lay of Our Love’ (featuring Liv Kristine of Leaves’ Eyes). There aren’t any weak tracks on the album, even if all the songs are about war and smashing your foes.
The album ends with two covers, Iron Maiden’s ‘Where Eagles Dare’ and Pantera’s ‘Cemetery Gates’. The Maiden cover is a faithful rendition but the Pantera cover is another ball game all together. It is a simply breathtaking cover and perfectly captures the emotions of the original, I’m even going to go out on a limb and say it is on par with the original.
This is an album to raise a tankard to in Valhalla with your fellow Norsemen featuring a contender for the best cover of all time in ‘Cemetery Gates’.
The band will tour Europe in November and December supporting Sabaton and Korpiklaani, see the dates here.
1. Blood of Heroes
2. Mare of My Night
3. Hel Hath No Fury
4. The Lay of Our Love
6. Another Fallen Brother
8. Into the Sky
9. Fánar Burtur Brandaljóð
10. Lady of the Slain
12. Where Eagles Dare (Iron Maiden Cover)
13. Cemetery Gates (Pantera Cover)
Heri Joensen – vocals, guitar
Terji Skibenæs – guitar
Gunnar Thomsen – bass
George Kollias – drums