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Críticas a Álbuns
Crítica a Álbum :: Týr - Valkyrja (2013)
2013-09-24 02:01:58 | Hugo Miguel Delgado

10 years ago I discovered, by mere chance, a most amazing album entitled Eric the Red. Its melodies and riffs were so different from everything else, resulting in such a perfect combination of feelings - so epic and yet so melancholic, so well-crafted and yet so heartfelt and unpretentious, that I immediately had to find out everything I could about this Faroese band named TÝR and couldn't help but continue to follow them since then. Which brings us back to 2013 and to their 7th studio album Valkyrja - their first release after leaving Napalm Records and signing with Metal Black Records, and also their first album without Kári Streymoy playing the drums, as he had to part ways with the band due to a back injure back from 2008 which was affecting his drumming. Renowned drummer George Kollias (Nile) was called in as the guys moved once again to Jacob Hansen's Studios to record.

The album opens with its first single Blood of Heroes, a song that starts with a Amon Amarth-like riff and quickly moves into Týr's typical sound. Heri Joensen's singing style and his and Terji Skibenæs's guitars sound exactly as they should in what quickly becomes one more soon-to-be-classic song for these guys. Same thing happens with following track Mare of My Night, another brilliant song with the usual amazing vocal arrangements and melodies that these guys have used us to. Then Hel Hath No Fury comes... for some reason I kept confusing it with some song I can't recall from their previous (and brilliant) album The Lay of Thrym. Maybe that's due to some rehashed chord progression or something, as Týr usually does things like that, but it took me more than a few listens until finally getting confortable with this song. And then, for something completely different, Leaves' Eyes' Liv Kristine joins Heri Joensen for a duet in The Lay of Our Love. I'm not very fond of this song as Liv's singing style and some unusual (by the band's standards) arrangements added a pop-rock, modern feeling to what might have been a beautiful mellow Týr song. Things gradually get back to normal as songs such as Grindavísan, Fánar Burtur Brandaljóð or Lady of the Slain bring us back to that good ol' Týr sound, and the album comes to an end with Valkyrja, a slow and melancholic 7+ minutes long song that feels somewhat short of ideas at times and has a little too many ah-ah-ah-aaaahhhs during the choruses, but otherwise would have been a great album ending. As with their previous record, 2 cover songs were also included in the end - this time, Iron Maiden's Where Eagles Dare and Pantera's Cemetery Gates. Both are great renditions and are masterfully played. They even managed to include some of the band's typical sound in the former, and if not in the later, they compensated it with a really wonderful performance that I'm sure will take everyone by surprise.

As a whole, Valkyrja felt slightly on the downward slope, considering as they've been steadily outclassing themselves with every new release after 2008's Land until peaking with 2011's The Lay of Thrym. Although Blood of Heroes, Mare of My Night, Grindavísan or Lady of the Slain are able to rival any of the band's classic songs from previous albums, we also found some material that feels less inspired than what they've been accustoming us to, and the unlikely duet with Liv Kristine ends up sounding odd and out of character, although I'll admit it may help the band reach a wider audience. Also, I'm not sure of the direct influence of Kári Streymoy in the band's composition process in all these years, as Heri Joensen seems to be the mastermind behind nearly all of the band's songs, either original ones or adaptations of tradicional ones, but the drumming shown in their previous albums had an emotional and organic feel that is absent here, replaced by a more technical and fast style but heartless and machine-like. I'm not saying George Kollias was a wrong choice, far from it, he's an amazing musician, but Kári Streymoy had been hitting the drums in the band since its very beginning so it's only natural that something will sound slightly amiss to a long-time fan with this replacement. The remaining guys played at their best, as always - Heri Joensen's singing is as perfect as ever and all the usual vocal melodies and arrangements that one expects from Týr are there; the riffs and harmonies from his guitar, along with Terji Skibenæs's, are also always present, catchy and very well done, all supported by Gunnar Thomsen's pounding bass, setting things into motion and adding all the needed groove and depth to their intrincate melodies. Contrarily to their previous album The Lay of Thrym, here the lyrics take us back in time once again - Valkyrja is a concept album that brings us the tale of a Viking warrior who leaves his woman and seeks to impress the Valkyrie in battle to earn his place in Valhalla. Production wise, I found nothing to complain about as everything seems to be in the right place and level. I would have cut off or at least question those ah-ah-ah-aaaahhhs from Valkyrja and try to make The Lay of Our Love sound a little more like a Týr song, but that's about it.

That all being said: here's another great album from the Faroese Viking Metallers and a great debut under the Metal Blade banner. If you don't know Týr already, grab this album immediately, you'll love it. If you already know them, then you already know what you're getting with this one - great singing and beautiful vocal arrangements and harmonies, amazing guitar work combining metal riffs along with traditional-sounding melodies, and epic tunes that'll make your fist raise up in the air from the first second right until the end of the very last song!

"Late is now the hour of the day

And I've long ago run out of words to say
..." so I'll leave you with Valkyrja's final score - an impressive 85/100.

Rating: 85%

Valkyrja - album cover
01Blood of Heroes
02Mare of My Night
03Hel Hath No Fury
04The Lay of Our Love
06Another Fallen Brother
08Into the Sky
09Fánar Burtur Brandaljóð
10Lady of the Slain
12Where Eagles Dare (Iron Maiden Cover)
13Cemetery Gates (Pantera Cover)
VozHeri Joensen
GuitarraHeri Joensen
GuitarraTerji Skibenæs
BaixoGunnar Thomsen
BateriaGeorge Kollias
Týr - band photo

TýR (FO)