Top critical review
They've got a lot better!
on 2 February 2015
As far as I can tell from AMG, Tyr are up to seven albums now. Had I come to this first, I might not have investigated any further. Not that this is crap, but even by the second album, they'd improved vastly from this, their debut effort. The striking examples of this are the bonus tracks. These were reworked for Eric the Red, the second album. I'm not one for complaining about production as a rule, but it isn't great on this, it's far slicker from Eric onwards. Take the wind at the beginning of Styrisvolurin - on here it sounds like it's synthesized; on Eric, it doesn't. The bass is also underdone in some passages, leaving them sounding a bit thin at times.
There were personnel changes by the time the second album was recorded, too. Most importantly, Heri Joensen had taken over the vocals. He got a strong, passionate voice, more powerful than the album vocalist, and can also carry a tune rather better than the bonus tracks' vocalist. Of course, with better production, that latter might just be down to the infamous Autotune, but somehow I doubt it! Finally, a problem that occurs a lot with progressive bands, rock or metal, is a tendency to disappear into melodic & rhythmic complexity, seemingly for the sake of it sometimes.
Tyr still indulge in it somewhat, but have steadily streamlined their sound as they've developed. The tempo of this album is slower than most of their later songs; ponderous even, in comparison. But the other problem with most of the songs on this debut is that many of them are disjointed within themselves. Riffs & segments that don't sit comfortably together are OK occasionally, but it's hard work listening to song after song of it. Take 'The Rune' - it begins with a quick right-hand hammer-on sequence, all very lively, sounds good... then hits a brick wall & stops... And takes half the song to get going again. And that is a fault of much the album - sufficiently disjointed that songs never really flow.
So should you buy this? Absolutely! Amazon's 3* rating is "It's OK", and it is. I don't regret purchasing it, even though only a couple of tracks have made it onto my iPod for in-car music, unlike the rest of their albums. If you're a fan of the band, you'll want it, for the sake of completeness if nothing else. And as one of the other reviewers points out, you can very definitely hear how they began. It's rough & unpolished in comparison with everything else they've done, so I should save purchasing it to complete your collection as I, accidentally, did!