The academic/intellectual side of me recognizes that there is a big trend (or some might even say glut) or pagan/viking/folk infused Metal bands. The sound is very popular and some critics and cynics have stated that the sound is played out and that new bands are just imitators. I can see that perspective but I don’t agree. However, for me I love the style and can’t get enough, so that is why I am very open to discovering new bands like Thyrien.
Finland’s Thyrien have just been picked up by the mighty Massacre Records and just released their debut album, HYMNS OF THE MORTALS-SONGS OF THE NORTH. Originally a quartet the band put out an independent EP back in 2007 and now they have expanded to a quintet adding a keyboardist and have reworked some of those songs from the EP on the debut.
After an atmospheric introductory instrumental, complete with a militaristic tattoo-snare, drum beat and grandiose orchestration with choirs, the band unleash hell with nine more tracks for a 42 minute sonic assault. Immediately, I was very impressed with the vocals of Oscar Koivisto whose aggressive throat shredding style of delivery reminds me of Jens Ryden an bit, and that is a very good plus! There is a bit of a dual vocal effect as well with a harsher deeper vocal backing him up at times. The lyrics are typical fare songs about the death and wilderness, the north, forests and nature. Speaking of shredding, the guitar solos are great and they compliment the bouncy rhythms very nicely. The keyboards add lots of good atmosphere. The pace is pretty fast and the sound is dense with lots going on in the songs. Many of the song have a good surging and galloping beat. There are a few folk hints, acoustic parts but these are generally kept to a minimum. Overall the album is quite relentless, faster and heavier than many bands in this style, reminiscent perhaps of older Equilbrium of Thyrfing. The album finishes with a cover tune but I’m not familiar with the original by a Finnish pop artist by the name of Janne Hurme. It does not sound exceptionally out of place, it’s bouncy and fun and ends the album on a fun note.
The production is crystal clear, the drums sound nice and loud with good loud clarity on the cymbals, which I always like. The album cover also has many of the expected elements of an album in this style, a nature scene, a viking long-ship, all the additional components make the band look good and sound good. Whatever I am hearing Massacre Records heard it too when they signed these guys, from out of virtually nowhere they have released one of the strongest albums in the folk/Viking/pagan death/thrash style I have heard in a long time. HYMNS OF THE MORTALS-SONGS OF THE NORTH is one of the best debut’s I have heard this year. Is it all that unique or original? Perhaps not, but the strength of the songs and musicianship keep bringing me back to this record, I’ve played it more than any other album in this style this year.
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