Profession of the Christian Faith or Decapitation: This was the choice given by Sigmundur to his Faroese Viking compatriot Tróndur í Gøtu. And so it was that in 999 A.D., the Christianization of the small “Faeroe Islands” began, casting a veil of oblivion over the ancient Scandinavian gods and only leaving the relics of forgotten heathenry buried deep within the Christian ritual. Or so it was believed…
Exactly 999 years later, a small group fondly remembering the archaic gods and rites came together to form the Faroese Viking metal band, TÝR. The one-armed God of War —the bravest of all— became the eponym of the Nordic quartet. Yet TÝR mastermind Heri Joensen is no war monger in disguise and points out that TÝR (also known as the God of Justice) is also revered for first seeking the avenues of diplomacy—an attribute that does not take away from this god of war’s drive.
A distinctive trademark that sets TÝR apart from most other bands of the Viking metal genre is the authenticity of their music: “Traditional music dating back to the Vikings, that is not preserved anywhere else in the world, not even in Iceland, is passed on in an oral tradition here and it is still alive and well. That is what we build our music on and draw great inspiration from,” explains Joensen.
Almost every song is based on Faroese or Norwegian lore, and is riveted in the garb of the folk metal genre. Its approach unmistakably creates very true Viking metal.
Following the release of a demo, the Ólavur Riddararos single, full-length How Far to Asgard, six years of innumerable gigs, and several domestic television appearances, TÝR’s second full-length Eric the Red became the Islands’ best-selling album, coming to the attention of Napalm Records, the label that finally made the album available worldwide in 2006.
Immediately, the unique approach of TÝR‘s music, melting traditional Nordic songs and dances with Celtic influences, doom, heavy, and progressive metal found fans around the globe. “Hail to The Hammer” became the hymn to the new generation of folk, pagan, and Viking metal fans.
In late 2006, TÝR refined their trademark sound with Ragnarok. Technically brilliant and 100 percent authentic, Ragnarok was nothing less than a masterpiece within the true Viking metal genre. The Faroese band embarked on a European tour with Die Apokalyptischen Reiter and a few months later with AMON AMARTH. Though musically different, TÝR gained legions of new fans, impressed by the four men on stage, who were able to turn every show into a demonstration of musical prowess.
Festival appearances throughout Europe and continued touring followed until TÝR enjoyed their biggest live triumph ever at the very over-crowded Wet Stage in Wacken.
Land was released in 2008 and proved to be yet another milestone in the band’s career. Traditional Faroese lyrics marked tracks such as “Gátu Ríma,” “Fípan Fagra” and “Lokka Táttur,” and “Gandkvæði Tróndar,” which is a poem by J.H.O. Djurhuus about the Faroese chieftain Tróndur, who fought against the dying of the old beliefs and for the independence of the Faeroes. A video clip was produced to the fan favorite “Sinklars Vísa.” Land received overwhelming positive feedback and a new audience was able to experience the power of TÝR for the first time.
Following the release of Land, TÝR embarked on numerous tours through Europe. One of the highlights was without a doubt the Aaskereia Festival tour with then label-mates Alestorm and Hollenthon. Thanks to their efforts, the band reached many new fans with their memorable concerts. 2008 ended with TÝR being nominated as “Band of the Year” by the Faroese National TV and radio. However, the band had no time to rest on its laurels and embarked on yet another tour through North America in the spring of 2009.
Despite their busy touring schedule, TÝR worked on new songs recorded in early 2009. The band chose to produce the album on native soil. Jacob Hansen mixed the new material with finishing touches provided by the mastering experts at Finnvox. By the Light of the Northern Star met with great feedback from fans and critics alike. The new anthem “Hold the Heathen Hammer High” was regarded as the legitimate successor to “Hail to the Hammer.” After the release of the album By the Light of the Northern Star, the band played numerous concerts and festivals, as well as taking part in the 70.000 Tons of Metal cruise, while still finding the time to work on new material for their upcoming release.
The story of King Thrym, who dared steal Thor’s hammer “Mjollnir,” may set the lyrical stage on TÝR’s latest album, but it does not prevent them from covering more current topics like in the track “Shadow of the Swastika.” The Lay of Thrym follows the path of the band’s previous releases by uniting classic heavy metal riffs with impressive drumming, traditional melodies, and powerful choruses. The result is a number of epic anthems, such as “Take Your TÝRant” and “Hall of Freedom,” both of which will most certainly earn a permanent spot on TÝR’s future set lists. Frontman Heri Joensen continues to give TÝR a unique and unmistakable edge with magnificent vocals and superb guitar work. Jacob Hansen was again responsible for recording, mixing, and mastering the album, complementing this fascinating Faeroese sound universe with finishing touches that allow every last detail to shine. The Lay of Thrym is a genuine Viking metal album that will undoubtedly secure TÝR’s hold on this genre with its heroic melodies and glorious riffs.