Týr – Battle Ballads

Týr is back, baby.

Exactly how long it has been will vary depending on who you ask, but most longterm Týr fans agree their last few albums have lacked a certain something. I have heard many wondering if it was worth looking forward to this year’s offering. The answer to that is an emphatic yes. “Battle Ballads” joins Korpiklaani’s “Jylhä” and Ensiferum’s “Thalassic” on my list of fantastic folk metal comeback albums, giving old school fans something to be excited about without re-treading tired ground.

The compositional elements which give Týr their unique sound are all present on “Battle Ballads.” Subtly interesting time signatures lead their simple melodies to flow across bars, and help parts of the song roll into each other. This gives the sensation of rolling waves on a voyage, or questing across a varied landscape, and pulls the listener forward on this journey.

Heri Joensen’s syllabic lyrical delivery combined with this style of composition lends the whole sound an ancient feeling, nearly reminiscent in places of early medieval music such as plainsong or unmetrical song. While updated for the modern metal listener’s ear, this all comes together as a wonderful way to tell bardic tales, both those rooted in folk tradition or history, and those written fresh for the album.

The above elements are what have set Týr apart as one of the most unique folk metal bands over the years, but on “Battle Ballads” we also see them stretching in some fresh directions. Some higher energy, sing-along tracks such as “Unwandered Ways” and third single “Dragons Never Die,” give the album as a whole a more power metal sensibility. This is reinforced by the guitar work of both Joensen and new member Hans Hammer.

Joensen also experiments with harsher vocal delivery, for example on first single “Axes,” parts of “Vælkomnir Føroyingar,” “Hangman,” as well as the intro to the high-tempo “Row.” Combined with the addition of choral hints and subtle symphonic background instrumentation, the album has the sonic diversity it needs to avoid monotony, as each track is given its own clear identity within the whole.

For those of you who, like me, also love Týr’s harmonised vocals and slower songs, fear not. I was delighted on my first listen to discover a return to energy and renewed passion behind the songs. However, I was also relieved when the fifth track, “Torkils Døtur,” was a more acoustic, pensive number. “Turið Torkilsdóttir” off of 2009’s “By the Light of the Northern Star” has long been a favourite of mine, and this second song about the influential tenth century woman is a gorgeous and worthy follow up.

While most previous albums have several standout tracks I love dearly and I could have done with some more vocal harmonies, “Battle Ballads” may be their most consistent and cohesive album. New details make themselves known on repeat listening and it is memorable and enjoyable front to back. While the singles are all engaging (“Dragons Never Die” especially promises to be a banger live), there are more standout tracks to be found. “Torkils Døtur” is a lovely mid-album oasis, “Unwandered Ways” has me tapping my feet, and “Hangman” has epic storytelling gravitas and a blistering solo.

Týr is not only back, but better than ever.

Rating: 9.5/10

Release Date: 12th April, 2024
Label: Metal Blade Records

Writer: Astrid

1. Hammered
2. Wandered Ways
3. Dragons Never Die
4. Row
5. Torkils Døtur
6. Vælkomnir Føroyingar
7. Hangman
8. Axes
9. Battle Ballad
10. Causa Latronum Normannorum


Astrid has been having opinions on the internet since 2004, and started listening to metal sometime between 2000 and 2006, depending on how you count it. She was raised on classical music and Celtic folk, which has led to most of her favourite genres including “folk,” “melodic,” or “symphonic” somewhere in the descriptor alongside heavier elements. Astrid’s interests include archaeology, history, mythology, and all forms of storytelling. She enjoys singing, dancing, and being in the forest. She is a seamstress and designer by trade, based on the west coast of Canada. Capable of 347 tangential thoughts per minute.

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