Music Review: By the Light of the Northern Star

Music is often thought of as an attempt to capture transcendental emotion into vibrations of air so that we may all again experience the sensations of somber peace with the world, the warmth of our first loves in the summer sun, or the cold distant pain of loss. Instead of those particular emotions, “By the Light of the Northern Star” by Týr is exaltation and passion coming from Viking lore and Norse mythology. Týr is a viking metal band from the Faroe Islands. For those not familiar with the countless subgenres of metal, the band plays songs that blend the black metal and folk metal by combining loud songs, relatively slow paces, and lyrical themes coming from viking lore and Norse mythology. Every song on this album is majestic and powerful yet accessible to those new to the genre even with two of the songs beings song in Faroese.

What makes the album stand out among albums by similar groups is just how melodic every song is, to the point of wanting to learn Faroese just to be able to sing along to “Tróndur í Gøtu” and “Turið Torkilsdóttir”. Despite this, Týr does not skip any chance to include incredibly strong guitar riffs and powerful beats. There is a good balance on the album between more melodic songs like “Hold the Heathen Hammer High” and heavier songs such as “Turið Torkilsdóttir”.

Fans of viking metal, folk metal, or progressive metal cannot go wrong purchasing this album and it can serve as a fantastic introduction to the these genres for anyone who may be put off by more heavy and guttural sounding bands out there. It is also a rather interesting introduction to the Faroese language and a small part of its history in the form of the two songs in the Faroe Island’s native language.

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