TYR – Battle Ballads (April 12, 2024)


🤘New release from: TYRBattle Ballads (April 12, 2024)🤘

When acclaimed Viking metal band Týr teamed up with the Symphony Orchestra of the Faroe Islands on February 8, 2020, to record the double-disc/DVD release A Night at the Nordic House, band founder and frontman Heri Joensen was thrilled to bring together two of the music forms he loves most – folk and classical – into his band’s unorthodox form of music. But at the time, he couldn’t have imagined what a profound impact the collaboration would have on his musical vision, and how much it would influence and inform the album he would write a few years later.

There’s a reason classical music is called classical,Joensen says. “It’s the classical way of doing it. And it creates these epic sounds that fit in perfectly with the kind of metal we do in Týr. So, there’s full orchestration on all of the new songs.

The follow-up to the band’s 2019’s powerful progressive folk-metal album Hel, the new Battle Ballads is aptly named – a crushing, soaring, batch of classical embellished songs that conjure images of galloping steeds, clashing swords, and hard-fought victories. And, as if it needs to be stated, the title Battle Ballads has nothing in common with the lighter-raising songs so prevalent in the 1980s.

There are definitely two versions of a ballad,” clarifies Joensen. “A lot of people think of hair metal, when they think of ballads. We are looking at ballads here in the Medieval sense. Apart from a couple of softer parts on the album, this is very much straight heavy metal with some folk and classical influences. I’m not sure what exactly one would call it – power metal, Viking metal, folk metal. It still fits in very much with what we do, only it feels bigger and more like these big soundscapes.

There’s no escaping the masterful blend of melody and savagery on Battle Ballads. The opening track “Hammered” funnels infectious riffs and searing licks through a variety of rhythm and tempo changes, “Unwandered Ways” is a triumphant, upbeat blend of vocal harmonies, joyous folk hooks, and dense, driving guitars, and features a solo break that demonstrates Hans Hammer‘s acrobatic ability to shred. And “Battle Ballad” is a trample to the abyss, fueled by hammering beats, fleet-fingered guitars, orchestral swell and chugging guitar breaks.

I’m very satisfied with the way I put it together,Joensen says. “It’s not the way I usually work. I had one very basic idea, and I made the whole song out of that. It’s like one continuous melody and I put some breaks into it so there are like eight musical phrases. I used the first of each four phrases for the chorus, and the second half for the lines and the verses. I was fiddling with that for quite some time and I’m very happy with the result. And not many bands, if any, work like this.

In an effort to make those and other songs, like “Dragons Never Die” and “Hangmen,” as musically diverse as possible, Týr downplayed some of the multifaceted, progressive metal shifts they’ve become known for in favour of sparser, more direct songcraft that lent itself more readily to orchestral embellishments.

We consciously decided to make this a more direct album with songs that are easier for listeners to get right away than some of the stuff on our last album, or maybe even on our 2006 album Ragnarok, which was very progressive,” says Joensen. “With Battle Ballads, there are progressive elements here and there, but we tried to keep the songs based on one or two musical ideas each, and work on everything from there. So, in a way, it’s more concise than our last album, but it’s more epic because of the symphonic elements.

Torkils Døtur” is a yearning ode to loss. Wearing his slashed heart on his bloodied sleeve, Joensen croons a weary melody as the symphony swirls empathetically around him. At the end of the song, the bands pick up the tempo and the metal riffs merge with the beats, conjuring images of a wounded warrior leaving a burned village and sprinting through the woods hellbent on revenge. It’s here that the synergy of folk, classical and metal are at their most potent.

As much as Týr would have liked to write, rehearse, and record with a symphony, schedule conflicts made it impossible to have the band and classical musicians to be in the same place at the same time. So Týr did the next best thing. The band, with Joensen at the helm, wrote ten thunderous songs for Battle Ballads, then the bandleader sent the compositions to a Danish colleague Lars Winther living in England, who added the orchestral samples, paying close attention to the tone and tempo of the songs so the violins, violas, cellos, woodwinds, and horns fit complimented the traditional rock instruments. When the samples were all in place the album sounded impressive, but the tones weren’t perfectly blended. So, Týr sent the album to veteran producer Jacob Hansen in Denmark to put together the final mix.

We actually never worked directly with Lars Winther and Jacob in the studio, we did everything on the Internet,” “Joensen says. “It’s very easy and effortless to work like that. We had all the arrangements the way we wanted them, and they were both very professional people so there were no hiccups along the way.

Battle Ballads Track Listing:

01. Hammered
02. Unwandered Ways
03. Dragons Never Die
04. Row
05. Torkils Døtur
06. Vælkomnir Føroyingar
07. Hangman
08. Axes
09. Battle Ballad
10. Causa Latronum Normannorum

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