Album: "De Ödeslösa"
Style: Viking/black metal
Release date: 2013-03-01
1. Mot Helgrind
3. Veners Förfall
8. De Ödeslösa
First off, I can't say that I have been really anticipating the new album from Thyrfing. In my opinion, "Hels Vite" was quite slow, dull and for the most time downright boring. "Farsotstider" was much better, though nowhere near the sheer brilliance of "Vansinnesvisor", which I doubt the band will ever top. Without expectations, I could really only be positively surprised or my prejudices would be confirmed. Here's what happened...
As soon as the first track "Mot Helgrind" starts, you can definitely hear what band is playing. Thyrfing have actually managed to carve their own little niche in the ever-growing ocean of viking/folk metal and I have to give them credit for that. Sure, the influence from Bathory is of course quite obvious, but combined with all their other elements, it sounds like a good mix. At least on paper.
For you see the main problem I have with Thyrfing post-2005 is the fact that Jens Rydén (ex-Naglfar) is handling the vocals instead of Tomas Väänänen. I think I've mentioned this sometime before, but I really felt that Rydén's vocals were spot on for Naglfar (which have gradually become more and more boring for each album since he left) but they don't fit that well in Thyrfing in my opinion. Väänänen had this really emotional and quite unique rasp to his voice, whilst Rydén has a more standard black metal-scream. And even though it's not bad in any way - the band has actually lost a bit of what made them so unique in the first place.
Granted, on "De Ödeslösa" Rydén actually comes closer to sounding more like his predecessor and that alone makes this album way more interesting than "Hels Vite".
Musically, it also feels like the band has a better focus that on the previous album; the songs have better structures overall and not everything sounds as slow and dragging as it did on "Hels Vite". Such an example is the amazing "Veners Förfall" which actually sounds like something straight off "Vannsinesvisor". I know I'm doing a lot of comparing to the past, but as usual, this is not a review in a zine or something like that. This is my personal blog, which you (for some reason) have chosen to read.
Other good songs are "Kamp", "Relik" and some parts of the title track. All three having in common that they have a quicker pace than the rest of the album. Parts of "Vindöga" also rocks my socks with it's headbanging-friendly groove. But then there's these incredibly dull songs such as "Fordom" and "Illvilja"; the choirs, the keyboards and the mid-tempo stuff is all things we've heard from this band before and there are very few surprises to be found on these songs. Sometimes it feels like nothing's happening at all.
All in all, this feels like a very uneven album with the latter part being way more interesting than the first. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just so tired of their slow songs and we've somewhat grown apart during the years, I don't know. Fact remains, if you've only slightly enjoyed Thyrfing in the past, you should give this album a listen or two. I know I most definitely enjoyed parts of it. This was an album that I felt was insanely difficult to give a rating, but in the end I chose what I felt was most fair. "De Ödeslösa" might in fact be a grower, when given a couple of months to sink in. I feel like I might come back to this album in this blog later in the year.