Live at the Echoplex

Los Angeles, CA

May 20th, 2018

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Týr return to Los Angeles after a four year absence with a headlining show and a great selection of support bands as well. Ghost Ship Octavius and Orphaned Land got the crowd in high spirits prior to the folk metal legends taking the stage.

Týr hail from the Faroe Islands, a small island nation halfway between Iceland and Norway and an offshoot of the Kingdom of Denmark. Viking lore and tradition display prominently in their lyrics and influences but they differ greatly from other pagan folk metal bands in their use of harmony and melodic vocals as well as in their song structures.

Formed in 1998, Týr are hitting their 20th anniversary and as such are presenting a mammoth set list that touches upon all seven of the albums they have put out this far.

The band consists of Heri Joensen on lead vocals and guitar, Gunnar H. Thomsen on bass guitar and backing vocals, Terji Skibenæs on guitar and backing vocals, and Tadeusz Rieckmann on drums.

One of Týr's signature sound elements is the amazing harmonization between the three gentlemen's vocalizations that creates a powerful impact even if the words are being sung in their native Faroese tongue.

They started off the set with an anthemic tale of Valhallan proportions with "Blood of Heroes". Regardless of time period or those involved, it looks to those that came before and fought for each of our homelands and how they should be honored via legend and song. "Mare of My Night" was followed by "Grindavísan", all of the first three songs coming from the last album they put out, "Valkyrja".

They worked back an album to "Hall of Freedom" from "The Lay of Thrym" and did the title track from said album immediately after.  

Next up was one of my absolute favorite songs from them and is responsible for me instantly becoming a fan the moment I heard it many years ago. "Regin Smiður" comes from the "Eric the Red" album from 2003 and heavily features the vocal harmonization I spoke of earlier all sung in their native language.

They played the rowdy crowd-favorite in "Flames of the Free" before venturing further back into their history with "Sinklars Vísa" from 2008's "Land" album, this song being the sole selection from this release for the show.

They performed the title track from "By the Light of the Northern Star" before giving us one from their debut release with another all-time favorite of mine, "Hail to the Hammer". I cannot tell you how many times I have found myself singing this song. It has spoken to me. The energetic audience joined me in singing along to every word; "Ride across the sky, thunder roll and lightning fly. Gone is the summer. What will keep us warm in the winter? Tales of those who died, sword in hand in times gone by. Hail to the Hammer!"

This had already proven to be the best Týr show I had ever been to (and this was at least number 6, possibly 7), but they were not even close to done. "Turið Torkilsdóttir" from "By the Light of the Northern Star" was followed up with the moving and powerful "Wings of Time" from "Ragnarok".

Nearly all of Týr's songs are epicly written and both intelligent and thoughtful but there are several that transcend the folk lore inspired tales and are straight up poignant concepts and ideas that can be quite profound.

Returning to the "By the Light..." release they did Tróndur Í Gøtu which is another song that utilizes their voices in unison to massive effect and the Faroese lyrics have a huge impact despite me not being able to understand or properly sing along. It is quite remarkable.

This was definitely the favored album and rightly so as it hosts so many awesome songs. They finished out the main set with two more in a row. "By the Sword in My Hand" built up to a well received sing along from the crowd with all their fists in the air.

They closed out the set with one of my top three Týr songs, "Hold the Heathen Hammer High". With that chorus sang in rapid succession, the heavy metal riffs leading into the frenetic pace of the soaring leads, this song really epitomizes what is so great about this band.

The group left the stage but the audience chanted the single syllable name of the God of Law, Justice, and Heroic Glory until they returned. They played "Shadow of the Swastika" followed by one final song, "Ramund Hin Unge" from the "Eric the Red" album.

It was an amazing show. 18 songs not counting the solos and a few other pieces between songs. They hit upon every song that I wished for which was amazing, usually we get one Hammer song if we are lucky but we got both and we got so many other songs on top. I highly recommend this band to all metal heads as they incorporate quite a few sub-genres within their sound and do something different than any of the other bands I love and listen to.

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