THYRFING – e ödeslösa

THYRFING – e ödeslösa

I can do this review as long as I can correctly spell the band’s name.

Thyr-fing is a viking black metal band unsurprisingly from Sweden. For as long as the band has been making albums however, their reach has barely breached past marginal. Unlike Amon Amarth or even Bathroy, Thyrfing still remains on the other side of slightly obscure. De ödeslösa is the seventh release from this Nordic obsessed outfit. Let us cross our fingers that this is the one.

Thyrfing has a divided history. In 2007 both vocalist Thomas Väänänen and guitarist Henrik Svegsjö quit the band leaving three founding members to find their replacements. Currently, former Naglfar vocalist Jens Rydén has taken the mantle without the addition of a second guitarist. I only make mention of this because fans seem divided by the addition of Ryden and the band’s 2008 release Hels Vite. To be honest, I am sort of confused by the whole thing.

To be perfectly frank, I am still trying to understand what makes 2002’s Vansinnesvisor so wonderful. The band’s 4th album is hailed as a triumph in the field of viking black and is still referenced in current reviews. This is only irritating as the band’s newer work with Ryden is sort of cast off as second rate compared to earlier incarnations. This is only irritating because I sort of like the band’s newest material and even find it more effective than earlier albums. Example: De Ödeslösa.

Alright let us keep track of who is still here. Jens Rydén on vocals. Original members Joakim, Peter, and Patrik. Got it. Guitarist Fredrik Hernborg from the previous album and a new drummer Dennis Ekdahl. Just making sure we have everything straight. Though all of the elements are relatively the same and the music hasn’t made vast leaps, old and new Thyrfing are noticeably different and De Ödeslösa, along with Hels Vite, can really be considered a new chapter in the band’s history book. Again, I am sort of liking this part of the book. I mean, it still has vikings but something just feels different.

Comparatively, new Thyrfing has a much more balanced sound. The guitars are not overwhelming and there are no instances of staggered viking speech. Compared to earlier albums, the band’s lyrics are completely in Swedish, with no easy Babelfish English translations, making just whatever the hell they are singing about more of a mystery. Despite being stranded without context, songs like “Fordom” and “Kamp” are spectacular in their own right that translations are no longer necessary. Additionally the song lengths take a slight cut from Hels Vite. A more manageable 5-6 minutes each, compared to the 7-8 before, makes things a little bit more pleasing and ultimately successful.

For all intents and purposes, I feel De Ödeslösa is effective. At first I felt like I was just defending new Thyrfing from naysayers, but the entire album holds many points of interest. In contrast to previous records, the band retains the balance between high production and interesting songcraft. “Vindoga” is perhaps the album’s highlight and is buried near the end, making it an overlooked track but a gem for the diligent. The album’s closing and title tracks are some of the most fierce selections on the record, if not in recent band history. De Ödeslösa should be marked as a high point either in the band’s catalog or at least the second chapter for a group that is not finished yet.

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