Thyrfing - _Farsotstider_
(Regain Records, 2005)
by: Jackie Smit (
I can see it now; hundreds of Viking metallers choking on their Ovaltine and threatening to take up their broadswords in violent protest when the announcement came that it would be Henrik Edenhed who would be picking up the producer's cheque for the fifth Thyrfing full-length. More known for his work on a number of faceless pop records than grim musical specters of death, in the minds of many this could only signal disaster for one of the genre's cornerstone acts. The reality however is that it was always going to be pretty damn hard for Thyrfing to turn out a complete turd. With an impeccable track record, and probably more talent than they know what to do with, the only thing that fans should have been asking was whether the band would be able to top their last effort, 2002's _Vansinnesvisor_.As it turns out, that question would have been answered en masse right around the time that "Far At Helvete" hit the three minute mark. Slightly slower, though no less effective, than their previous work, the track starts off with a simple, aggressive riff before being doused by a wave of atmospheric melody. As it turns out, Edenhed's appointment was a masterstroke as well, with the album's gruffer sound adding to its overwhelming presence in shedloads. But it's the fluid, dynamic way in which the band have employed their many disparate influences this round that gives _Farsotstider_ its edge over its predecessors. Neo-folk and classical are common threads that run through the likes of "Host" and "Baldersbalet", only this time around they feel more integrated and more subtly balanced with the harshness of the guitars, drums and particularly Thomas Vaananen's acrid vocals.As has always been the case with Thyrfing's music, repetition is the key to the reward, and it's likely to be a good five spins before this dense, intricate piece of work has thoroughly sunk in. Such is usually the way of truly outstanding records however, and as far as Viking metal is concerned, _Farsotstider_ very comfortably boots Enslaved's _Isa_ off its throne.
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