Thyrfing - _Vansinnesvisor_
(Hammerheart, 2002)
by: Adam Lineker (8 out of 10)
A couple of issues of Terrorizer Magazine ago, the vocalist of Nunslaughter made a proclamation: that owning a Thyrfing album induces homosexuality, as opposed to making one 'underground'. Setting the record straight, you should be aware that the aforementioned notion is not really grounded in solid fact and is somewhat unfair, as there are a lot of releases that fail to match up to the quality of Thyfing's new opus. At a basic level, _Vansinnesvisor_ incorporates metal with typical but effective usage of keyboards to embellish, counter and layer subtle, folkish moods to well crafted melodics. The first track, "Draugs Harg" demonstrates this well, creating a distinct 'classical' feel in the synthesized string parts; not exactly ascending to the symphonic heights of Emperor's swansong album but striking a tone more akin to the melodics of In Flames during their _Subterranean_ era (when their logo kicked arse in a Morbid Angel-esque fashion). Thyrfing explore a variety of subtle metallic shades, moody in riffage on "Digerdoden", then subtler as the mood changes and flows into follow up track "Varldsspegeln". There is use of a style of multi-tracking in the prominent vocals that is similar to that of label-mates Mercenary, combining low extreme with soaring clean that lends a more epic feel to the music. The guitars have a balanced mix and use a traditional metal distortion that seems neither too harsh nor too thick; it is a shame that the drums seem a little too low in the balance and the bass is camouflaged by the overall production. The material flows soundly and never seems disjunctive or awkward in time signature or structure. Thyrfing are also successful in pulling off stylistic elements of their music that have often proved to become pitfalls for metal of this nature. The Egyptian feel of "The Voyager" is understated and atmospheric without becoming clich├ęd, and their folk leanings are effective without provoking derisive laughter; overall the music is accomplished in being both enjoyable and uplifting. "Angetsens Hogborg" is a great achievement, being epic in length and scope whilst avoiding the onset of boredom. Though the images they paint can become somewhat vague, the Thyrfing soundscape is pleasantly colourful. Less blatantly metal crazed than Skyfire they may be, but the given performance is still passionate, albeit in a subtler and deeper form. "Vansinnesvisan" itself echoes of melodic black metal, vocally adding more inhuman touches with vocal effects. It isn't all immediate and some of the less captivating moments leave the album with certain murky overtones, but when Thyrfing shine they offer emotive glimpses of brilliance that earn _Vansinnesvisor_ a deserving high mark.


(article published 21/3/2003)

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