Eric the Red

I’ve read a lot of stellar reviews of the latest record from folk/Viking/pagan outfit Tyr, so I was anxious to hear it, and if I’m being quite honest, I’m a little disappointed. While I can appreciate a lot of the things that they do, and there are certainly some quite good moments on the record, taken as a whole, I find it a little boring.

My first impression from the opening track, “The Edge,” was of one of the weaker 1970s or early 1980s prog outfits. When the singer’s voice goes up, he almost sounds like “Weird” Al Yankovic. To be honest, it had me wondering what everyone that’s writing those glowing reviews is hearing in this.

I did hear it a little later on. I’m a big fan of folk-influenced metal, and there are moments when Tyr does it very well, as on “Regin Smidur” and the traditional Irish ballad “The Wild Rover,” which seems way, way, way out of place amidst the Viking themes that dominate the rest of the record, but is probably the best track on the record to my ears. Makes me want to lift a mug of ale and wave it over my head as I sing along.

I can also appreciate the mixture of styles, ranging from folk and power metal to a more commercial rock sound, to some doom stylings. Tyr is a band that certainly can’t be pigeonholed, but I have to wonder if they focused on just a few styles, could they do it better. But then again, I seem to be one of the few who think they need to improve, so what do I know?

In the end, I really don’t have much to say about this record. Though I like all the elements that Tyr puts together individually, in this mix, it’s just not my thing. If you like folk/pagan, Eric the Red is probably at least worth a listen. It’s just not for me.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Fred Phillips
June 27th, 2003


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