Thyrfing - Valdr Galga review
|Release date:||March 1999|
01. Prelude: Heading For The Golden Hall / Storms Of Asgard
02. From Wilderness Came Death
03. Askans Rike
04. Valdr Galga
05. The Deceitful
08. A Moment In Valhalla
09. Mimer's Well
10. A Great Man's Return
An overlooked jewel... Correct me if I am wrong, but seriously, how many of those "core" fans of bands like Ensiferum or Equilibrium have already noticed Thyrfing exists and how many have listened to this great album? I believe not enough and I think it is unfair. Nowadays the genre called "folk metal" is quite popular, or more likely - "trendy," and there are tons of more or (usually) less quality bands playing in that style. Thyrfing may seem like they have kinda drowned in that flood but they were one of the first.
Valdr Galga was released in 1999. It was already their second album and yet it was time when Finntroll and Moonsorrow were making their first steps, it was two years before the debut of Ensiferum, three years before Eluvelite were even formed, four years before Korpiklaani changed name from "Shaman" and released Spirit of the Forest, six years before Turis Fratyr by Equilibrium. Yes, there definitely were other pioneers of introducing folk and viking elements into metal, especially guys like Quorthon or Valfar, but still I insist on statement Valdr Galga represents early wave of viking metal, when the music was really made for being music, not just because "everyone loves folk metal nowadays, so lets put some red and black paint on our faces, add some fancy horns into our (crappy) music and call it 'true viking metal right from Valhalla.'"
The first track on the album is entitled "Storms Of Asgard" and just after a few seconds you realize that the viking storm is really coming to you. It is everywhere around you, holding you from the beginning to the end. In a way it is surprising - in fact there is nothing very special in the band's lineup. Singer with harsh voice, two guitarists, occasionally using acoustic guitar, bass player, drummer and keyboardist... On the other hand, they are damn able to create unique sound and great atmosphere, which simply binds you to listen.
Talking about the music the most remarkable fact is that every song stands and falls with keyboard melodies, while guitars only do background for most of the time with only few exceptions. Everything is very "melodic" thanks to that. Therefore I have to ask - where is the black metal element? I mean everywhere you look, they label Thyrfing as "viking black metal." So vocals maybe? I am not so sure, every second singer nowadays has such a vocal (this doesn't mean it is bad). Maybe their other albums, but not this one. According to me, this is pure "folk metal" in its origins. But this is the only thing I can complain about.
And well, who cares about labeling music and genres definitions, when it is awesome, eh? And I swear to the gods that this is awesome stuff. Valdr Galga stands as one of the best releases among viking folk metal and I cannot do other than recommend it to all fans of such a music.
Album highlights: "From Wilderness Came Death," "The Deceitful," "A Great Man's Return"
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