Thyrfing Urkraft

Norway's Thryfing plays a brand of melodic, mid-paced Viking metal that obviously owes a lot on spirit and sound to mid-'80s Bathory. Hailing from the land of the Vikings, these jokers even go far enough to apparently record their albums in full Viking attire - donning their horn helmets and brandishing their weapons in the recording studios to get the full effect. Go figure. Despite the absurdity of it all, the record is actually quite good. The band rarely changes tempo and instead concentrates on slow to mid-pace songs throughout. The vocals themselves are a cross between death metal growling and clean atmospheric singing and along with the keyboards, they play a big role in the development of the songs. To be honest, the songwriting is very catchy throughout, although they do try for the epic moments a little too much. The only song in English on the disc is a cover of Gary Moore's "Over The Hill and Far Away," sort of a strange decision that works well, nonetheless. If you aren't bothered with the somewhat nationalistic feeling the band puts forth throughout, the record is more than mildly amusing. If you would rather live without the Norse rhetoric, make sure to stay far, far away from this baby and you might as well ditch those Bathory records from the back of your closet, too. (Hammerheart)