SIG AR TYR – THE FULL REISSUED BACK CATALOGUE & NEWEST RELEASE FROM HAMMERHEART RECORDS
Up next we have a trio of reissues from Hammerheart Records, comprising the first three full length albums from Canada’s Sig Ar Tyr. Back in the day, this was a one man act with the supremely talented Daemonskald performing all duties and reminding us that Canada was part of Viking history.
The first outing ‘Sailing the Seas of Fate,’ was made up of mostly instrumental tracks in an acoustic folk/ambient/Viking metal vein. I am not one with great patience for this type of metallic folk and so this doesn’t really float my longboat. One thing it does do, however, is make your ears prick up at the potential of Daemonskald as a composer and more particularly, guitarist.
‘Beyond the North Winds’ is a much more convincing effort, as the blackened metallic voice emerges more from behind the northern clouds. The ambient folksy thing is still there and forms the backdrop for the musical action, but it is the emergence of something that sounds like a fully functioning metal band that draws the attention this time around. This time the tracks feel more like songs in the traditional sense rather than atavistic ramblings. That some of the choruses are catchy, fist in their air sagas doesn’t hurt at all.
Daemonskald takes a step closer to perfection on the darker third album ‘Godsaga.’ Once again he moves closer towards a traditional metal sound that has a two handed axe of Viking black metal stuck in its back. The ambient elements are still there to a degree but this time around expressed in longer repetitive passages with full drum, guitar and bass. With each release, it feels as if Daemonskald is really finding his true voice and when this record hits its stride, it is pretty phenomenal. Once again though, the ambient and slower connecting passages that lurk about, decrease engagement and serve as a barrier for more impatient listeners like me.
Fast forward half a decade to this year’s ‘Northern.’ Daemonskald has continued on his trajectory and Sig Ar Tyr 2016 sounds even more like a traditional metal act, trimming away the ambient and acoustic fat. Yes, the roots of Yggdrasil still show and the black metal influences still endure in the slightly ‘depressive’ tone and vocal approach. But this is rousing Viking metal of the highest order. Each song glides toward you from the mist, then seizes you by the hair to deliver a punch that you will feel long after the clouds have closed and the waters grown still. The fact is that Daemonskald has finally found the target and on ‘Northern’ he hits it every time. His musicianship, which has always been jaw dropping is now transcendent, and some of the guitar work on this disc will certainly be the best you will hear this year.
It has been a long and arduous journey through Helluland, Markland and the mists of Vinland but Daemonskald is finally home.
‘Sailing the Seas of Fate’ Rating: 3.5/6
‘Beyond the North Winds’ Rating: 4.5/6
‘Godsaga’ Rating: 4.5/6
‘Northern’ Rating: 5.5/6