Týr, Orphaned Land – May 6, 2018 – Alchemy, Providence, RIFriday, 11th May 2018
The second date of their current North American tour run hits Providence, RI for its lone New England stop – promising to be a night filled with exotic metal and it’s surrounding symphonic, progressive, and heavy offshoots. It’s not often you get a four-band package from the United States, Canada, Israel, and the Faroe Islands quite like this – which speaks volumes to the wide array of global metal and its impact for the benefit of the consumers. Necessitating another road trip two-hours away, and with occasional DR scribe and good friend Matt Bower in tow – it would be a Sunday night sure to satisfy the deepest cravings one could have for left-field hooks and adventurous melodies.
Arriving a tad behind schedule due to the oh so fun job of navigating one-way streets in downtown Providence and struggling to find decent parking (ended up at the nearby garage), we would miss all of the openers Ghost Ship Octavius set – but did get the chance to take in Quebec, Canada’s Aeternam. This four-piece delivered a decent, short performance of extreme, ethnic metal with spots of symphonic, folk and Middle-Eastern themes. Guitarist Achraf Loudiy seemed genuinely enthusiastic regarding the crowd response to their material, as many were partaking in this for the first time. Pushing all the right chanting buttons can be a sign of moving people in the right direction, and they certainly won a few newcomers to the merch table after their set tonight.
At the strike of 8 o’clock (the changeovers were incredibly quick and crisp), Orphaned Land began their evening with the opening cut off their sixth and latest album Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs, the moving eight-minute plus epic “The Cave”. It’s so amazing how a quintet from Israel can move North American crowds like they consistently do in other parts of the world – their blend of progressive metal time signatures and tempo changes along with folk/Middle Eastern heritage elements an entity quite unto itself. The title track for the 2013 record All Is One gave vocalist Kobi Farhi the chance to get unison hand clap engagement with the audience – not an easy task when much of the arrangement takes place on a seventh tempo swing. His intense passion for the topics beyond a one-of-a-kind stage persona (the swaying and eye/hand motions different than the metal norm) kept the crowd riveted throughout their all too brief 45-minute set time. Squeezing in eight songs, we got a split list of newer cuts like “In Propaganda” and “We Do Not Resist” along with old favorites such as “The Kiss of Babylon (The Sins)” and “Sapari” – the visual images portrayed behind the drummer on a screen adding to the exotic atmosphere. Conquering heroes again, all in the name of metal.
Fortunate to not deal with whale protestors outside Alchemy on this rainy evening, Týr brought their brand of Viking/Pagan heavy metal to the 175 plus attendees craving for this veteran band’s output – and they did not disappoint. Playing for an astounding hour and forty-five minutes, we would get treated to selections from the first album How Far to Asgaard for “Hail to the Hammer”, native tongue cuts like “Ramund Hin Unge”, as well as a healthy dip into the latest album Valkyria for stirring renditions of “Mare of My Might” and “Blood of Heroes”. Not much encouragement would be necessary for any sing-a-long, and the band’s sense of humor remained in full effect. Guitarist Heri Joensen even starting a bit of the first verse and chorus for the Canadian classic from Loverboy “Turn Me Loose” prior to the encore to great effect.
There would be pits. There would be sweat. There were fans with Viking gear and drinking horns. There could have been tears of joy as the songs kept pouring out of the quartet. Týr is one of those bands that can be embraced by not just the folk community but the heavy metal purists as well – the lyrics bringing the listeners into their world and for that brief time together, you feel as one going into battle or riding the mystic seas. Add in the ideal sound from the stage and it’s easy to tell why these gentlemen haven’t lost any creative ground twenty years plus into the business. The biggest takeaway to metal’s diversity and obvious global appeal, it’s nice to see an international tour package gain favor from New England on this late weekend date.