Sig:Ar:Tyr – Northen (Hammerheart Records)Monday, 18th April 2016
It’s been six years since Sig:Ar:Tyr’s last release, Godsaga, was washed upon the shores. Continuing their Viking metal approach, full of influences from Bathory, Immortal, and Falkenbach, Sig:Ar:Tyr have made strides in their sound from the beginning, and Northen sees that progression moving forward yet again. Those in the market for Viking metal that is as heavy and crushing as it is majestic should make sure this Canadian band is on your radar.
One significant factor that has changed since Godsaga is that Sig:Ar:Tyr has moved from a one man act (that being Daemonskald) to a full-fledged 4-piece. What this does is allow the sound of Sig:Ar:Tyr to become more grand in scope. The guitarwork in particular is nothing less than stunning. Whether its battle hymns (“Helluland”), soft acoustic moments (“Skraeling”), rich solos (“Markland”), or anything inbetween, Sig:Ar:Tyr has you covered. Particularly enjoyable is the melodic closer of “Last Ship Sails,” which strikes a keen balance between melancholy and adventure. This song is a good representation about what Sig:Ar:Tyr are doing best with their music. With many Viking/folk bands feeling the urge to add non-metal instruments to keep the diversity (and intrigue) up, Sig:Ar:Tyr are able to accomplish the same level of elegance and mastery with no need for outside instrumentation. The lengthy album with average runtimes of about 7 minutes never feel bloated or unnecessary, again another testament to the band’s ability to pen interesting songs.
While the wait for some may have been excruciating, Sig:Ar:Tyr make it worth your while with Northen. Taking a true Viking spirit, there is plenty to enjoy about this epically-paced and melody-intensive treat, all without having to add anything extra (including clean vocals, which had been used in the past). Refreshing and palatable stuff all around.