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Based in the Faroes, a group of islands between Iceland and Norway that has been an autonomous region of the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948, Týr is a progressive folk/Viking metal outfit who record and perform in both English and in their native Faroese language. The group's name is that of an obscure deity from the Old Norse myths about whom little is known. Their recordings are steeped in mythological narratives and ideas. They proved provocative and compelling with the issue of their 2002 Tutl Records debut How Far to Asgaard that offered not only wildly original interpretations of folk songs but also a ten-minute period of silence followed by the Faroese poem "Nornagest Ríma" chanted by the band with stomping feet as a rhythm section. They signed a global deal with Napalm Records in 2006 in addition to their Faroese label Tutl. They consciously sought to break down barriers between different metal subgenres such as power, doom, black, progressive, gothic, Viking, folk, ethnic, and epic metal, all while underscoring and outfitting them with mythical and folk lineage themes. Ragnarok, their Napalm debut, was issued in 2006. Containing 16 tunes (18 on the digipack edition), about the destruction of the cosmos and the gods. 2011's The Lay of Thrym, took its title from one of the most quoted and enduring poems in the Norse Poetic Edda canon and offered a tribute to Ronnie James Dio (who had passed the year before) with bonus tracks that included Black Sabbath's "I" and Rainbow's "Stargazer." The following year, with their profile rising globally, they signed a multi-album deal with Metal Blade, issuing Valkyrja in 2013 with vocalist Liv Christine guesting on the track "The Lay of Our Love." After a personnel change, the band took their act out on the road, playing a world tour that lasted nearly three years.
The band formed in 1998 in Denmark around the talents of Heri Joensen, Kári Streymoy, and Gunnar H. Thomsen. Joensen's brother Jón and singer Pól Arni Holm joined the group for its 2002 debut How Far to Asgaard but left soon after. New guitarist Terji Skibenæs replaced Jón and Streymoy's brother Allan took over vocal duties on the single Ólavur Riddararós. After Allan's departure, Heri took over lead vocal duties and the band began work on its breakthrough song cycle, Eric the Red. Inspired heavily by Norse mythology (the group is named after a Norse god of war), Eric the Red was originally released in 2003 on the regional Tutl label but found international success when it was reissued by European giant Napalm. The blistering Ragnarok arrived in 2006, followed by Land in 2008 and By the Light of the Northern Star in 2009, all three of which helped earn the group accolades both local and international for its complex arrangements and keen ear for traditional Scandinavian-infused melody. Based on poems from the historical mytho-poetic texts that make up the Edda in Norse lore, the band issued The Lay of Thrym in 2011, followed by an international tour. It proved to be their final album with drummer Kári Streymoy, who had suffered a severe back injury while on tour in 2008. He was replaced by Niler drummer Georgios "George" Kollias for the band's Metal Blade debut Valkyrja in 2013, though former kitman Amon Djurhuus filled in for the world tour and was ultimately replaced by permanent drummer Tadeusz Rieckmann in 2016. In the summer of 2018, just prior to entering the studio to record, guitarist Terji Skibenæs announced he was leaving Týr. His final recording with the band, Hel, was issued in March of 2019 and showed a marked turn toward melodic folk-metal. Skibenæs was replaced on the tour by Satyricon axeman Attila Vörös. ~ James Christopher Monger
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