CONCERT REVIEW: Straight Outta Asgaard – TÝR At The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (April 3rd, 2024)

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Photos by Anthony DeCrisantis

Hailing from the Faroe Islands, Týr have garnered quite the following since their inception in 1998. Eight albums and multiple lineup changes later, they are currently on a headlining tour in North America, while also promoting their ninth release, “Battle Ballads”. The album was officially released this past Friday (April 12th, 2024) and was already on sale at their shows before the release date.

“We decided to not test people’s patience”. Those were the words used by Týr frontman Heri Joensen when describing a more direct approach used on “Battle Ballads”. While the writing and recording followed a similar M.O. as previous efforts, the songs here have instant accessibility, while counting with lush orchestrations. Conjuring images of galloping steeds, clashing swords, and hard-fought victories, Týr have created a strong candidate for the best album of their catalog.

The preparation for the “Battle Ballads” tour included a social media survey where they asked the fans which songs they wanted to hear live. As a result, the tour is 100% catered to their audience and also brings in tow Trollfest, Æther Realm, and The Dread Crew Of Oddwood as support acts.

Right before the band went on Stage in Toronto, at the iconic Horseshoe Tavern, on April 3rd, Heri Joensen sat down with Sonic Perspectives collaborator Rodrigo Altaf to discuss the new album, the current tour, and much more. Find their conversation down below.

Speaking of the show, Týr kicked things off with the commanding “By the Sword in My Hand”, summoning the crowd to raise their fists in the air. It was followed by “Dragons Never Die”, a single from the new album, which the fans sang at the top of their lungs, proving that this is a new classic in their repertoire.

While it was still spring in Toronto, the attendants experienced hellish temperatures inside the venue, and one couldn’t help but think a bigger location could have been considered for this sold-out show. The dancing and fighting reached almost uncontrollable levels on “Mare of My Night”, the closest they’ll probably ever get to a love song. With lyrics such as “Terror takes me now she rides me like a mare/ I slide in ever deeper sweat-drenched in despair / I pray she won’t play the painful passage on my flute / She sucked me dry and left me nameless in the nude”, this Thor-meets-Steel Panther number was one of the highlights of the night.

In case you don’t know yet, the band alternates English lyrics with others written in Faroese, the first of which to appear on the night being “Tróndur í Gøtu”. It felt like a barbarian horde was invading the city for a few minutes. Bassist Gunnar H. Thomsen seemed like the happiest man on earth while on stage, constantly agitating the fans while providing a reliable backbone to the group’s sound.

As mentioned in the interview with Heri, “Battle Ballads” is the first album with guitarist Hans Hammer, and it was natural that they named a song after him – thus “Hammered” was born. Hans fits in like a glove and consistently delivered a great solo on songs from the new album and also on the ones from their previous records.

Týr’s talent to blend their Faroese influences with more traditional forms of metal is apparent throughout their discography, but perhaps more evidently so on the galloping “The Lay of Thrym”, which was met with great applause and, not surprisingly, lots of dancing and fighting, Viking style. Zero gimmicks, pyro, or special effects were used, only four guys on stage playing their asses off – as it should be!

A welcome change of pace came in the form of the syncopated and solemn “Hail to the Hammer”, perhaps the only moment where the audience was allowed to breathe. And I gotta give it to the Toronto crowd – they are usually very tame. But seeing them sitting down and rowing to the sound of “Regin Smiður” was quite a sight. Maybe not as impressive as it usually happens at Alestorm shows, but it seems this trend is here to stay.

The anthemic “Axes” was another song off the new album which they debuted live on this tour. The blast beats and Heri’s unique singing style, using the snarl phaser technique, make this an instant hit. The main set finished off with “Blood of Heroes”, while the encore was made of “Sinklars vísa” and a call to arms for those in attendance, “Hold the Heathen Hammer High”, from 2008’s “Land”.

The “Battle Ballads” tour still has about twenty dates until it’s finished, so make sure you catch them live while you can. One piece of advice though: bring your earplugs, because they play mercilessly loud!

The Dread Crew Of Oddwood Photo Gallery

Aether Realm Photo Gallery

Trollfest Photo Gallery

Tyr Photo Gallery


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