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Album Review

Lineup changes are as common in black metal as they are in death metal, and it isn't hard to find black metal bands that have gone through several different drummers or five or six different guitarists in only a few years. Thyrfing, however, haven't been nearly the revolving door that other Scandinavian black metal bands have been (at least as of early 2009). The Swedish outfit was formed in 1995, and in early 2009, they still had four of their original members: guitarist Patrik Lindgren, keyboadist Peter Löf, bassist Kimmy Sjölund, and drummer Jocke Kristensson. Nonetheless, Thyrfing did experience a few personnel changes in 2007; lead singer Thomas Väänänen and guitarist Henrik Svegsjö both left that year, and Väänänen was replaced by Jens Rydén (formerly of the black metal band Naglfar). Hels Vite is Thyrfing's first album with Rydén, who is joined by original members Lindgren, Löf, Sjölund, and Kristensson — and while some Thyrfing fans will no doubt miss Väänänen's vocals and miss the two-guitar attack (there is only one guitarist on this 2008 release), Rydén shows himself to be a highly capable replacement and provides harsh rasp vocals that are quite convincing whether he is singing in Swedish or English. Most of the songs are in Swedish, although two are in English — and whatever the language, Thyrfing offer a healthy balance of heaviness and melody. Hels Vite isn't the type of black metal that favors harshness for the sake of harshness; this is symphonic black metal, and that means that melody, intricacy, and musicality are as important as forcefulness and intensity. Of course, no one will mistake Hels Vite for easy listening, but this 52-minute CD has a lot more nuance than one expects from the more unforgiving black metal bands such as Gorgoroth and Marduk. An engaging addition to Thyrfing's catalog, Hels Vite finds them bouncing back nicely from the departures of Väänänen and Svegsjö.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Swedish black metal band Thyrfing was founded in 1995 by guitarist Patrik Lindgren, bassist Kimmy Sjölund, keyboardist Peter Löf and drummer Jocke Kristensson; drawing profound inspiration from Norse mythology, the group soon recorded its first demo, Solen Svartnar, adding vocalist Thomas Väänänen prior to cutting a second, Hednaland. Signing to the Dutch label Hammerheart, Thyrfing issued their self-titled debut LP in early 1998; upon completion of the follow-up, 1999's Valdr Galga, second guitarist...
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Hels vite, Thyrfing
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