It doesn't happen often but when I come across a disc that truly blows me away it is something to relish and believe me, I do! This is the case with the one man project from Canada called Sig:Ar:Tyr. The man goes by the name of Daemonskald and this is the third full length disc from him and I have to wonder how he has flown under the radar for this long. I have not had a chance to go back and hear his previous offerings but you can bet that everything in his catalog will be in my collection before too long. Described as pagan fork metal, this pigeon-holing of what he produces comes no where near describing the incredible array of musical genius that he shows on this latest release. While he may sing, or growl as the case might be, about the Northern European mythological deities, his music has a much broader geography. This is what sets his vision apart. It is no simple metal album but a complex and masterful work that captivates with his use of many styles and genres.
The first instrument you hear is an acoustic guitar. Then comes the vocals that sound otherworldly and almost like he is singing a prayer to Odin with this piece. Chant like and mesmerizing, this is the lull before the storm as Daemonskald tries to give you a false sense of security before unleashing the wrath of metal that is to follow. "Nights All Nine" lay the foundation for the mystical and enchanting ride that you are about to embark upon with your conductor Daemonskald leading the way.
When you reach the next destination "Midwinter Sacrifice" the terrific melody line that is highlighted by very powerful guitar work just sucks you in. Like a snake charmer this one has a Middle Eastern flavor to it that along with his very distinctive growl makes you feel as if you are the Thirteenth Warrior aboard the Viking ship. This is the type of music that Sig: Ar: Tyr brings to you. A blend of styles that give this disc an epic feel. It also keeps you thoroughly entertained with the power and majestic nature of the songs.
Daemonskald also gives you some very dynamic instrumental moments on this album. "Black Sun's Bane" has lyrics in the accompanying booklet but is a terrific, moody, dark instrumental piece that uses acoustic guitar to give it a gothic feel along with a haunting choral background. It is just the perfect piece to go with your cup of tea or sacrificing small animals.
The centerpiece of the disc is the title track "Godsaga". Many have tried to capture the spirit of what is know as pagan/viking metal but few can truly pull it off. Sig: Ar: Tyr: defines the genre with this epic and grandiose statement. This is storytelling with a monstrous metal backdrop that is as good as it gets in this genre. When you have something of this magnitude it is almost overwhelming so be careful with the volume knob as this one tends to want to be played louder and louder each time it starts. I have found very few times when a song really gets into my psyche like this one does. It is one of those times when you stop whatever you are doing to listen. Music can be a powerful tool and Daemonskald proves to be a highly skilled mechanic with this amazing song. Not to say that the rest of the disc is anything but fantastic but this one does stand alone. It is worth the price of the album alone.
Like I say though, this is an album filled with masterful musicianship and a flair that will captivate any who listen. Daemonskald uses his vocal ability to punctuate each tale. From an almost whisper to a gut wrenching growl, he manages to bring to life the dark and mysterious world that he dwells in on this album. I can safely say that it would not be nearly as epic without his dynamic vocal delivery.
There is really little else I can say about this disc other than it should be required listening in Pagan Metal 101. He could write the text book on how it should be done and in fact, I think he has with this disc!
1. Nights All Nine
2. Midwinter Sacrifice
3. Blood Of The North
4. Black Sun's Bane
5. Eternal Return
6. Sleep Of The Sword
9. Distant Northern Shore