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Another day, another Scandinavian extreme metal act. If it weren't for their residence is Oslo, Norway, one wonders what scope for growth a band like Tyrann would have should they originate from a less 'metal' country than what they do. Ho hum, such is life and the 'scenes' that we are all at the mercy of. Now I didn't know of Tyrann before this their debut release so I can't speak of their motivations, but I wonder if a tribute of sorts was intended with "Shadows of Leng" to a number of classic and contemporary influential acts on the extreme metal world, as rather than sounding like a plain Darkthrone, Burzum or Mayhem clone like frankly most Norwegian bands do, Tyrann instead have chosen to base each song round one specific different influence. For instance in "Reaper" I hear Belphegor and Mayhem; "Beneath" Aura Noir; "Black Moon" Celtic Frost and Mayhem; "Dreams of R'Iyeh" Immortal and 1349; and "Grave Dreamer" Burzum and Immortal. If none of those bands interest you, you may as well move on now cos "Shadows of Leng" is stylistically angled at the 80's black/death/thrash sound messily borne by Bathory, Destruction, Sodom and the likes - no keyboards, no female vocals, no nice.
Like all the classic 80's extreme metal Tyrann no doubt worship, technical accomplishment was never the key, and while being far from bad, much of the lead work in tunes such as "Reaper" and "Trial By Fire" leaves a lot to be desired, being poorly played and equally sloppily integrated in the rhythm of the song. Draugluin croaks along on top of the burly chaos, going for the Tom G. Warrior rasp in the Celtic Frost-worshipping "Black Moon" (everyone's allowed one song to sound like "Morbid Tales"!) but more commonly sounding like the dual croaks of Apollyon and Agressor of black/thrash experts Aura Noir. Until the closing 11-minute "Grave Dreamer", which opens in true Immortal tone before drifting into Burzum-ic territory, the preceding 8 tracks roar by in a flurry of dirty rollicking riffs, happy to slow down sporadically before breaking out the THRASH! during "Beneath" and "Soulburner", one of album's best tracks.
As fun a listen as any extreme metal tends to get, "Shadows of Leng" could be played as a demonstration to the battle-scarred genre I and many others love and for that reason Tyrann's debut could linger in the memory, though its originality and worthiness to an already crowded (Scandinavian) scene leaves much to be desired, and will ultimately decide it's fate. If many of the bands highlighted peak your interest, play your part in deciding the fate of Tyrann by examining "Shadows of Leng" for yourself.
Originally written for Rockfreaks.net