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Tyrann - Shadows of Leng - 50%

ThrashManiacAYD, October 21st, 2009

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

some solid black thrash - 75%

gk, May 24th, 2009

Tyrann is yet another black thrash group from Norway with the guitarist from Tsjuder, bass player from 1349 and drummer from Grimfist. Now that should make for a pretty powerful combination and believe me, it does.

The name of the game is dirty black metal with loads of thrash riffs straight from the 80s German school of thought. Nothing new or path breaking but when bands get this combination right then the result is still worth checking out. Right from album opener Reaper you know you’re in for a wild ride into blackened thrash realms and the momentum never lets up through the course of this album. The music is mostly furious and manic black thrash with early Sodom as a chief reference but Tyrann are also adept at slowing things down and it’s the mid tempo blackened parts that really help this band stand out a bit. For a black metal band they also have quite a good year for thrash hooks and they keep coming at the listener.

Stand out tracks include album opener Reaper which is more Angelcorpse than any retro thrash worship, the awesome mid paced crunch of Hellridden with its references to later Immortal, Shub-Niggurath which is a pure thrash assault owing equally to Possessed and Slayer and another crunchy mid paced song, Black Moon which is very effective in building a wall of sound. The highlight though is the epic Grave Dreamer which starts off like complete Obsessed by Cruelty worship complete with sloppy dirty riffing before going off into some vicious black metal riffing before going off to reference Celtic Frost with its slowed down middle part and ending the album on a quiet note. This song really shows that Tyrann are not just some run of the mill black metal band that’s opted for the safe and clichéd black thrash attack. These guys are more than competent musicians who can rip it with the best of them.

As far as debuts go, this is a pretty good one from Tyrann. They’re not really doing anything new but whatever they are doing is done with a lot of panache and love for the old school. Overall, a promising debut and well worth checking out if you like the whole black thrash sound.

Originally written for

That is not dead... - 74%

Aetheraeon, April 24th, 2009

“That is not dead which can eternal lie...” should be a familiar phrase to anyone who has ever read any work by revered horror author H.P. Lovecraft. His world of legends has been a source of inspiration for a vast amount of bands within most genres of dark music, and not surprisingly so. Lovecraftian tales of horror and suspense are a rather suitable collection of dark stories, whose imagery is easily used in black metal. On “Shadows of Leng”, Norwegian black metal band Tyrann also draws heavily from Lovecraft's work and both the lyrics and the song titles (e.g., 'Shub-Niggurath', 'Dreams of R'lyeh') refer to elements taken from the well-known Chtulhu mythos.

Tyrann consists of three band members, all of whom perform or have performed in rather well-established bands such as 1349, Tsjuder and Koldbrann. Given this pretty impressive track record, it should come as no surprise that Tyrann's debut album sounds incredibly professional and feels like anything but a first attempt at creating and releasing a black metal album. Tyrann's music consist of fast-paced riffing, which in its core is taken directly from older black metal generations, but with a tendency towards more thrash-related hooks and song structures. The guitars sound dirty and almost crackly, which is perfect for this style of blackened thrash. Technicality is not the main interest and there is nothing pompous or overproduced here; speed and aggression are key, together with some pretty evil-sounding vocals courtesy of Draugluin.

While “Shadows of Leng” is not quite an absolute must-have, it is still an above average black metal album that would sit nicely in most collections. It will not be the album that you will instantly grab whenever you want something to listen to, but Tyrann definitely know how to keep you occupied for a nice 45 minutes.

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