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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Hammerfall vs Týr: Who's Keeping Score?

So I haven't posted anything here in quite a while. I've decided to tweak the purpose of this blog from now on. It will just be my random observations and impulsive posts about things I know and think. For example, my opinions on metal music, metal albums, recipes, food, places, event venues I've been to across the world, experiences I've had in my travels and how they have affected me in whatever ways, etc.

So, this is the first posting! It's on my observation of two metal bands, Viking Metal if you want to be specific (although I know that the latter prefers to be described simply as "Heavy Metal"¹).

While playing "Monsters of Metal: The Ultimate Metal Compilation Double DVD Vol. 3" and simultaneously drinking Peach Blossom tea and organizing my new apartment (so metal of me, right?), I heard something that I had heard before, but it sounded different. That's not the right voice! Who's covering this song?

Turns out "Renegade" by Hammerfall was on the TV. My heart sank, for I am not much of a Hammerfall fan. In fact, I really dislike Hammerfall. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan on some of the Symphonic/Melodic Metal (Scar Symmetry, Dimmu Borgir, etc.) but when it comes to vocals I could go on and on about what I feel makes a good voice. Simply put: If your vocal style does not sync well with the music you are a part of, then your energy is being wasted. It's not that Joacin Cans of Hammerfall has a bad voice, I have just always felt that it could be better suited for other music.

That is, until I heard Renegade on this Monsters of Metal Compilation.

His voice sounds great in this song, and the melody is a good one. A really good one. So good, I thought, that I've heard it before. I've definitely heard it before, by Faroese Heavy Metal band, Týr.

This has to be a cover, I thought. I searched the Internet, nope. Not a cover. Then... Týr wrote it, guys of Hammerfall must have heard it at some point, and unintentionally written a similar melody? Certainly it is not identical! I scour my iTunes for the song by Týr that is playing over and over in my head, though I cannot remember any of the lyrics. Except "destiny", they say "destiny" a couple times! There is one album by Týr that I still don't own, Valkyrja, it must be on there! So I searched for "Týr lyrics destiny" expecting nothing but garbage, and possibly every other song they've ever written to pop up in the results. Much to my surprise, the second result was a site with lyrics to "Blood of Heroes".

Blood of Heroes!!

I have heard Valkyrja a couple times via YouTube "full album" uploads, but I didn't know any of the songs had stuck with me (a post for another day?). I play Renegade from the DVD I bought from a German lady at one of the biggest garage sale collaborations in Seattle, Washington, and then hit "play" on Týr's "Blood of Heroes".

Yes! That's it! It's the same!!! That moment when you feel like a genius, one of exceptional intellect who has figured out one of the secrets of life: Never before has someone had this epiphany! Certainly I have uncovered invaluable information for the world to behold!

No, not really. I heards a songs what's has the same melody as anothers (said in a Skwisgarrian way). Listen to it!

So, I've found the song. Now, WHO WROTE IT FIRST? Maybe this is Common Knowledge for you pretentious bastards saying "Duh" to yourself while you read this, but I had to look it up.

Hammerfall did it first. They did it 13 years before Týr did (Hammerfall in 2000 ³, Tyr in 2013 ²).

I bitterly sip my tea.

Eager to overcome the feeling of defeat I was feeling upon uncovering this new information, I decided that this is the perfect opportunity to choose to NOT discriminate against Joacin Cans and his glorious pipes. If this is what it takes to get me to appreciate Hammerfall, then that is exactly what I will take away from this discovery. We all have our tastes in music based purely on auditory aesthetic, but sometimes we should branch out and listen to something because of the band's history or other interesting facts about them. It seems that there will always be the Battle of the Genres. However, I am enlightened, and shall seek other Hammerfall songs that I might end up liking, which is something I otherwise would not have done.

Finally, If drawing my own conclusions wasn't enough, motivation for opening my ears to other kinds of music and diminishing the over-exaggerated genre labeling that modern music is experiencing as a whole, an interview with Týr's lead vocalist and guitarist Heri Joensen says it perfectly:

"Týr's musical mission is to break down the walls that are erected between all the kinds of metal that have arisen over the years. Power-, doom-, black-, progressive-, gothic-, Viking-, folk-, ethnic- and epic metal. Walls and labels do nothing but fill people with prejudice."¹

Though not wholeheartedly quite yet, I stand with Heri.

metal, viking metal, Hammerfall, Tyr, Týr, heavy metal, Renegade, Blood of Heroes, Monsters of Metal, Monsters of Metal vol. 3, Valkyrja, Faroe Islands, music, battle of the genres, songs with the same melody, song sampling, did tyr copy hammerfall?, do renegade and blood of heroes sound the same?