Guitarist Terji Skibenæs from famed Faroe Island-based Folk Metal band Tyr has released his debut solo album, simply titled Terji. There are a few notable and interesting tidbits that need to be shared right off the bat: the first being that, like many solo efforts, the album is entirely instrumental and features no vocals. The second is unlike Tyr, the album does not include the Folk Metal stylings that fans have come to expect from Terji and company. In fact, the album is fairly diverse and explores an array of musical genres. Listeners who can appreciate guitar-focused instrumental albums will appreciate the amount of work that went into this venture, as well as the versatile nature of the tracks that we've never really heard from this artist before. Those who come into the experience hoping for more of what they expect from Tyr may be a tad disappointed, especially if instrumental-only albums aren't their particular cup of tea.
Let's start with the positives. The execution is flawless, and never once will audiences have to question Terji's direction or intentions. Each track flows perfectly from start to finish, and at its core, we have a fairly straight-forward debut here. It's quite apparent that his influences are pretty vast, and he was keen to explore as many as he could on this disc. The leads are beautiful, pulling you in from the get-go and refusing to let go throughout (Layers of Lies especially). Most of the album has a very Japanese Rock feel to it, with most tracks leaning towards a very upbeat atmosphere with some epic passages thrown in from time to time.
As for the negatives, the rhythm sections are pretty uninspiring, and that doesn't get any better as the album progresses. They're just kind of there as a support structure for the leads, and come across as an afterthought. It would definitely have been nice if they were more of a driving force.
The more diverse standout tracks would be Destiny and Out of Bounds, which are softer and (at times) slower burns, but absolutely add to the depth and versatility of the album.
While Terji will only appeal to a specific type of audience, those who can appreciate the album for what it is will find it enjoyable. As well, Tyr fans will most likely allow their curiosity to get the best of them and give it a try. If the rhythm sections can be improved upon for future releases, the Terji moniker could really become a behemoth in its own right.
Images courtesy of Terji Skibenaes and TUTL.