Heri Joensen has fronted Viking Metal band TÝR since 2002. In a quiet spell between TÝR albums, he has teamed up with four young musicians to release the debut of his solo-project HELJAREYGA. The self-titled debut album features five tracks of progressive metal with all-Faroese lyrics.
Through the Eye of Hel we may travel to other worlds. Through the Eyes in the bedrock the Goddess of the Dead herself, the dread vision named Hel, may watch from her cold realm unto the world of men.
In the Faeroe Islands there are around fifteen “heljareyga”, meaning deep holes in the rock through which the surf is pushed on the high tide or in bad weather. Some are barely ten centimeters across and some are large enough to creep into and listen to the echoes of the sea.
Heri Joensen has spent three years writing all music and lyrics for HELJAREYGA. He wrote new melodies for every track, as opposed to the music for his first band TÝR which is infused with traditional melodies and existing lyrics from ancient ballads.
Soaring melodies, echoing guitar riffs and epic compositions characterize the 48-minute long self-titled debut album. All lyrics are in Faeroese and represent personal struggle and hardships. The flowing verse connects to the age-old tradition of the lone warrior making his way through the world.
Four talented musicians from the Faeroe Islands were brought in for recording HELJAREYGA: Guitarist John Ivar Venned and bassist Ísak Petersen play together in the melodic thrash metal band Synarchy (formed in 2004). Second guitarplayer Ken Johannesen came in from his project The Apocryphal Order and drummer Amon Djurhuus is a familiar face as he filled in for TÝR-drummer Kári Streymoy on several tours in 2008.
Technically and musically the work of HELJAREYGA is more progressive than anything yet to flow from Heri Joensen’s mind; lyrically this album is more personal than any ever written. Influences from both classical masterminds (Bach) and legendary metal musicians (Dio, Malmsteen) resonate in every song.
The five men that are now HELJAREYGA plan on touring and recording at least two more albums together.
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