Multi-talents. Masters of all trades, and jacks of none. There have been some real ones throughout the vast swathes of time. Leonardo da Vinci was one for instance, with all these paintings and inventions attributed to him. Mona Lisa still enigmatically greets us from many a publication – and the Louvre in France. But these inexplicable supermen and superwomen are very few and far between.
In music, you got them as well. Those lone warriors who want to go it alone and produce their very own records. Do it all, play it all, the self-made kind of guy. We covered a few, like Rusty Pacemaker or The Universal Theory. And all of them do shine in a certain way, but you almost always get shortcomings.
So here’s to Ty Morn and their newest album Istor. In a way, this sounds a bit like the latest Space Metal blurb Gloryhammer served us with, yet without the galactic lunacy. Just straight magick from Viking Metal Valhalla, with all known accouterments known to the adepts of the mystic Power Metal multiverse.
Istor also got us a whiff of the unpolished airs of one Henry Metal that we got to know in a hurry. Not because he was so very good, but because he flooded the market with one album of bad quality after another. This is of course not the case with Istor. Ty Morn is nowhere near that kind of promiscuity and only released this one record. Which really is good news, come to think of it.
Not that for Istor, da mighty leader did not reach out to helpers. He did, and for the sake of this record, you’ll find a goodly number of guest musicians. And Aron Biale is undeniably a talented bloke. Which – in turn – leads to a pretty sturdy delivery of metal tunes, heavy or otherwise.
Yet again, Istor pretty much is a collection of elements we somehow heard before, somewhere. A record that gallivants about this pagan metal soundscape that others occupied before. In other words, Ty Morn took a slice here and there and put it back together into some sort of coherence.
And it is artfully done with an important number of tracks that just sound right. There’s genuine talent at work, no doubt about it. Yet, it is a little similar to Dream Evil that stayed on our good side at first, but then kinda descended into sub-zero quality.
In other words, Ty Morn know how to string together a decent set of tracks but then hit the compress-and-polish button a few times too many. And out comes this over-cooked stew that is very difficult to digest. So, we got ourselves the main shortfall of many of these one-man shows that kinda pop up on the metal marketplace from time to time.
And it is less about the musical prowess on display.
The RMR desk crew truly mourned this sucky mix and the master that kind of made things worse. If you listen on lower quality equipment and let ‘er blast, then this sounds pretty okay. Albeit – and already – a trifle frazzled around the edges.
However, the moment you fire up your high-end gear, things just sound like so much plastic. And the album is not at levels of a Caladan Brood or Summoning, where the Black Metal shrouds itself in this very plastic sound. Which is accepted as part of their trade, because – well – it’s their modus operandi, not bad production. Or bad production as their modus operandi, if you look at it from the other side.
But not all is lost. The record features a number of pretty sturdy tracks that we enjoyed.
Fall on your Sword – for instance – provides one of these moments of light that made us cling to our earphones and listen on. With a pretty catchy singalong refrain to boot. Or Kings of Dishonour that impressed with its sturdy riffs and mid-tempo beat. With Sabbath-esque vibrations that just ring true.
Yet then, Hunt Leviathan tries to impress with these long-gone memories of the times Metallica graced us with their first ballad ever. Only to kill all that fun with this roughly sewn arrangement that seems to be commonplace on Istor.
To finally wrap a tent around this, it is a pity that Istor seems to join us from the land of plastic. Ty Morn has a lot of promise, and much more talent than many others ever will have. And they sent us a score of pretty good metal tracks to prove this. But – same as badly produced cars – all the talent in the world will prove useless if the end product does not really deliver nor convince.
So, to get out of Legoland, Ty Morn need to work on quality and innovation, big time. If they are to carve out a niche for themselves in an already pretty crowded genre.