Sailing The Seas Of Fate

(4.5/5) SIG:AR:TYR is a Canadian ambient/acoustic/folk/metal band and is the brainchild of composer Daemonskald. Probably not many of you have heard of SIG:AR:TYR or Daemonskald and hopefully my review will help put this ingenious composer into light.
The red runes spoke of these dark days A tale forgotten beneath the dying sun A darkened plague, eclipsing all that should be To the north we sail, beyond the mists of time
Sailing The Seas Of Faith tells the story of a Viking quest to the far northern reaches of the world to retrieve an object to turn the tide of Christianity. The lyrics aren’t very straightforward but also aren’t so abstract as to stop the listener from understanding the concept behind the album. There are many references to Norse mythology within the songs. The way the lyrics are delivered is very special too. The album is mostly instruments but when a voice is heard it is usually someone talking faintly, almost in the background behind the instruments, adding to the gloomy, ambient feel of many songs. A bit of screaming is featured in the album. Urd features a kind of raspy singing reminiscent of Agalloch and Skuld has something similar but leaning slightly more towards black metal
The instruments help the lyrics get the concept through to the listener. The whole album is almost completely acoustic guitar and even when electric guitar is played, the rhythmic acoustic guitar can be heard beneath it. For the most part the acoustic chord progressions have a somewhat slow tempo and a gloomy feel. When heard, the electric guitar only adds power to that feeling. A few solos (both acoustic and electric) are thrown into the music. The solos are actually the only real fault I find with the album. A few of the electric and acoustic solos are played very fast and take away a bit from the gloomy feeling of some songs. Thankfully those solos usually aren’t very long and the songs have time to save face before they end. Skuld finishes the album with a bang being almost completely electric guitar driven and with the addition of the black metal-like scream. The drums are very simplistic but this does not drive the album down. On the contrary it is similar to a drum beat played to the march of an army and helps push the concept of the album even further.
As mentioned earlier, the album mostly has a gloomy feel to it to match the lyrics of the army marching in search of treasure and war. Songs like Dreaming Of The Dawn and To Cronia are perfect examples of this. But an army can’t always be in a state of depression and sadness. Songs like Frost On Dead Leaves show this aspect and once again just give so much more dimension to the concept behind the whole album. The album’s heavier, more straightforward closer seems to hint at a battle at the end of their quest but the results of the battle still remain unclear even after reading through the lyrics a few times.
Sailing The Seas Of Fate is a very unique experience in the world of folk metal. The beautiful ambient acoustic melodies lead you through a journey and allow anyone to immerse themselves into the concept behind the album. Sadly the album is only brought down by some solos. It might take a little bit of time to grow but once it does you will be glad you checked out this underground Canadian solo project.

Simon Harris "Scream"
- review from Sputnik Music

(9/10) This was initially supposed to be released under the aegis of Karmageddon Media, but unspecified problems have meant that this rather stunning album has been on ice since 2004, until the tiny Morbid Winter label released it. This is a pity, as this could have easily found a wider audience with the support of a bigger label.
Despite being a one-man project, this is far from a half-baked Darkthrone clone performing two elementary riffs per song; Daemonskald has quite obviously been honing his guitar playing and songwriting skills for quite some time. Whilst doing so, he was no doubt listening to Bathory and Yngwie Malmsteen; perhaps a bit of Falkenbach. But influence should not be confused with mimicry; Sig:Ar:Tyr is far more than the sum of its influences, composing complex and fairly technical songs.
His songs are guitar driven, primarily acoustic, with electric guitars used infrequently (with the exception of the epic closer "Skuld"). Drums surface only occasionally, to provide a little rhythmic impetus where necessary. This is principally an instrumental album, and what little vocals there are consist largely of narration.
Sig:Ar:Tyr are clearly one of the better bands to emerge from the Canadian underground, but with an album as epic and technical as this, I doubt he will remain an unknown entity for too much longer. Quentin Kalis - Chronicles of Chaos

Desde canada nos llega este nuevo trabajo de Sig:ar:tyr, el proyecto en solitario de Daemonskald. Un disco donde predominan los medios tiempos, prácticamente en su totalidad de caracter acústico-instrumental en una vertiente que roza lo meláncolico y depresivo en muchos momentos. Una excelente creación nacida en la mente de Daemonskald, quien gestó en su cabeza todo este trabajo dando lugar a una magnífica obra. Todos y cada uno de los cortes que conforman este disco están inspirados en poemas paganos, vikingos, anglo-sajones y sagas nórdicas... Guitarra acústica y teclados, trabajan mano a mano, en el primer tema del disco, "Dreaming of the Dawn", creando una interesante atmósfera que lo invade todo y permite sumergirte (ayudado por el efecto de olas que puede oirse de fondo) por completo en la música (una fórmula que se repite en muchos otros temas como es el caso de "To Cronia" o "The Dead Giant's Tale". Este primer tema es una contínua mezcla de partes acústicas y partes acompañadas por guitarras distorsionadas recordándome en ocasiones a grupos como Moonsorrow en ciertas partes de los temas en sus últimos trabajos. A lo largo de estos más de 8 minutos de tema aparece una voz haciendo el papel de "narrador" diciendo algunas frases extraídas de poemas vikingos como el Hávamál, consiguiendo integrarse por completo en la atmósfera anteriormente mencionada... Ya el primer tema es una auténtica declaración de intenciones, la presencia en los demás de las guitarras acústicas es notable, estas predominan en prácticamente todos los temas que tienen un eminente matiz instrumental, a base de arpeggios o melódias que en la mayor parte de las veces siguen un tono de cierto caracter meláncolico. En temas como "Frost on Dead Leaves" se luce especialmente, un tema instrumental y corto, donde abundan los solos veloces y virtuosos. La batería está ausente en prácticamente todo el disco, apareciendo en algunas partes, ya que lo que realmente predomina es algún tipo de percusión tradicional que se va intercalando con la otra, dando lugar a unos cambios realmente brutales que ayudan a realzar mucho los temas potenciados con las guitarras distorsionadas y solos realmente impresionantes. Estas partes distorsionadas recuerdan en muchas ocasiones a grupos como Bathory, y viendo el cuarto tema del disco, dedicado a Quorthon, corroboramos que es una de las influencias en su música. Los últimos temas forman una "trilogía" basada en las nornas, las tres diosas del destino de la mitología nórdica, cada una expresa un sentimiento, un tono, un matiz diferente que personalmente creo que esa era la intención del compositor. Destaco principalmente el noveno tema, "Skuld", un final de disco cojonudo, un punto final muy cañero y más tirando al Pagan Black Metal con voz rasgada y aguda (contrastando con el resgistro limpio que podemos escuchar en el resto del disco). Personalmente me hubiera gustado muchísimo más, si abundaran los temas como este último, pero pese a esto he encontrado el disco muy interesante. El punto fuerte del disco son las guitarras, con solos que la verdad me han dejado la boca abierta (tanto los realizados con guitarras acústicas como con las eléctricas), muestra de técnica que se escapa por todos los lados. Un disco que me recuerda en ocasiones a grupos como Odroerir (por su caracter acústico), aunque sumamente diferente a la vez. Para todos los que disfruten de buenos discos en plan relax y sosiego, esta es una buena opción. (7.5/10)
Tharngrist - Black Dawn Zine

Unrestrained! Magazine #32

Sig:Ar:Tyr is a solo project brainchild of Canadian composer Daemonskald who has created & played everything found on Sailing the Sea of Fate. Once again, we are pleased to find a very talented instrumentalist even more so being a country mate. Hails! I've listened this album quite a few times and every time I feel the urge to do not thing: pick up my guitar! It's a very inspiring piece of music where the acoustic guitar plays a huge role in the folk / pagan /Viking scenery. At times, Sailing the Sea of Fate is even reminiscent to Led Zeppelin III in songs like : Frost on Dead Leaves (my favorite) & Under the Dragon Star. Distorted guitars are also present but not on a regular basis besides the epic Viking closer : Skuld. Mostly instrumental, the vocal lines are discrete, spoken or whispered and on a couple occasions, harsh ones are being used (Urd & Skuld). To add a more epic /dramatic edge and ambience, Daemonscald made crafty use of wind, wave & thunder samplings along with occasional keyboard patterns only to the benefit the opus. Great album, inspiring, relaxing and very well produced. (9/10)
Shadow - Harm Magazine

[Un épais brouillard nocturne. Seule la pleine lune illumine encore quelques formes diffuses à travers les nuées. Un homme, seul depuis la mort de ses camarades. Ou peut être l'a-t-il toujours été, seul dans cet immense bateau dont la proue imite la tête d'un dragon, voguant sur les mers du nords, les mers du destin.]
Marin, païen affirmé..guitariste, percussioniste...poète? Seul maître à bord, Daemonskald remplit toutes les fonctions, dans ses fictions comme dans son studio. Mais ici pas d'homme Orchestre qui entendrait faire des prouesses et tricher par-ci par-là pour se vanter ensuite d'être plus technique à lui tout seul qu'un groupe complet. La démarche est beaucoup plus personnelle, le langage, plus intimiste. Le concept est finalement très simple, très sobre: allier longs passages folk acoustiques puis partie métalliques de guitares, riffs et solos où l'habituelle batterie est remplacée tantôt par le silence du vent, tantôt par quelques percussions discrètes. Quelques nappes de claviers "vocaux" arrondissent les angles, mais le viking canadien préfère laisser libre court aux guitares plutôt que d'abuser de ce genre de sonorités qui pourraient vite tourner au ridicule. Pas de gros hurlements black, pas de chants clairs, mais une narration poétique chuchotée et aérienne, parfois un peu plus torturée sur la fin de l'album.
Le concept est plutôt original, consistant en un dialogue entre deux figures mythologiques (pourtant mineures, mais c'est là tout le charme du truc!), avec véritable démarche derrière. Pour plus de renseignements, un tour sur le site officiel est indispensable, j'ai rarement vu un musicien s'investir autant dans son concept, en expliquer chaque recoin. Quant au livret... une perle tout simplement. Les textes sont souvent appuyés par des citations de poèmes eddiques et scaldiques, ainsi que de superbes illustrations. Bref, le genre d'oeuvre où l'on a envie d'y perdre corps et âme.
L'écoute de l'album nous projette dans un ailleurs où renaissent quelques paysages froids et oniriques, marécageux ou enneigés, sentiments de tristesse, de peine ou de gloire. Quelques pensées pour le défunt Quorthon nous viennent en tête. La distorsion brumeuse évoque sans prétention ni vulgarité (ni plagiat!) des sonorités propres au seigneur BATHORY (pour sa partie moins heavy), ou d'autres groupes de black lent tel BURZUM. Les passages acoustiques évoqueront...n'importe quel album entièrement acoustique où priment des arpèges entrelacés prenants. Impossible alors de ne pas songer à des groupes tels ULVER ou EMPYRIUM qui ont tenté l'experience acoustique. Un BATHORY où la batterie est remplacé soit par les silences, soit par de discrètes (et parfois quasi inutiles) percussions, allié au EMPYRIUM de "Where At Night..", voilà qui pourrait tracer une esquisse à peu près correcte de cet album. Difficile cependant de retranscrire la particularité de l'ambiance, intimiste et unique qui l'imprègne. Car autant dire que j'ai l'impression d'avoir écrit au moins trente fois dans mes chroniques la première phrase du paragraphe, mais je ne trouve toujours pas de substitut, la sensation est différente à chaque fois, et les mots qui me viennent sont les mêmes. La musique de SIG:AR:TYR diffère de celle de ses camarades par ce souci de sobriété.
S'immerger, se confondre dans la musique, textes à l'appui, voilà quelque chose qui me manquait depuis le dernier SUMMONING (pas si lointain quand même). Sailing the seas of fate est une oeuvre passionnée respirant la fierté et l'honnêteté, provoquant un ressenti particulier. Si "Snowborn", "Verdandi" ou encore "Uld" sont tout simplement magnifiques et nous laissent entrevoir un bel avenir pour le groupe. On regrettera peut être certains passages un peu faciles et quelques longueurs.
Pour ce premier essai, Daemonskald bouscule les conventions d'un genre qui a sans cesse besoin d'un nouveau souffle. Certains verront la naissance d'un nouveau génie (d'un second Quorthon si l'on considère ce dernier comme un génie), d'autres trouveront ça mou et longuet, mais je parierais que l'avis de la plupart (en estimant qu'ils soient comme moi un minimum fan du genre) se situera un peu entre les deux.
Pas toujours d'une justesse transcendante (mais j'ai aussi un peu trop tendance à projeter mes caprices sur ce genre d'oeuvres qui me touchent personnellement ), mais franchement passionnant.
Volthord - Nightfall in Metal Earth

Viking Metal is not anymore new in Canada, Calgary’s DARK FOREST have taken care of this and now another project fell into my hands and I have expected that it would sound like Dave Parks’ band: SIG:AR:TYR. With a Viking scene on the front cover, the band name and the Viking related song titles as well as the tribute-obeisance to BATHORY’s Quorthon it does point in that direction, doesn’t it? Well, this conclusion was justifiable really, but nothing made me aware of what would await me on “Sailing The Seas Of Fate”, cause the acoustic guitar plays an exquisitely important role and we can rarely hear some singing (almost only spoken text), instead a really innate atmosphere is created, which can hardly be put into words. The only member of the band is Daemonskald, who has solely composed and played the whole record, which is pretty common with this genre, DIADEM, DARK FOREST and now SIG:AR:TYR (whereas the first two bands recruited a complete line-up in the meantime). Atmosphere is the balance point in the sound of SIG:AR:TYR, partly done by the duo of acoustic and electric guitar, as done before by BATHORY, mostly through plain rhythms, but very effective, as proven by the opener “Dreaming Of The Dawn”. “Frost On Dead Leaves” is completely acoustic, partly picked, partly strummed and partly surprisingly playful, so not the usual acoustic stuff. The hammer on this , though, record is “Under The Dragon Star” which begins purely acoustic (but played really hard) and has a few spoken words, then joined by a hard slow riffing through a pounding rhythm, which together with the acoustic guitars sounds really baneful and plainly amazing! These opposites are marking the CD and the following tracks are completely acoustic or combined with hard rhythm guitars. I would actually state that SIG:AR:TYR sound really unique, even with the BATHORY influences, cause the mostly acoustic line is consequently performed and I know no other band which sounds like this. For this reason “Sailing The Seas Of Fate” won’t fit everybody and one might need a few rotations to get used to it, but I say: thumbs up!
Alex Melzer - Metal Observer

Just by looking at the cover you will get a fairly good sense of what to expect here: Pagan Black Metal. However, SIG:AR:TYR are not simply another iteration of worn cliches: their material is largely acoustic in nature, with plenty of folky strumming and finger-picking, percussion, howling winds, and somberly narrated vocals animating each song. There are distorted guitars and screamed vocals, of course, but these are used strategically, rather than constituting the bulk of what is on offer. I am largely reminded of PRIMORDIAL’s acoustically-orientated material, particularly that from the first album. The statement on the back of the booklet reveals clear Apollonian sensitivies, exalting traditional notions of identity, and the agrarian and warrior values typical of Volkisch thought. The umbral neo-Romantic imagery, full of sturm und drang, is well chosen and the layouts clean and elegant, providing the perfect visual accompaniment to the sonic content. A magnificent example of the gems it is possible to find in the deep underground, if one is prepared to look.
AK-47 - Supernal Music review by Radogost (in Russian) (9/10)

Here's one for all the Bathory addicts out there. Sig:Ar:Tyr is a viking orientated act with a lot of powerful acoustic moments and synth interludes. Think of a much cleaner, more modern Hammerheart in this case. The vocals are spoken over layers and layers of strings which are accompanied by the sharp and icy drone of distortion. The drums could be a little more authentic and higher quality samples would be nice but overall this is quite a stunning little release for a one-man band. Well produced and executed. Alex de Moller - Zero Tolerance Magazine

In Italia è assolutamente sconosciuto e nel resto d’Europa poco ci manca. può così vantarsi di aver scoperto un artista veramente geniale. Lui si chiama Daemonskald e la sua creatura, i SIG:AR:TYR, ovvero l’insieme dei nomi di tre rune, è quanto di più originale in ambito Pagan attualmente. Il progetto nasce nel 2003 in Canada e nello stesso anno viene pubblicato The Stranger, un demo, composto da sei tracce, paragonabile ad un viaggio introspettivo fatto di atmosfere oniriche. Il lavoro presenta, oltre alle parti cantate, esclusivamente chitarre acustiche e tastiere. Nonostante le recensioni ampiamente positive, il disco viene purtroppo snobbato dai più. Daemonskald non si perde d’animo ed inizia a lavorare immediatamente sul nuovo materiale. Sailing The Seas Of Fate, concepito addirittura nell’inverno del 2003, viene finalmente lanciato sul mercato dalla Morbid Winter Records, una giovane etichetta nordamericana specializzata nel Metal estremo.
Risulta davvero difficile classificare per genere un disco di questo tipo. Si è deciso perciò di farlo rientrare in quella categoria, denominata Viking Metal, dove i vari artisti sono accomunati più che altro dalle tematiche trattate piuttosto che dalla proposta musicale. Attenzione però, Sailing The Seas Of Fate, a tratti, pare persino essere un lavoro accostabile all’Ambient. Per capacità evocative il complesso canadese può essere paragonato ai Summoning, tuttavia il sound del gruppo austriaco è solenne, pomposo, epico, mentre quello dei SIG:AR:TYR oscuro, introspettivo, fuori da tutti gli schemi. Il platter contiene nove canzoni, quasi tutte caratterizzate da una durata piuttosto lunga. Al contrario di The Stranger, qui Daemonskald suona vari strumenti, senza comunque togliere spazio alla sua amata chitarra classica, con il quale l’artista nordamericano si destreggia alquanto bene. Non mancano nemmeno gli assoli, sempre freddi ed enigmatici. Altro discorso meritano le parti vocali, non sempre all’altezza delle melodie. In moltissimi pezzi, come ad esempio Dreaming Of The Down, Daemonskald opta per delle liriche narrate, a differenza di quanto accade in Skuld, dove il polistrumentista si lancia in uno screaming grezzo ma estremamente appagante. La track conclusiva dell’album appare fin da subito come la più aggressiva del lotto, nonché una delle meglio riuscite. Essa si protrae per sette minuti ed alterna riff durissimi a momenti di pura quiete.
Questi ultimi sono la principale peculiarità del disco, di cui è pertanto consigliato l’ascolto in totale solitudine nell’oscurità, quando si è disposti a mettere in discussione ogni cosa, quando emergono le paure più profonde e nascoste del proprio animo. I testi sotto questo punto di vista non centrano, in quanto trattano di temi storici, mitici e religiosi. Essi sono, a detta di Daemonskald, uno degli elementi portanti dei SIG:AR:TYR e la cura a loro riservata è di conseguenza impressionante. Per chi volesse, sul sito ufficiale del gruppo sono disponibili spiegazioni ed approfondimenti che permettono di comprendere meglio le liriche dei vari brani. A rendere Sailing The Seas Of Fate un’uscita ancor più interessante è la sua produzione, pulitissima e nettamente superiore a quella di The Stranger. Grazie ad essa è possibile apprezzare ogni singolo accordo suonato dall’artista canadese con la sua chitarra classica. To Cronia ne è la dimostrazione più lampante. La quinta traccia del platter, che in apertura ricorda vagamente lavori quali Crypt Of The Wizard, vede un cantato sospirato, in grado di incutere una certa tensione nell’ascoltatore. Altre splendide canzoni sono Verdandi, nella cui frazione iniziale spicca un lungo, mistico, assolo, Under The Dragon Star, con il suo incedere bellico scandito dal ritmo cadenzato della batteria, e la malinconica Urd.
Cosa si può dire ancora riguardo al secondo album dei SIG:AR:TYR? Si tratta, senza minima ombra di dubbio, di un lavoro veramente singolare, ideale per la riflessione. Le atmosfere conducono in luoghi lontani dal mondo, ma non portano necessariamente alla depressione, come spesso accade per dischi simili. Daemonskald è un personaggio da tenere d’occhio e prossimamente anche l’Europa potrebbe rimanere incantata dalla sua favolosa musica. Tutti coloro che si sono ormai stufati delle solite proposte potrebbero aver finalmente trovato pane per i loro denti, e che pane…
Jacopo Prada -