Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Tykküs - Ümlaut
Musical Style: Classic Metal Produced By: Tykküs
Record Label: Independent Country Of Origin: USA
Year Released: 2005 Artist Website: Tykküs
Tracks: 5 Rating: 80%
Running Time: 24:05

Tykkus - Umlaut

The origin of Phoenix, Arizona based Tykküs dates back to early 2003 when guitarist Justin Frear and drummer Steve Slack departed the band Next Realm.  Still desiring to make music, the two formed a partnership and soon crossed paths with guitarist Dale Burton (Rizer, Vessel, Crucible) – who had previously been involved in the same band with Justin in the mid-nineties - and agreed to meet and compare ideas.  Vocalist Randy Michaud (Troglodyte Dawn, D.T. Seizure), meanwhile, met Justin through the Christian Metal Realm in the spring of 2003 and later joined the band in the summer of the same year.  Tykküs did not officially round out its line up, however, until Brian Weldin – who caught the bands first live show in March of 2004 – responded to an add the band placed looking for a bass guitarist.  Proceeding to pay their dues in the clubs in the Phoenix area, Tykküs went on to release its five song debut EP Ümlaut in the spring of 2005.  The bands name, which Dale came up with in 1995, stands for Teaching You Kingdom Knowledge Unto Salvation.

I might describe Tykküs as eighties influenced classic metal with melodic metal tendencies, delivering a heavy but catchy sound certain to appeal to fans of Saint, Judas Priest, Neon Cross, Messiah Prophet, Dokken and Eternal Ryte.  Randy Michaud puts forth quite the professional sounding performance with his clean sounding mid-octave ranged vocal style, occasionally adding an element of grit to his delivery or cutting loose in emotional fashion not unlike David Raymond Reeves (Neon Cross).  Dale Burton and Justin Frear combine for layer upon layer of muscular rhythm guitar in addition to trading off on lead guitar.  Drummer Steve Slack and bassist Brian Weldin anchor the bands low end tight and steady. 

Production values come across crisp and raw and with no overriding elements of muddiness but would have improved with a touch of big budget polish.  Compare the sonics here, for example, to Saint’s most recent effort The Mark and you will find a slight but noticeable difference.

An independent release, Ümlaut can be purchases at the PayPal friendly Merchandise Page at the bands website:

“Born To Die” kicks in to a forward mix of crunchy rhythm guitar before tapering off for narration from Hebrews 9:22.  Advancing through its first verse at an even mid-tempo pace, the song smoothly transitions to an emotionally charged chorus with a huge, catchy hook.  A minute long instrumental section is shored up by a stretch of melodic flavored lead guitar work.  “Born To Die” points to the person of Christ:

Upon the cross He took our place
Nails in His hands and feet
A sinless man born to die
His blood poured out on the mercy seat
With all authority and power
Jesus rose from the dead
He lived and paid with blood for you
A love that never ends

We’re bought with a price, the price of love
By one man’s life
By one man’s blood

Great song with a powerful message that is representative of the bands talent and potential.

The quality does not drop off with the more classic metal feel that “Convince You” brings to the table.  Getting underway to an ominous wall of chugging rhythm guitar, “Convince You” maintains the determined impetus as it drives its way forward to a catchy chorus asking a straightforward but relevant question:

The bible tells you se how can I convince you?

Searing lead guitar work decorates the extent of another sweeping instrumental section.  “Convince You” delivers the salvation message in no uncertain terms:

How can I convince you Jesus is the way?
How can I convince you not to wait another day?

We are here to tell you of God’s only Son
How He came and died for you and the battle has been won?

The explosions and gunfire introducing the six minute “Warfare” are soon interlaced with an acoustic guitar.  Once a bristling rhythm guitar takes over, however, “Warfare” proceeds with an abundance of metal-edged momentum until tapering off for a chorus delivered in a deep and resounding fashion.  I enjoy how the pace further slows for an instrumental section carried by a very well done blues based guitar solo.  By far the albums heaviest and most guitar driven track.
Spiritual warfare is the subject matter here:

Lift your voices in unity
Glorify His name
Stand up tall in His might
Soldiers of the King
Help before the altar
Demons are driven down
His blood has all the power
Evil will be bound

Warfare, warfare the battle is won
Warfare, warfare by God’s only Son

“With His Love” commences to several seconds of open air rhythm guitar before taking off at an upbeat tempo.  The song continues to move through its verse portions in an energetic manner, not culminating until obtaining a hook filled chorus backed by a touch of shouted vocal harmonies.  This one will have you singing along in no time.  The lyrics to “With His Love” also point the way to salvation:

Long ago, not so far away
There stood a man whose life we would demand
He walked the earth, healed the broken hearted
And His love he did impart
This is the man called Jesus
He came to bring us life
Asking us to believe and freely to receive

With His love, He came from above
With His life, He gave His love
With His blood, He set the captives free

The album closes with an old demo version of “Born To Die” recorded during the bands first incarnation in the mid-nineties.  Yes, the song is a bit rough around the edges production wise but still features the same catchy hook along with the raspy and gritty vocal style of Jeff Braner.

Ümlaut, in the end, does a good job showcasing the abilities of this talented band from the desert of Arizona.  (I guess you could say the music of Tykküs is every bit as hot as the summer weather gets here in the Phoenix area!)    But like many EP releases the album is a bit short in featuring just 5 tracks and, as a result, I am left with the feeling of wanting more.  And that is a very good thing!  Because at the time of this writing Tykküs is hard at work on a full length album which it hopes to have out by the spring of 2007.

Finally, I would like to close by pointing out that Tykküs recently acquired a new vocalist in Will V. (Randy Michaud departed the group in order to devote his full attention to his ambient doom project Troglodyte Dawn.)  You can hear a version of “Convince You” with Will V. on lead vocals at the Tykküs MySpace page:

Review by: Andrew Rockwell

Track Listing: “Born To Die” (4:30), “Convince You” (4:27), “Warfare” (6:24), “With His Love” (3:43), “Born To Die” (4:59)

Randy Michaud – Lead Vocals & Studio Bass
Dale Burton – Guitars
Justin Frear – Guitars
Brian Weldin – Bass
Steve Slack – Drums

Also Reviewed: Troglodyte Dawn - Troglodyte Dawn


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