Pick Your Rock and Metal

Monday, August 24, 2015

ALBUM REVIEW: Where black metal and folk collide as Myrkur unveil surprises on 'M'

RELAPSE Records are one of those labels that never cease to amaze, and how they always pick a winner is anyone’s guess. Last year they surprised us all with the signing of Danish one-woman project Myrkur, a black metal project that emerged from the shadows with a self-titled EP, shrouded in a veil mystery.

Who is it they said? It wouldn’t be long before the veil would fall and Myrkur was exposed as New York based artist Amalie Bruun of indie-pop duo Ex-Cops and Danish modeling fame. Well, you can imagine what happened, the pitchforks and torches came out. But on the other side, you found more people intrigued… what can Amalie Bruun offer?

Looking back at the EP it was an ok release at best; production being a major issue, but it left promise and was endorsed by genre icons such as Kristoffer Rygg of Ulver who would later produce the debut Myrkur full length and bring her sound to the fore. Just under a year on we’re now looking at that release, entitled simply as M.

The multi-intrumentalist has finally revealed her vision with M, with the help of Kristoffer Rygg, (or should we say Garm)… and Mayhem’s Teloch who filled in on bass/guitar and Nidingr drummer Øyvind Myrvoll. The album was recorded at a series of studios in and around Oslo and partly in the famous mausoleum of Norwegian artist Emanuel Vigeland.

The result is an elegant mix of black metal and Nordic folk music. An album littered with disparate contrasts, from old school black metal to shoegaze, post-rock to atmospheric vocal harmonies and choirs, but it’s structured so well and its nuances make it so fluent with absolutely no discord or jarring. ‘Onde Børn’ being a classic example.

What is most impressive about this album is the journey. It can be natural instinct to revolt against black metal… the sounds… and that’s where most of us fail. Let it take you, let it overwhelm you and then, and only then, does one begin to understand.

With this album it’s much easier to fall into the album, it’s not black metal, as in the traditional sense; you travel through various soundscapes and all these disparate contrasts make a truly mesmerising experience. There’s a fire here, a fire that blazes and settles, blazes and settles.

This album won’t appease the traditional spikes and corpse paint black metal fans, or the traditional folk fans. It’s not like that. What’s here is something much more ethereal. What Amalie Bruun has created here is something truly special and Myrkur will no doubt be one of the most talked about artists for some time to come.
Review by Andrew Pennington

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