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Myrkur - Folkesange

by Chris Hawkins at 19 May 2020, 9:19 PM

Since launching MYRKUR in 2013, Amalie Bruun has been prolifically active in creating music for the project.  Advantageously linked to her personal proclivity toward Black Metal, she has managed to garner fans across myriad, often disparate genres.  While not necessarily a “Metal” project, she has cultivated a following composed of many Metal fans by creating compositions that could be described as Neo-Folk.  Her competition is virtually nonexistent for there truly is no one out there who creates music as such.  Her latest album, “Folkesange,” was released a couple of months ago via Relapse and features a dozen songs evoking the power and wonder of the European countryside and channeling the prodigious legacy of its compendium of myth.

Ella” begins with a tranquil serenity cast forth like a magical spell through Amalie’s vocals.  Accompanied by a tribal, steady bass drum and plentiful strings, the web of arcane mist is all encompassing.  The effectiveness is achieved through the simplicity as orchestration is used in doses to give a cadence to the song.  Her voice is at once both somber and primal, a lethal combination that truly plays to the strength of the material.  With the third track, “Leaves of Yggdrasil,” one cannot help but get the impression of a heavy TORI AMOS influence at play albeit incorporated into the MYRKUR mythos.  The connection between her expressive vocals and lively piano is unmistakable and truly forms the basis from which the songs are crafted.  There is an air of celebration running through the track and the listener is limited only by the capacity of his/her imagination.  The ending melody, just a few notes, gives an intimate peak into how the song was perhaps constructed.  Less is indeed more and throughout the expansive genre of heavy music, the bands that grasp this concept are the ones that truly persevere.

The fifth track, “Tor I Helheim,” is the longest on the album at just over seven minutes.  It gifts the listener with a wide-eyed view of the Norse land of the dead.  The tempered primeval nature of her singing style serves as a cunning narrator.  Coupled with the vast yet effectively stout instrumentation, one is transported to the center of the action as an active participant in the mystical narrative.  “Harpens Kraft,” the seventh track has a bacchanalian celebratory air.  It is easy to picture an array of fair maidens ritually dancing while adorned with blankets of flowers lively coordinating their movements to the flow of the piece.  One can almost smell the clean, fragrant breeze blowing across the mountain top chosen as the scene for this ritual.

The music contained within is produced with a crystal-clear fidelity.  When listened to through a good set of headphones especially, one can hear the subtle efficacy of her voice, her purposeful breathing.  Vocal acrobatics such as on the eleventh track, “Gudernes Vilje,”  are astounding.  The impact of the musical accompaniment which ranges from piano and guitar to lyre, violin, frame drum, and nyckelharpa cannot be understated.  While the recording seemingly centers around the vocals, it is the vat instrumentation that ties it all together providing a characteristic folk magic which is simply owned by her.  While this is not the record to blare while partying or getting pumped up like the ordinary staples of MOTORHEAD, VENOM, and SCORPIONS, MYRKUR provides a key to a pensive place where one can free the self from the pressures of the modern world and gain a deeper peace and tranquility.
It seems that throughout history when there are mighty world-changing advancements in technology, there is a retaliatory push back by segments of the population in favor of a return to a simpler time.  While such movements can be taken too far (see the Volkisch movement that transpired in conjunction with National Socialist Germany), when separated from tyrannical motivations, it is a healthy phenomenon.  Mankind is an integral part of the planet’s ecosystem, a fact confirmed by science yet known to our distant ancestors of old.  The union of earth, air, fire, and water is indeed a sacred one and one to be celebrated.  People of today spend hours upon hours staring into screens and there is an inherent loneliness in such activity for it separates one from the beauty and wonder of nature.  MYRKUR is thus an essential outlet for the modern musical listener as Amalie’s compositions beg us to revisit the lore that predates us and to breathe deeply in the precious air of the planet.  Consequently, this is music to bring us together, to appreciate what we take for granted, and to think outside of the box we have built for ourselves from processors and digital screens.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Ella
2. Fager som en Ros
3. Leaves of Yggdrasil
4. Ramund
5. Tor I Helheim
6. Svea
7. Harpens Kraft
8. Gammelkäring
9. House Carpenter
10. Reiar
11. Gudernes Vilje
12. Vinter 
Myrkur: Vocals, Piano, Guitar, Violin, Lyre, Nyckelharpa, Frame Drum
Record Label: Relapse Records


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