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Myrkur - Myrkur

by Erika Kuenstler at 19 October 2014, 7:39 AM

MYRKUR has taken the metal world by storm this year. Formed just last year, and with the release of just a single song, this highly unusual one-woman Black Metal project had headlines in all the prominent Metal webzines and forums, and so I, along with many others was very eager to see what her first, self-entitled, EP would sound like. Released mid-September, this seven-tracked release has a total play time of just under 24 minutes. Although her identity was previously unknown, it has recently come to light that this is the solo project of Danish Pop star and fashion model, Amalie Bruun, renown for her work in EX COPS.

So what does the Black Metal EP of a Pop singer sound like? The answer is surprisingly complex. Weaving in softer and more melodious dreamscape-like passages into the harsher and stormier structure of the songs, the vocals take on more of an angelic tone rather than the demonic rasping that is typical of Black Metal. These vocals very much take the fore on this EP, in some parts even negatively so. Given the harsh background created by the tempestuous blast beats and frost bitten riffage, her voice is like a delicate lily in a post-apocalyptic world: beautiful and unexpected, but doesn’t quite fit in.

However, there are moments of harsher vocal styles scattered throughout the EP, such as on “Må du brænde i helvede”, adding to its overall dimension. In a similar vein, the percussive side of the album, done on a drum-machine, has also been taken down a notch, save for certain sections where it gets turned up way too high. This results in the drumming being lost behind the other instrumentation at certain points, whilst at the other times it is brought much too much into the fore, drowning out everything else. The guitar work on this EP in contrast is fairly standard, utilising riffs and techniques that have been done to death. Whilst it could be argued that this lends the album a colder and more lifeless feeling, the end result is still underwhelming, especially when compared to the more exhilarating atmospheric passages. For example, the opening to “Frosne Vind” would be quite captivating if it were not an almost complete rehash of the timeless ballad “Greensleeves”.

However, one thing that must be said in favour of “Myrkur” is that it is a very diverse EP, and has the potential to be developed into something very captivating and interesting given time and experience. This is particularly noticeable in the more coherent tracks like “Nattens barn”. Following in the footsteps of the Second Wave of Black Metal masters in terms of production quality, much of the music has been left grainy and uneven. However, even with this in mind, the mixing could have been done much better, with the vocals and guitar work sometimes drowning out the other instrumentation. Here one gets the impression that each song is a merely a layering of different instruments with no real cohesion. The end result is a messy and disjointed jumble of layers, each clamouring to be heard over the others. In short, this is an atmospheric-laden album that has much room for improvement, especially in terms of production quality and overall song-writing skills. However, on the plus side, this is a very unique idea, insofar as Atmospheric Black Metal is rarely coupled with clean female vocals to such an extent, with other bands such as WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM perhaps using clean female backing vocals, only for the emphasis of certain elements. Opinions on this EP are likely to be highly disparate, with people either loving it or hating it, with very little in between.

Much of this is due to how willing you are to accept such sweet female vocals, and Black Metal is notorious for its narrow-mindedness; such true Black Metallers are likely to be unaccepting of MYRKUR, especially because of the highly rare (if not unheard of) constellation of a Pop singer/fashion model attempting a Black Metal solo-project. Nevertheless, this album does have potential as well as some truly pretty passages, and is worth giving at least a perfunctory listen to.

2 Star Rating

1. Ravnens banner
2. Frosne vind
3. Må du brænde i helvede
4. Latvian fegurð
5. Dybt i skoven
6. Nattens barn
7. Ulvesangen
Amalie Bruun - All Instruments
Record Label: Relapse Records


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Edited 26 March 2023

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