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Myrkur - Mareridt Award winner

Myrkur
Mareridt
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 27 October 2017, 1:05 PM

“Mrykur” is Icelandic for “darkness.” The band MYRKUR is actually a one-woman Black Metal project from a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Amalie Bruun from Denmark who is now living in the United States. Her debut full-length “M” was released in 2015. Now signed to Relapse Records, she presents her newest album here titled “Mareridt,” which contains eleven new tracks. The Black Metal label is a fairly loose description for the project, but a good starting point.

The title track, “Mareridt,” starts off with ambient noises, and some vocal chanting that sound like the woodland elves heading to the white shores and leaving Middle Earth forever. A mist clings in the cool air as her voice seems to come from everywhere around you, and the sounds of thunder in the distance provide an ominous feeling. Seguing into “Manneblot,” it quickly turns sinister, with fierce Black Metal vocals and that wall of sound that hits you hard. Her clean vocals provide that contrast that makes this genre in particular sound so beautiful in the darkness of the recesses of the world. “The Serpent” has a mischievous sound out of the gate, with an air of mystery in the vocals. The drone of the instrumentation gives it a dismal and gloomy sound.

“Crown” is the longest song on the album, hitting the five-minute mark. Soft and pretty strings combine with some piano notes, and Amalie’s vocals are melancholy and depressive. Shadows fade in and out as she rides the fence between the light and the darkness so well. “Elleskudt” is thick with fuzzy and grainy distorted guitars under a bed of clean vocals. Listen to the layering here as well. She creates a landscape that is ever-shifting and morphing. The Black Metal vocals add a poisonous quality, like a seemingly innocent old lady enthusiastically giving you a shiny red apple, when one bit can lead to your unknowing death. Though I cannot understand the lyrics in “Dre Tre Piker,” there is no denying the captivating quality of her voice. It’s hypnotic and soothing at the same time, while the violin has a folky sound, almost as if you could hear the contents of a hazy but pleasing dream.

“Funeral” sounds about what you might expect from the song title. The main riff is weighted and black; the contents of a lost soul, and her expressive vocals are full with longing. “Ulvinde” talks about how “evil must be fought with evil in a bygone body. The contrasting passages of pure hate and anger with calm and peaceful ones are like a broken adult not able to let go of all the pain, at is rears its head uncontrollably and at times with no warning. “Kaetteren” has a jovial sound, from violin and drum, like something you might hear in the marketplace during medieval times. But, it is just dark enough to remind you that things aren’t always as innocent as they seem. “Boernehjem” is just creepy, in every fun sense of that word. A child’s voice echoes over haunting chants, talking about how “the demons have always lived inside me, they always watch me, and want to play.” But she resists their commands.

On “Mareridt,” Amalie has created a very unique album that pulses with her individuality. She writes with expressive emotions and skill, applying many different techniques to push a sound that can be biting and fierce at times, while completely calm and alluring at others. The charm hear really lies in the yin-yang balance between elements of light and darkness and the seemingly frail nature of her ghostly presence which can rise and explode with fervor at any moment.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Mareridt
2. Maaneblot
3. The Serpent
4. Crown
5. Elleskudt
6. Dre Tre Piker
7. Funeral
8. Ulvinde
9. Gladiatrix
10. Kaetteren
11. Boernehjem
Lineup:
Amalie Bruun – Vocals, All Instruments & Compositions
Record Label: Relapse Records
     


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