I’ve always believed that Myrkur had it in her to release a truly great album. Amalie Bruun strikes me as a woman invested in the music she creates, who loves what she does, and has been steadily but surely improving and refining her music since her debut EP in 2014. I still think that her self-titled EP didn’t do her justice, and said as much in my review at the time. Her debut full-length album M the following year was a significant improvement, but I knew she was capable of more, if only she would let go of the need to stick so rigidly to writing “black metal” and allow herself to compile a more diverse set of songs; on her second full-length album Mareridt, Myrkur finally delivers on all the promise that I knew she had, and has succeeded in creating the best album of her career to date, and one of the best albums of 2017.
You may well have heard of Myrkur. This one-woman black metal project from Denmark has been causing quite a stir recently with parent label Relapse Records promoting and releasing this debut EP, comparing her music to early Ulver and Darkthrone; not comparisons to be made lightly, it must be said. She does appear to have come out of nowhere, and signing with a relatively major label before releasing even a demo aroused peoples suspicions. But I’m less interested in the person behind the music than I am with the music itself, so that’s what I would like
to focus on here.
While I understand the comparison with Ulver, I don’t think Darkthrone is a particularly useful point of comparison. In fact, the group that Myrkur most reminded me of while I was listening to this EP was actually Alcest. I think both seem to have a fairly similar sound and vision for their music. Both take a rather unorthodox approach to black metal, making use of clean vocals and atmosphere rather than brutality and low-quality production. Unfortunately in this comparison it became clear to me that Myrkur is less successful in achieving her vision. Perhaps the most frustating thing about this EP is I can totally see where she is going with this. I can totally understand how she is trying to balance these fragile choir vocals against a more raw, black metal set of instruments in an attempt to conjure an atmosphere of nature, forests, waterfalls etc. However the execution is not there yet. Continue reading “Review: Myrkur – “Myrkur””