Released by: Relapse Records
Genre: Black metal/Gothic metal
Release date: August 19, 2016
Amalie Bruun – all Instruments and composition
- Vølvens spådom
- Jeg er guden, I er tjenere
- Skøgen skulle dø
- Byssan lull
- Den lille piges død
- Frosne vind
- Onde Børn
- Song to hall up high
- Dypt i skoven
Myrkur is the one woman black metal musical project of Danish musician Amalie Bruun. Myrkur is signed to Relapse Records; initially the real life identity of the person behind the project was kept unknown. The project debuted with a self-titled EP in 2014; Bruun provided the vocals, played all guitars and bass and produced the album. Drums were played by her friend Rex Myrnur. In June 2015, Myrkur announced the release of a full length album, entitled “M”, which was released on August 21, 2015 by Relapse Records. The album was produced by Kristoffer Rygg of Ulver, and featured Teloch of Mayhem and Nidingr on guitars, with Øyvind Myrvoll of Nidingr and Dodheimsgard on drums. A little background which brings us up to 2016’s release “Mausoleum”.
A year later, on the one-year anniversary of her critically acclaimed, masterful debut full length album “M”, Bruun is out in the open, and her follow up album, “Mausoleum” is a triumph. It’s an immersive collection of classic sounding black metal and Scandinavian folk that features chilly piano, melodic ghost choir interludes, passages of frozen noise and clamoring industrial bits. Danish black metal artist Myrkur unveils a captivating live recording from the historic Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, Norway. If you’re curious as to what the inside of the Mausoleum looks like as I was, I’ve linked a photo here (Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum). The place is incredible!
Appropriately titled “Mausoleum”, the album features beautifully dramatic and stripped down acoustic reinventions of seven songs from “M” plus one brand new song and a Bathory cover, all accompanied by the Norwegian Girls Choir and Håvard (ex-Ulver) on guitar. Captured in a cold, dimly lit tomb covered in morbid examinations that depict the circle of human life from conception til death, “Mausoleum” is an incredible showcase of Myrkur‘s sublime yet haunting voice in a truly chilling, unrivaled atmosphere. Amalie Bruun’s one-woman musical project, Myrkur, is a brilliant example of how to correctly mix the occult and the medieval. Bruun’s ghostlike music sways back and forth between ancient Icelandic folk and bone chilling gothic. Myrkur, literally meaning “darkness,” will sweep its audience off their feet and guide them to another time altogether as it plays with the contrasts of light and dark, soft and heavy. It’s acoustic enough to be mistaken for non metal, but you know what they say about “svingning av pendelen.” Maybe this just sets up the next full Myrkur album to be extremely fast, insane black metal. For now, “M’s” fifth track is “Mausoleum‘s” second track “Jeg er guden, I er tjenere” and the first track we’re hearing (link below). The other performer is Håvard formerly of Ulver.
From the very first track, “Vølvens Spådom,” my inner witch was crying and dancing with joy as Bruun’s melodic voice echoed and flowed with the harmonic background chorus. “Mausoleum” is reminiscent of traditional Gaelic music while maintaining a Tim Burton(esque) quality. Even the band’s signature symbol resembles a Pagan sigil or rune, adding to the witching quality of the music. “Skøgen Skulle Dø” incorporates more of the choir with an introduction that sounds oddly like a church choir with its echoing vocals, but soon leads into clashing half notes on the piano that bring the album back to its darker self. “Den Lille Piges Død” led me straight into my childhood fantasy novels and movies, such as Lord of the Rings. Beginning with a simplistic yet beautiful introduction of Bruun’s vocals, the song moves into harmonizing instrumentation and clashing notes between the piano and the guitar, which at times sounds similar to the lute. “Onde Børn,” another lovely piece with a gentler quality, was changed into a heavy metal piece later on and listening to the two side by side is a fascinating experience, because I heard Bruun’s talent and ability successfully move between genres while maintaining the essence of her style.
Definitely not something I would find myself listening too, but if you don’t find yourself spellbound by the time you’ve finished listening to Myrkur as I did, you will at least be in awe of her admirable live talent. Between Bruun, her talented all women choir and commendable instruments, it’s nearly impossible not to become captivated by the beauty and quality of Myrkur’s music. Whether you’re looking for a calming album to relax to, prepping for a Renaissance festival or preparing to celebrate a full Moon, “Mausoleum” is the album you need to let your mind escape and experience a little magic.
Written by: Danielle Bates