The name Myrkur has stirred up positive or negative reactions depending on who you talk to. The positives focus on Amalie Brunn’s project as a different take on black metal with newfound respect in breaking through an often minimalist sub-genre. The negatives focus on what I just referenced, not to mention the female aspect and her model looks. While this can be debated for ages, if we look at the music on it’s own, it survives on it’s own merits beautifully.
Now what she’s accomplished on her debut EP and her following debut album “M”, the talented project has unveiled a new release, and one that will most likely continue to polarize either side of the Myrkur debate. Brunn, accompanied by the Norwegian Girls Choir and ex-Ulver guitarist Håvard Jørgensen on the acoustic guitar present a live interpretation of tracks mostly from the debut album. The performance was captured in the Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, Norway. Leave it to Brunn to think outside the box with this location. The fantastic idea of this setting plays to the overall dark atmosphere of the music, with the stripped-down instruments (Brunn also plays piano on this album) and backing choir giving new life to the songs.
“Voelvens Spaadom” is an absolutely haunting way to start the release. “Jeg Er Guden I Er Tjenere” gives off a beautiful piano/vocal duel while “Skoegen Skulle” is angelic sounding despite Myrkur’s usual foray into the darker aspects of metal and atmospheric music. The piano works especially well in developing the ambiance in this particular track.
The one track that fans would probably anticipate hearing the most is “Onde Boern”. The single from “M” resonates in a totally different way than the studio version, with the simplistic two instrument arrangement adding new haunting depth to an already excellent song. Also of note is the Bathory cover “Song To Hall Up High”, which has become a staple of the live shows. The song is given a Myrkur rebranding, and it’s new twist on the old classic from the black metal pioneers is most welcome. It shows how a cover should be done; reinvent and don’t take the safe approach of mirroring the song.
While most performances on this release are from the aforementioned debut album, “Den Lille Piges Doed” comes from a digital single released almost a year ago (and what a song it is!), and “Frosne Vind” is included from the debut EP. Both songs are represented beautifully and fit in perfectly with the rest of the performances.
The almost half-hour of music on this release gives us the perfect amount of time to fully encapsulate the live Myrkur acoustic experience without becoming too overly involved and spaced-out. It’s ambiance is amazing and passionate, and the emotion contained in the output is spellbinding and breathtaking to behold. Where most live releases can come across as lacking punch and are at times watered-down, this experience gives off an intimate vibe that pairs well with the location of the recording.
So until new material is released, this will hold a special place in the Myrkur catalogue as the latest release. While new music would be excellent to hear at this point, this reinvention of sorts is a great way to rediscover Brunn’s subtle yet fully-encompassing and passionate performance qualities, both for current fans and new listeners discovering what the hype is all about. So put aside the discussion as to her place in the metal world and just enjoy some great music.
01. Voelvens Spaadom
02. Jeg Er Guden I Er Tjenere
03. Skoegen Skulle Doe
04. Byssan Lull
05. Den Lille Piges Doed06. Frosne Vind
07. Onde Boern
08. Song To Hall Up High
09. Dypt I Skoven
Playing time: 27:23
Release date: 19 August, 2016
Label: Relapse Records
Website: Myrkur Official Website