MYRKUR – Folkesange
- by John Morrow
- Posted on 21-03-2020
Of all the black metal artists that have emerged over the past decade, Danish phenom Myrkur (or Amalie Bruun, as her folks know her) has been the most exciting to watch. A strong female role model, her music up until this point has been concise, ethereal, fearsome black metal with choral and folk influences, and her career since her emergence in 2013 has divided the trve fans of the polarising genre.
"Folkesange" changes the game up and will divide her fanbase even further. Having become a mother in 2019, she has taken to looking back to her Scandinavian heritage by making an album of traditional songs filtered through her incredible talent. Once again, she plays all instruments (mostly acoustic traditional ones, of course), but the true gem, as always, is her voice. Rasping black metal screams are absent, but her clean voice soars when needed, and embraces the listener like a lullaby throughout. Her clean vocals have always been a major drawcard, and here they are sublime.
"Leaves Of Yggdrasil", "Harpens Craft", and album closer "Vinter" are all mesmerising and float above the ether, but the album as a whole works best in one sitting where the ebb and flow from each piece to the next takes one on an emotional and uplifting journey. Another highlight is the traditional song "House Carpenter", made famous through versions by both Bob Dylan and Joan Baez – Myrkur absolutely does the piece justice and makes it completely her own.
"Folkesange" is a pagan love letter to Myrkur’s roots, an absolute wave of joy and melancholy that inspires as much as it gives a feeling of old-world twilight, and it is easily the most complete work that she has released thus far. Whether or not the fans will consider it in any way a black metal album is null and void – she is an artist based in the black metal oeuvre, but she is not restricted by the genre’s overwhelming barriers. Much like Burzum, Enslaved, and Borknagar before her, the need to explore the cultural roots is just as important as the violent blasting and attack on the senses, if not more so. And with this body of work behind her, Myrkur has laid the groundwork for an endless and exciting musical future. Long may it last.