Despite having several black metal elements, Amalie Bruun aka MYRKUR shouldn’t belong to a particular category or group. It was her debut album 2015’s M that had her somewhat reinvent the subgenre as her live performances surprised audiences, especially during her supporting run with BEHEMOTH in 2016. She’s a true artist, and fans are well aware of her multiple-instrumental talents. Therefore, many were curious on what she would do in her sophomore album Mareridt, which is out now via Relapse Records.
For those who enjoy both the eccentric-celtic music such as LOREENA MCKENNITT and atmospheric black metal such as BURZUM and SAOR, you will enjoy MYRKUR’S direction. However, there’s ELUVEITIE’S recent Evocation II: Pantheon, where it was too focused on traditional and left a flat “anti-metal” style making it feel incomplete. With that being said, it’s difficult to define and classify Mareridt. Each track remains unpredictable, however, to some extent, these songs could be better to hear in a live setting.
The album begins with the enchanting tune “Mareridt,” which introduces the MCKENNITT-like sound. However, “Måneblôt” takes us on the blackened metal journey that we love. It’s dark, vicious and invasive that makes her continue to excel in her career. “The Serpent” continues the dark droning sound, however there are a few sluggish parts that provide a near doom-like essence in addition to CHELSEA WOLFE-like riffs.
“Crown” presents another soft one and yet it is a haunting track. Meanwhile, “Elleskudt” gives us more of an aggressive execution while her voice continues to soar. “De Tre Piker” holds the ancient and traditional sound while “Funeral” featuring CHELSEA WOLFE gives you a dark combination between these two powerful female artists. Finally, we have another atmospheric black metal tune with “Ulvinde,” and it is one of the best tracks on the album that makes you wish there were more of these. Unfortunately, the final songs went with the soft direction with “Gladiatrix,” “Kætteren,” and the eerie “Børnehjem.”
Mareridt will either be one of the best of 2017 or the biggest disappointment, depending on which flavor you prefer. Not everyone wants to hear the calm before the storm, in terms of metal. At the same time, not everyone wants to listen to redundantly harsh atmospheric black metal. Therefore, people will either love or have a distaste as there are more softer parts than harsh. There should have been more of a fair balance between the two. However, it is a well composed and constructed album and the one powerful constant on here are MYRKUR’S vocals.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Måneblôt,” and “Ulvinde”
-ZENAE D. ZUKOWSKI