By Ally Urban
It’s been a long time since I’ve sat in the album reviewer’s seat, but I’m incredibly glad to be back at it! As an added bonus, the album I’ll be reviewing today is particularly fantastic.
Myrkur is the musical project of Amalie Bruun, a composer hailing from Denmark. She released her debut EP in 2014, and two full-length studio albums in 2015 (M) and 2017 (Mareridt). A few years ago, one of my good friends sent me a link to a track off of Mareridt. I was quite intrigued by Brunn’s style once I gave “The Serpent” a listen. The reason being was this: Myrkur’s genre is black metal, a subgenre of metal that I’m particularly picky about.
Black metal is described as an “extreme” style of metal, according to Wikipedia, and tends to be very atmospheric and dark. Vocalists often shriek (rather than using growls as is the case with death metal) and the guitars are quite heavily distorted.
The songs on Brunn’s first few albums are infused with a delightful balance of clean and shrieking vocals, giving her music an incredibly enigmatic, dark and mystical quality. The rest of the instrumentation blends well with her vocals, but definitely delivers a punch at certain points.
Now that I’ve given you a glimpse into the origins of Myrkur, let’s delve into Brunn’s newest album: Folkesange. Three singles were released before the album officially dropped on March 20, 2020. These singles were “Ella,” “Leaves of Yggdrasil,” and “Gudernes Vilje.”
I was quite excited to give them a listen, per recommendation of the same friend that told me about Myrkur in the first place. She told me that the latest album was “pretty and very folky,” which came as a little bit of a shock to me, but I wasn’t too surprised. Brunn definitely incorporated dark folk elements into her first EP and album, and the fact that she decided to take an even folkier direction with the newest album is pretty cool. I’m a big fan of artists changing up their styles from time to time, especially if they do so successfully. Amorphis is one of the first examples that comes to mind. Initially, they started out as a death metal act but their style evolved into something more progressive and folkish, among other subgenres.
Anyways, Brunn certainly did not disappoint with the change in genre. The melodies and themes within Folkesange actually remind me of Loreena McKennit’s style, which rests in the stream of Celtic folk/rock. Brunn’s vocals on this album are far different from those on Mareridt, as she sticks with natural, clean vocals in each track.
Speaking of nature, the whole album is meant to reconnect the listener to “something permanent and nature-aligned” according to Myrkur’s website. The percussion, strings, piano and other instrumentation simply evoke the essence of traditional Scandinavian folk.
There are 12 songs on the album, totaling the listening time to exactly 46 minutes. Although each song is strong and unique in its own way, my favourites are “Ella,” “Leaves of Yggdrasil,” “Tor i Helheim,” and House Carpenter.”
If you’re in the mood to sit back and relax while listening to some high-calibre atmospheric folk, Folkesange will certainly do the trick.
Overall Rating: 9/10