Sometimes German, sometimes English. • The title of this blog used to change from time to time. • Interested in me reviewing your music? Please read this! • I'm also a writer for • Please like and follow Audiovisual Ohlsen Overkill on Facebook!


MYRKUR - Ragnarok / MYRKUR - Spine

Could this be it? There's always a first time, right? Could this be the first Myrkur release which doesn't click with me?

Which one? Oh, both of them. But the answer to the question is no anyway. I enjoy them now. It just took a while longer than usual to get into both of them. And in the first case the reasons why are very obvious...

MYRKUR - Ragnarok (Original Soundtrack) (Download) (2023)

None of Amalie Bruun's output ever feels like Myrkur by the numbers, since she has always been keen to introduce new creative spins to her work. This digital EP however still is somehow irregular, because it serves as the soundtrack to an open air play of the Royal Theater of Denmark. So even while she was heavily involved on and off stage "Ragnarok" certainly cannot be counted as an artistic reflection of what moves her personally in a similar way than her normal studio recordings.

Of course Norse mythology and mixing traditional music with Metal are Bruun's bread and butter, which obviously is why she was offered this engagement in the first place. But it's not only her voice we're hearing, but also those of other actors - and that's not the only difference of tone.

This is more like a mixture of Ambient score pieces, her "Mareridt" and "Folkesange" sound and one of those plays starring Matt Damon as Loki in the Marvel movies - if the director would be a regular Wacken Open Air visitor.
So the kitsch is a little more bland, the Metal more cliché than we're used to, but the songs are ultimately still solid at least. It's made to be understood by a potentially less musically orientated audience I guess. So it' more catchy Viking chants and guitar solos than Banshee Black Metal. And keeping in mind what this actually is that's fine.
With nine tracks in barely over twenty minutes anything not as strong as the rest passes almost as soon as you've noticed it anyway. 

MYRKUR - Spine (Doublemint Green And Swamp Green Galaxy Merge vinyl LP) (2023)

And what about the main dish? The "real" new Myrkur album actually does nothing the evolution of the project's discography hasn't prepared us for. It mixes all the familiar flavours and puts some new notes on top of it. So what we're hearing is a blend of ethereal Folk, Symphonic and Black Metal, Post Rock and Shoegaze atmospheres and straight-forward four-on-the-floor danceable Synth Pop music.

I guess it's especially the unapologetic confidence in which the latter appears and the fact that there's a dominance of clear vocals singing English lyrics (instead of Scandinavian languages), which threw me off a little during the first couple of spins.
So I first had to let go of analytical thoughts assigning each sound its category first and learn to simply enjoy the natural flow in which everything finds together - the blast beat in the finale of the single "Mothlike" probably being the easiest prime example for that.
But ultimately there are only very few moments on "Spine" which can be defined as representing one specific genre. No matter if it's Black Metal or a piano ballad - it's always something else at the same time. If it's scary it's always also beautiful. And while it's light it's also sad.
And if it's a song like "Devil In The Detail" it's somehow everything Myrkur has ever done rolled into four fascinating minutes.

There's no doubt for me: What Myrkur does still feels natural, because it all comes from an honest place. Sometimes mystically veiled, sometimes openly personal topics inform the songwriting. And from there on the pieces find the their specific sound from within an ever-growing repertoire of both vocal and instrumental expressions.
Or in other words: Amalie Bruun just does what feels right - and as always gathers the right people around her to bring that vision to life. In this case this means not only familiar faces like producer Randall Dunn, guitarist Will Hayes or a choir including Heilung's Maria Franz, but even the creative input of one Billy Corgan. Now that's something you won't find on every Black Metal-adjacent record.

Needless to say that the doublemint / swamp green vinyl edition of the album is a thing of beauty. The cover artwork however also needed a little accustoming from my side. It's that weird reflective stuff and the too aseptic studio look of those photographs, I guess. And did this really have to be a gatefold cover just for that one picture? Record collection space is so precious.

But that question of course doesn't effect the wonderfully enchanting, elevating music we're given here. 

Keine Kommentare:

Kommentar veröffentlichen