A departure from the black metal scene, but a more confident and unique sound for Myrkur on her second release, where blackened nordic folk music is in the center of the sound.
I’ve been awaiting the release of Myrkur’s second, full, album Mareridt, with high tension. The singles Ulvinde and Måneblot, was two songs, that caught my attention, and has been on repeat since their release.
Both songs are examples of excellent song crafting. While Måneblot really is a ravishing nightmare combined with the beauty of nature, Ulvinde was the song that convinced me that Myrkur has evolved significantly since her previous album M.
If Mareridt is just as good as these two songs.
Myrkur has been on a long journey since her first EP release from 2014, over the debut M on Relapse, and now Mareridt. This journey is a pure evidence of a musician in development, and for each release, everything is being refined more and more to a definition of what Myrkur’s music is.
Myrkur caught quite a shitstorm back in the days of her signing to Relapse, and sadly she is still a victim to this, although I don’t think she cares much about that anyway.
Myrkur is not TRVE is the statement. But seriously who the fuck cares. What is TRVE ?
One thing that is TRVE, is, that Myrkur is an insanely skilled musician, that has the strength to write extremely passionate, embracing and memorable songs. She masters the composition of a devastating, grim and aggressive realm, and at the same time combining with ethereal, out of this world beauty.
All this with a TRUE love to Nordic mythical music. How is that not TRUE ?? I don’t get it.
Enough about history. Is Mareridt what Ulvinde and Måneblot promised?
Mareridt opens the album with the core element of Myrkur’s sound, the mythical folk sounds from ancient Nordic tales. And that is exactly what Mareridt is, a tale.
Mareridt excellently sets the scene of what to come. A Dark melancholic mood, that immediately manifests a vision of darkness, rough weather and nature.
Måneblot, that is also the first single from the album, transforms the aforementioned mythical folk to the more rough and raw black metal style, that Myrkur is also known for. It’s a seamless combination of black metal and Nordic folk music and works extremely well. Already at this point of the album, Myrkur reveals her mastery of vocals. Several vocal styles and all of them served with confidence and a compelling nerve.
The Serpent is somehow a bit more goth like, and even though guest vocalist Chelsea Wolfe is not singing on this song, the music and the song itself, really reminds me of Chelsea Wolfe. This is a welcome turn and the song stands out differently from everything else we have heard from Myrkur. The chucking chords blend really well with the vocals.
With Crown, we are back in a more folk like world, and for the first time, Myrkur is bringing her vocals to the lower tonal registers. Crown is calm, not very metal like at all. I would say it’s more in the world of The Knife, Fever Ray and Lana Del Rey.
Elleskudt has some of the early Myrkur bite, but way more polished. Subtle black metal elements combined with the folk inspirations, subtle screams, double kicks, with Myrkur floating on top with a fine melody.
De Tre Piker is a bit like the opener Mareridt, a short intermezzo of mythical folk. This time is primarily driven by the ethereal vocals developing into a more insisting folk song.
Chelsea Wolfe is a really cool artist and I enjoy her music quite a lot, especially her single from her upcoming album Hiss Spun. Here Chelsea joins Myrkur on the song Funeral. With the exposure of Myrkurs lower register vocals on Crown, it’s hard to determine who sings what here. Funeral has an evil fuzzed bass, that complements the voices of Chelsea and myrkur great.
Ulvinde is already reviewed separately here.
Gladiatrix is almost electronica in the beginning, and especially when the vocals kick in, it sounds like ??. Even though the song changes character, with blast beats like drums and the slower heavy drums, the main drive of the song comes from a hurricane of vocals.
Kætteren is, by all means, Myrkur in the folk corner. The music gives an imagery of people in clothing from another time, eagerly dancing filled with lust and hope.
Børnehjem ends the album with synthesized horror movie spoken word from a child’s voice. I don’t think this is doing anything good for the album. It’s simply a bit too way off when compared to the rest of the universe of Myrkur and for me, it destroys the mood. Here I sit, listening to pretty cool blackened folk metal and then I get a reminiscence of a shitty horror B-movie. I really do not understand the choice of this song as the closing of an otherwise pretty good record.
On the deluxe edition of Mareridt, you get extra 4 songs. Death of Days, Kvindelil, Løven and Himlen blev sort. Of these, mostly Løven stands out, as a raw recording of one of the more folk-like songs, sounds like a live demo.
What is Mareridt
I think Myrkur has developed her sound pretty far away from her original black metal inspired universe. Mareridt is way more folk music, some gothic elements, but definitely also elements from the alternative/indie scene. Where ‘M‘ were more an entrance to the black metal scene, this feels more like a departure from that scene. This is good, I don’t mind that atall, it makes the album more seamless and sounds like Myrkur has found a good balance between metal and her background. Mareridt is more a Nordic folk album than it is a black metal album, I would say. Thumbs up for that.
Does it live up to expectations ?. Well, partly it’s an enjoyable journey to listen to the full Mareridt album. But some of the songs feel inapposite and ruins the folk feel of the rest. Especially the closing song Børnehjem, but also Crown and Funeral lends more towards a more indie like record than it fit’s in here. Overall it’s an enjoyable album, but Ulvinde and Måneblot are still my favorites of this album, so the rest of the album, sadly didn’t give any new songs that reach the same heights as these two.
That said. I am, without a doubt going to listen a lot to the album, but I am going to stop it when I reach Børnehjem.
Checkout Mareridt here: