Words About Music
One of the more noteworthy black metal projects of the year (and there are many) is Myrkur. The solo project isn’t noteworthy solely because of the lack of screams and howls in favor of melodic singing, but also because the person behind the project is a woman. While the lady behind the Danish project has chosen to remain anonymous, like so many metal groups are wont to do, her sound is anything but. She harkens back to the Scandinavian black metal of the ’90s from acts like Ulver and Darkthrone, two groups she cites as a main influence. But, besides the few things Myrkur does to distinguish herself from other black metal groups, there’s not much on this debut EP that quite solidifies her as a force to be reckoned with.
The biggest distinguishing trait of this EP (which I’m assuming it is because it’s a 7-track affair that lasts a short 25 minutes) is that most of the vocals are sung in a way that reminds me of folks like Chelsea Wolfe. The vocals are layered in interesting, textured, beautiful ways that give this EP an eerie, atmospheric feel. But apart from that, there’s not much that separates this from the leagues of atmospheric lo-fi black metal you could hear from Paysage D’Hiver or Woods of Desolation. A lot of Myrkur’s hype built on the song “Nattens Barn” (which doesn’t feature any clean vocals) and the fact that she got signed to Relapse Records. The EP as a whole, though, is sort of all over the place. It doesn’t quite have a full identity yet and some of the songs on here feel like interludes and demos.
What I’d personally like to hear from Myrkur when she gets around to recording a full-length album is longer, multi-faceted songs. On the aforementioned “Nattens Barn” she tries changing up the pacing a couple times throughout, but that song is only 6 minutes long. It’s a good track for sure, but Myrkur doesn’t give it enough time to breathe. A lot of my favorite black metal projects utilize repetition until you feel like you’ve been hypnotized and sucked into the riffs, only to be blindsided with a sudden shift. And Myrkur doesn’t allow for that to happen because most of her songs fall into the 4-5 minute window. This EP shows some promise and Myrkur’s hype isn’t unwarranted, but I’d like to remember her for more than “oh she’s a woman that also makes black metal music.” She’s much more than that, and I feel like with an hour-long album that allows her to experiment and try new things we would all see that.
SCORE – 5.8
FAVORITE TRACKS – Ravnens Banner, Må Du Brænde i Helvede, Nattens Barn
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