REVIEW: MYRKUR – “Mausoleum” [EP]
There are tons of music forms, styles and genres out there where the arrangements and instrumentation is simply awesome. One among them (and a personal favorite) is black metal. Black metal is best known for its extreme origins and offerings both in terms of the music and lyrics. It creates a pale and cold yet comforting atmosphere that anyone familiar with this genre will agree on. More often than not, we tend to forget that the extremity of black metal gives the music a lot of space for all sorts of experiments, ideas and combinations keeping in mind the atmosphere it creates. Dane musician Amalie Bruun AKA Myrkur took this wonderful genre by the reins and presented her own take on black metal. This resulted in some of the finest sounds that black metal had to offer in her debut album ‘M’.
‘Mausoleum’ is Myrkur’s reinterpretation of her music from an acoustic and in some sense a raw perspective. The name is pretty self explanatory in regard to where the music was recorded. Okay, we have an acoustic album here by a person who has been hated on for ‘ruining’ black metal and so what could EVER possibly trvekvlt about this? I’d have to say everything! For starters, Myrkur’s music is everything that ought to qualify as black metal per se and if atmosphere is considered, ‘Mausoleum’ just made things hotter (or colder in this case). The sounds that the EP offers are incredible!
‘Mausoleum’ starts off with “Vølvensspådom” and this opening sets the mood for rest of the EP to follow. Moving on, songs such as “SkøgenSkulledø” and “Den lille pigs død” and “Frosenvind” continue to intensify the pure and raw sounds the record has to offer. I was excited about the new interpretation of “OndeBørn”. Words fail to describe how enjoyable this song really is! The natural reverb of the sounds, the choir voices, piano, guitars and Myrkur’s lovely singing create a lot of tension in the music while at the same time being strangely comforting. The music is pretty straight forward by itself but even endless listening sessions make you feel like it’s your first time with the record. The EP also features a cover of “Song to hall up high” by the legendary Bathory. Personally I think it takes a lot to cover the music of Bathory and present a new and unique perspective. It isn’t merely about accomplishing just the instrumental sections but being able to capture the essence and the atmosphere of the original. Myrkur does a superb job with her rich tribute to Bathory without killing the feel of the original nor her own individuality in this rendition.
“Mausoleum” is the much needed renaissance in black metal. Call it trvekvlt if you will, the record beautifully captures the atmosphere and moods of black metal. No blast beats, no distorted guttural guitar work or screams. We have a different take on the genre instead. It is amazing that a record with such natural setting can actually be surprising intense. Myrkur’s ever so mesmerizing singing will take you to another universe. Everything about her interpretation is jaw dropping. ‘M’ is a great record and ‘Mausoleum’ just takes things ahead into the next step. It’s great to offer a newer and a different insight into an artists music with a new take on it. The star of show is Amalie Brunn’s enchanting vocals. Just maybe that is what goddess Freja might actually sound like- truly divine. The album reflects Brunn’s sheer musicianship and sense of direction.
There’s no reason to doubt that Amalie Bruun has no clue what she seeks out of her music. In the end, there’s nothing to hate in this record! It is one of these records where you just got to let go of yourself and get lost in the waves of the music and sounds. This is a frosty record! ‘Mausoleum’ is sure to influence the course of black metal on the long run and the music of Myrkur is here to stay! This is a humble and among the finest additions to the rich legacy of black metal!