Review: Myrkur “Folkesange” [Relapse Records]

Review: Myrkur “Folkesange” [Relapse Records]

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Whatever it is, Myrkur is a very interesting project, though some “orthodox” still think that it doesn’t has a right for existence; ok, that’s what they think. Nevertheless, Amalie Bruun continues to create music and after three years Myrkur delivers its new album called Folkesange.

Myrkur‘s previous albums M (2015) and Mareridt (2017) were some view on the Black Metal from a different perspective. With this M gained attention more because of unexpected one-woman-black-metal-project and Mareridt was more diverse, mixing Dark Folk with Black Metal elements. In its turn, Folkesange puts Black Metal aside, leaving only Folk. Roughly speaking, Folkesange is standing as far from Mareridt as Mareridt from M. “Three years ago I decided to share a video where I performed an old Scandinavian folk song “Två Konungabarn” on the nyckelharpa, – tells Amalie, – After this, I realized that I had a strong need to create an album within this universe and that other people also wished to hear this. So I started working on picking out what old songs to reinterpret as well as write my own version of this. The first song in the album, Ella is this.” Amalie also became a mother in 2019, which she has said made her think more intensely about her roots and shared history.

Folkesange contains 12 songs, which are various and very atmospheric, of course. With the seeming simplicity, music transmits a lot of moods. It captivates and immerses the listener to the magic world of northern lands or to the beautiful atmosphere of the nature of North (which sometimes can be dismal also). Amalie herself played all instruments in the album, including such conventional instruments like nickelharpa, lire and mandola. Using it masterfully, Myrkur recreates the spirit of the folk music with reverentially and delicately.

Of course there must be some references to the Scandinavian epos – Elder and Younger Eddas in such album. Here we got “Leaves Of Yggdrasil” and “Tor i Helheim”. The first one is typical folk music (but not less beautiful) that tells the tragic story of love, which closely intertwined with mythology. The second one starts from “Kulning”, Scandinavian herding calls and continues with smooth music, focusing on Amalia’s amazing vocals. In this album it opened up from a different side: it doesn’t transmit darkness and fear like in Myrkur‘s previous works. There is calmness, a “bright sadness” and lots of other emotions in it. Meanwhile Amalie put the melody on the first place and not her skills (while there is a place for it also, of course).

“Fager en som ros” and “House Carpenter” are the most cheerful and I would say buoyant songs in the album. “House Carpenter” is an old English song with light, catchy motif and lines, repeated many times (that’s exactly what is needed for drinking song). At the same time “Fager en som ros” is similar to “House Carpenter” with repeated lines but it uses instruments more wide and Amalie plays with her voice awesome.

The album ends with magic song “Vinter”. Just with piano and vocal it draws a beautiful picture of the winter in childhood: snowflakes beautifully falls from the sky, you see the white blanket of snow from your window, it’s very cozy at home, Christmas is coming soon and everybody in their hearts wait for the miracle. This simple but touching music, more inherent to fairy tales than Folk, it will make to listen to this album one more time just to immerse into this wonderful, entrancing and sometimes unpredictable atmosphere.

On the background of disturbing news and total panic with isolation, just try to relax a little and give yourself 47 minutes of peace. Turn on this album and let these songs take you for a journey to beautiful places and magic worlds; they will do it easily.

Folkesange will be released on March, 20 via Relapse Records.

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