Review: Myrkur ”Juniper” [Relapse Records]

Review: Myrkur ”Juniper” [Relapse Records]

- in Reviews

A fine snack between proper meals

Myrkur has been enjoying rising success within the last few years, mainly due to a successful combination of few ingredients – atmospheric, drawn-out and somewhat accessible, cleanly produced black metal with some contemporary shoegaze elements and a rather unusual but pleasant singing style, performed by a subtly eerie, yet striking multi-instrumentalist in the shape of Amalie Bruun.

Juniper is their/her new EP and continues in a similar fashion, perhaps leaning a bit more towards the calmer side of the music found on the Mareridt full-length, released in 2017. The title track is the main reason why you should be listening, since it’s the only original recording on this short little EP. The following (and already closing) song is a cover version of an apparently famous Danish folk tune and leaves a lot to be desired.

Juniper has been written with the “quiet/loud/quiet/loud”-principle in mind, initially unleashing a double-edged emotional impact upon the listener. Therein also lies the problem, as this effect wears off pretty fast when these two sections are essentially all that there is, the structure being incredibly simple. At least the song does not drag on too much, because it ends when it should and the few ideas are not stretched into oblivion. Apart from that issue, Amalie’s vocal lines and lyrics are interesting enough and flow well – they will surely remain in your subconscious for a while. The recurring Lana Del Rey comparisons are absolutely understandable. The more restrained – almost whispered – moments of Bruun’s vocal delivery still resemble Rey’s depressive pop style quite a bit, but due to the polished nature of the instrumentals they don’t feel out of place here. Definitely watch the title track’s official music video on YouTube – it’s well made and slightly disturbing, adding a little more depth to the de facto simplicity of the composition.

Bonden og Kragen is the aforementioned cover song. It’s merely a moody campfire acoustic guitar jingle. I’m not fluid in Danish, so I can hardly get any reward out of it. Amalie’s voice is fine but quickly becomes tedious, as it doesn’t change much throughout the whole song. Certainly nothing you need to hear more than once.

For an EP below 7 minutes in length, there’s not much to latch onto here but one solid new song, created by a solid, above-average project. Nothing to disrupt your daily routine for, but if you can spare a few minutes of your precious time, listen to Juniper – preferably check out the official video – to hear and see what Myrkur is about – in a nutshell.

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About the author

A musician and writer from Austria, as well as an avid metal-fan since 2004!

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