Myrkur EP

Written by: MST on 16/09/2014 01:47:16

Any Danish metal fan who hasn't been fast asleep for the last month will have noticed the immense hype circulating about the mysterious Myrkur, a Danish one-woman black metal band. Myrkur came anonymously out of nowhere this year, already signed to Relapse Records for the release of this, her debut EP, and received enormous amounts of attention. Given how black metal in various non-Satanic forms is all the rage these days, it's not surprising to see an anonymous one-woman black metal band get hyped, especially one born in our tiny country.

The 24-minute EP consists of seven tracks which at roughly four minutes a piece are fairly short for the genre. The foundation for Myrkur's sound is indeed black metal, and often in a relatively raw form. Myrkur wrote the entire EP over a period of years, then chose a selection of songs and recorded everything but the programmed drums by herself. And it shows: the raw sound of the guitars in their distorted moments are often reminiscent of Burzum, not only in the production but also in their simplicity. The addition of acoustic guitars and other folky elements brings the sound closer to early Ulver and Agalloch, while the vocals, consisting primarily of clean vocals layered to make them sound like a choir, bring thoughts towards the likes of Alcest.

It's easy to see why so many are interested in Myrkur, not only because of the artist but because of the music as it is indeed something special. Interesting is as far as this review will go however, because the music found on "Myrkur" is lacking in multiple categories. In terms of production and technical performance, what we have here is a release that sounds like a demo; there are several technical mistakes scattered across it to annoy the perfectionist listener, be it the obvious recording error as guitars and drums kick in on "Latvian Fegurð" or the multiple missed notes in the guitar solo on "Må Du Brænde i Helvede", and on top of that the programmed drums are way over the top in the faster sections, especially evident on "Nattens Barn". Although the vocals mainly consist of cleans, Myrkur also tries her hand at black metal screams, an experiment that works less well than one would have hoped for.

Finally there's the simple issue of song writing. While there's plenty of reason to think that Myrkur's first full length album could be quite good, this EP feels exactly like what it is: a collection of songs that weren't initially written to be released, let alone released together as a unit. The song writing is inconsistent, not only in terms of composition and performance, but also in how the music flows from song to song throughout the EP. All isn't terrible, mind you, as especially the dreamy "Dybt i Skoven" with its catchy main riff and less choir-like vocals works quite well on its own as a folky, melodic black metal song, and in general the folky elements of the album feel a lot more natural. Sadly, the songs that favor the black metal part of Myrkur's sound simply aren't as well executed.

There are a few things to conclude from the above: first of all, big labels and massive hype aren't surefire indicators of quality. "Myrkur" is fresh, both in sound and image, but perhaps a bit too fresh, which brings us to the second conclusion: there's plenty of potential to be found here, but sadly most of it is unrealised thus far. A full length album is currently being prepared, this time to be recorded in a professional studio, so who knows - maybe the next big thing in modern black metal is just around the corner. For now, all I can safely say is that this is not it.


Download: Ravnens Banner, Dybt I Skoven
For The Fans Of: (early) Ulver, Alcest, Agalloch, Burzum
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.09.2014
Relapse Records

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