Myrkur – “Mareridt” (Relapse)
Ever wondered if Kate Bush had taken her unique style of rock into the realms of black metal? Well, such has been the venture of Danish multi-instrumentalist actress Amalie Bruun – better known as Myrkur – in her one woman black metal project. While already famed for being in a Martin Scorsese directed Chanel advert and featured in a Michael Bolton video, Myrkur has allowed Bruun to delve into her childhood beginnings of Nordic legends and fairy tales, along with a deep rooted embrace of nature. Along with being a classical pianist and artiste favoring sophistication like the works of Carl Jung, the svelte Bruun is also clearly a fiercely independent woman, driven by her intelligence, talent and passion. Needless to say, this hasn’t gone down well in all sections of the metal community! Criticisms aside, the music here is truly ground breaking and awesomely powerful, atmospheric and deeply passionate. The most important aspect of “Mareridt” is that it is not a black metal album per se, but uses elements of it – including a piercing banshee of a scream from Bruun that will literally tear your skin off – to augment the dark and atmospheric rock that is fed by sumptuous amounts of Nordic folk and strong pagan elements. So while there are indeed horrifying black metal blast beats used to superb effect, there are equally enchanting pieces made up of ethereal vocals and serenity from the use of instruments like the ancient nyckelharpa (Swedish key harp) that come together in deep and cerebral compositions from ‘Gladiatrix’ to ‘The Serpent’ and the tribal surreality of ‘Børnehjem’. Much like Bush, the music here goes well beyond the song and while the former used dance to further her expressions, Bruun has instead gone deeper into the music and accompanying sounds to elicit a unique out of body experience – both pleasant and otherwise! Indeed the title of this sophomore is a rich juxtaposition of the dark and the light; the moon and the mother earth; and the witch and the saint. Furthermore, all this being achieved with all the 11 songs under the 5 minute mark is a further testimony to this lady’s incredible talent, vision and heart (and no doubt why some out there fear her). Without a shadow of a doubt the avant garde metal album of the year.