The Upshot: Critically acclaimed metal mistress collaborates with Norwegian scene mainstay Garm (not to mention a girl’s choir) for an album simultaneously filled with beauty and grace and some of the most rawest form of gothic black metal.
BY DANIEL MATTI
Myrkur broke out onto the black metal scene back in 2014 with her critically acclaimed self-titled EP, causing much controversy simply for being a one woman black metal band, given that the genre has always been a very male occupied phenomenon, what with the likes of Mayhem, Burzum, and Immortal. A girl entering the forest with nothing but a torch in hand, a pack of wolves, and a very talented vocal range, Myrkur was bound to upset people in the metal community. With tons of backlash on the internet, Myrkur (aka Amalie Bruun) nevertheless stood strong and presented a powerful debut record that definitely took the stance for women making powerful music.
The extremely talented all teenage girl choir Det Norske Jenekor starts off the album with angelic like vocals. Bruun then brings in backing vocals that one could say is jarring and at odds with the girls’. Which in a sense is and is not. Black metal has always had a sense of shock and awe. With Myrkur bringing on a group of girls presenting their sweet vocals throughout the album, it is simultaneously filled with beauty and grace and some of the rawest form of gothic black metal. Bruun was once the singer for the Brooklyn punk band Ex-Cops. There, she lent her vocals for more of discordant pop style. Very much the complete opposite in a lot of ways.
M continues to come into the light, only to be dragged back into the darkness by the wolves of Garm’s production. Garm is one of the key members of Ulver and the Norwegian music scene, and if you are not familiar with any of his projects (Arcturus, Borknagar, Aethnor, and Head Control System) you are in for a treat. His production credits also are pretty heavy, having helped with many projects such as Sunn O))), Emperor and Mayhem. With his hand in the cauldron, m also has a host of very talented musicians, among them Teloch (live guitarist for Gorgoroth, he additionally plays for Nidingr and, here, lends his blistering guitar tone the record), Teloch on bass guitar and Oyvind Myrvoll on drums (both also in Nidingr), and, on one of the standout tracks, “Mordet,” ex-Arch Enemy/Armageddon guitarist Christopher Amott. “Skadi” is another song that really stuck out for this writer. Its energetic drum patterns filled with rigid but airy vocals (that reminded me of The Knife’s Karin Andersson) left me wanting more as soon as the song finished, leading you into a piano encore.
Overall the album presents a powerful case for the Bruun and Garm being in the studio and collaborating so well. One can only hope that this is the beginning of many projects for the two.
DOWNLOAD: “Mordet” “Skadi”