‘Mareridt’ is the third full-length from Myrkur, who’s been dishing out releases with regularity since the project’s emergence back in 2014.
Not to be confused with the Irish BM band of a similar name, Myrkur is the brainchild of Danish musician Amalie Bruun, now based in NYC, who delivers almost 40 minutes of highly varied, generally ethereal music on this, her third album under the name.
Chances are you’ve heard of Myrkur without having heard a note of the music.
That’s certainly the situation this reviewer finds himself in.
Big surprise here, a nominally Black Metal band consisting of a multi-talented female Scandinavian model is always going to stand out, especially with Relapse pushing the project.
Leaving everything but the music at the door, ‘Mareridt’ is a fine-sounding record. But for all the right noises that it makes, it’s sorely missing a lot of the magic.
The image you’re ultimately left with is one of Bruun wandering a musical landscape, drawing from deep wells of sound. But the magic present in those wells just doesn’t seem to survive its drawing.
There are things that just don’t make much sense about ‘Mareridt’.
Opener proper ‘Maneblot’ cuts through the opening ambience with a thrust of tremolo speed and snarl, kicking things off in pretty aggressive fashion.
Bizarrely though, it completely lifts its stand-out vocal line from PJ Harvey’s ‘Grow Grow Grow’ (check it yourself).
The fact the line is delivered in such a tremulous and ultimately similar way makes for a fairly suspect listening experience – or a humdinger of a coincidence.
Test Of Mettle
Listening on though, and ‘Mareridt’ slowly unfolds in a roughly alternating pattern.
On one hand, there’s echoing ambience with quavering Danish being sung, and on the other there’s harsher metal being delivered.
An enduring problem is, well, the mettle of the metal. Throughout the record, the guitar and riffing sound relegated to a background prop.
Even some more uplifting, blasting sections that sound like they’re aiming for the ‘Bergtatt’ sweet-spot never get fleshed out, instead existing as thin, shivering lines that never really add weight to songs.
Thankfully, it does actually going nicely on ‘Elleskudt’, probably the best track on the album.
Moreso, the record sounds like it’s been blasted down with cold water.
It’s all very shimmering sounding, but just like Alcest at their most navel-gazing, it doesn’t do much to actually engage the listener.
Bruun is an accomplished singer, but there just isn’t much warmth or magic going on. The same goes for the acoustic instruments, which politely deliver their reels before wrapping up.
Even after ten odd listens, it’s hard to tell where you are in the record.
A short interlude with Chelsea Wolfe on ‘Funeral’ adds some interesting darkness to the palate, but this is way too short a detour, and large sections of the album just blend rather easily together.
It’s difficult to fathom how the vocal samples used on closer ‘Børnehjem’ made it through to the final cut. An irritating soliloquy from a child-like voice that brings to mind a bottom-of-the-list Netflix horror more than anything. The record suffers for it.
At album number three, you are expecting to be challenged, or at least grabbed by Myrkur.
For the most part, this sounds like a mixing pot that loses all the impact of its influences. It’s certainly not bad, but it’s missing fire.
2.8 / 5 – Lorcan Archer ::: 15/10/17