Myrkur – Folkesange (Relapse)Thursday, 26th March 2020
Not one to really keep to the black metal boundaries and traditions, it’s probably less surprising to hear that Myrkur is going into the ‘total folk’ waters for her latest release Folkesange than a more ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ black metal act. There’s been other bands that have done the same (e.g. Ulver), so the precedence has been set before – the question is more about how Myrkur’s effort stands in and of itself.
Upon opening with “Ella,” it’s clear that Myrkur can still work that ethereal magic to its fullest extent – something that was contrasted with more black metal-esque tendencies in other offerings. Here there is only beauty and no beast. The vocals are given plenty of space to provide some really breathtaking moments among the folk instrumentation. It’s gentle, soft, and tender. One instantly is pulled towards images of fields and mountains, and it’s a fantastic escape (the artwork really nails it here). Unfortunately, those same strengths start to become weaknesses as the album progresses. While there’s certainly some variation between the tracks, they start to homogenize a bit the longer you listen as it’s already been stated, it’s ‘all beauty and no beast.’ The minimal acoustic and folk arrangements do their part, but it just feels simply too long. Something closer to a 30-minute time frame would feel more comfortable here, giving the music enough time to resonate without oversaturating the point.
Folkesange is compelling at first, but by the end it starts to feel more like an album that you would put on as background music rather than a complete listening experience. There’s plenty of wonder and enjoyment to be had, but it simply belabors the point a little too much to make a greater impact.