Myrkur – Mareridt (Relapse)

Tuesday, 12th September 2017
Rating: 8/10

The onslaught of hatred and negativity toward Amalie Bruun’s Myrkur is nearly unprecedented in the world of black metal. We’ve seen bands get crap for using keyboards, having “professional” production jobs, employing melodies, not wearing corpsepaint, wearing too much corpsepaint, being Cascadian, wearing hipster garb and enjoying the good fortune of having more than 15 fans. But it was never at the level Bruun has received. Unfortunately, it’s going to follow her for the foreseeable future, even as she crafts choral, delicate black metal that often hovers on the boundary of what is actually black metal and what is not. Her second full-length Mareridt (Danish for “nightmare”) is going to do little to squash that.

The English language has finally infiltrated Myrkur’s orbit, lending accessibility to numbers such as “The Serpent” and “Funeral,” which boasts a guest spot from Chelsea Wolfe. Bruun sounds pretty natural in both, especially on “The Serpent,” which lashes out with a rather blooming chorus. Aside from that, though, Mareridt feels like the natural step from 2015’s M, with Bruun dropping in her usual (and oh-so-welcome) choral bits among decaying black metal. In fact, Maredit, outside of opener “Måneblôt” and the well-orchestrated “Elleskudt,” remains well outside of BM’s nebulous reach. It certainly picks and pulls at elements from the sound, but the path to total singularity appears to have been achieved.

Save for the completely unnecessary and somewhat King Diamond-like “Børnehjem,” Mareridt does what Myrkur’s other two proper releases do: Offer just enough, only to pull back for another round. Then again, Mareridt’s fulfilling choral landscapes and harmonic breadth do more than get the job done. They will further silence those who dare to rail against such forward-thinking and unique artistry.

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