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World - Released March 20, 2020 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released September 15, 2017 | Relapse Records

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With Mareridt ("Nightmare"), her sophomore long-player, Danish-born singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Myrkur (Amalie Bruun) will hopefully leave the ranting and death threats of idiotic male black metal purists in the dust. Mareridt not only bridges the stylistic diversity of her three previous releases -- the 2015 album M and two EPS -- but extends their reach into her own creative space, which cannot easily be defined. The music is grounded in an intensely personal iconography -- musical, spiritual, cultural, psychological, emotional, and mythological. These atmospheric songs are also imbued with the intense influence of the natural world. Recorded in Copenhagen and Seattle with producer/engineer Randall Dunn (Wolves in the Throne Room, Chelsea Wolfe, Sunn 0))), etc.), these songs illuminate the most intimate aspects of Myrkur's interior dimensions. She plays piano, nykelharpa, violin, guitar, percussion, synth, and organ. She even does some "kulning" (a cow-herding call from the Swedish folk tradition that she's mastered). The title refers to a period where she was nearly crippled by sleep paralysis induced by nightmares. She learned to confront them by obsessively writing them down, then illustrating them musically. The title track commences with a drone and kulning as thunder rumbles ominously. Accompanying herself on nykelharpa, with echo and ambience pervasively filling the backdrop, she intones the stuff of her nightmares, only to follow it with an explosion: The most overt engagement with black metal on the set is its first single, "Måneblôt," complete with its blastbeats and growled vocals. However, these are contrasted with gorgeous folk fiddle, stacked, soaring soprano vocals answering the screams, and a choral layer of chants that pour in from the margins. They stream light into the darkness and combat it with the primal force of what Bruun details in her lyrics. If Kate Bush decided to pursue slow, chugging doom metal, she might choose to cover the spiritually twisted "The Serpent." Underscored by ancient myth and confessional doubt, it lays bare the protagonist's psyche. A nearly processional gothic soundscape drives "Crown," a love song to the person or thing that nearly destroyed you. Its hunted, vulnerable beauty is nearly unbearable. Wolfe appears in duet on "Funeral," riven with sweeping synth and strings, doomy, distorted guitars, and elegiac tom and kick drums. Its lyric seemingly counters "Crown"'s -- "...So I will be there at your funeral/I've been waiting for this day/So I'll be wearing white...I find my peace/When you're buried underneath...." -- by practicing surrender, grieving, and ultimately accepting the calm that arrives when discovering that certain traumatic situations cannot be altered or escaped. The set's finest moment is "Ulvinde," where it seems that Loreena McKennitt, Dead Can Dance, folk, black metal, and ambient music become one in Mykur's ambitious musicality. Mareridt is a work of atavistic mystery, unflinching honesty, and balance. It embraces everything from horror and beauty to the sacred and profane; its creator has encountered them all within, faced and accepted them, and ultimately woven them into the fabric of her being as music. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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World - Released March 3, 2020 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released August 19, 2016 | Relapse Records

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M, one-woman black metal act Myrkur's debut long-player, was one of the most hotly discussed genre recordings of 2015. More often than not, conversation and criticism centered around the abundant creative writing and music-making that delivered a necessary evolutionary step for black metal. When it was revealed that Myrkur was actually the alter ego of Danish indie pop musician Amalie Bruun (Ex Cops), however, black metal's extremist fringes erupted in a thinly disguised misogynist attack campaign. Thankfully, Bruun -- and her label, Relapse -- paid no mind. The live Mausoleum offers radically stripped-down reworkings of seven M tracks, an inventive cover of Bathory's "Song to Hall Up High," and one new song ("Den Lille Piges Død"). The title reflects the location of the recording: the historic Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Norway, chosen for its gorgeous acoustics. Bruun sings and plays piano. She is accompanied by the Norwegian Girls Choir and Snøhvitt guitarist Håvard Jorgensen (also ex-Ulver). This set peels back the dynamic and production layers to reveal the European folk aesthetics at the heart of M's songs -- and, if we're being honest, in early black metal itself (where do you think those strange minor modal melodies and chants came from, after all). The music here is intimate and delicate, eerie, and icily beautiful, but it is also executed with authority. Check "Jeg Er Guden, I Er Tjenerne," with its wordless cascading intro -- underscored by the choral voices and the cavernous reverb of the venue -- and pronounced middle-register piano chords. Its melody exists at two intersecting planes: the lead vocal seems to come from the subterranean earth itself, while the chorus comes from above, adding a spiritual dimension. It hovers atmospherically in the twilight, but its emotion is resonant. The contrapuntal interplay between Bruun's piano and Håvard's acoustic guitar on "Den Lille Piges Død" offers a classical dimension to a folk song. The singer's alto bridges them with a heartbreakingly sorrowful narrative. On "Frosne Vind," Håvard gently inverts the changes on the age-old melody of "Greensleeves," as Bruun and the choir deliver a five-part harmonic countermelody that transforms it. The Bathory cover is almost funereally slow; sans piano, its presentation balances medieval and renaissance harmony with a progressive pop melody. Shorn of its anthemic, buzzing electric guitars and fat double-timed kick drums, "Dypt I Skoven" is a Gothic hymn, somber yet tender and moving. Mausoleum is a rare recording in that its appeal is vast. More liberal fans of classical crossover, darkwave, and even metal itself can easily -- and should -- embrace it. Underneath all the power of M lies a sophisticated music that reveals its lineage and sources of inspiration, and in doing so illuminates another aspect of Myrkur's signature talent. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Metal - Released August 21, 2015 | Relapse Records

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Folk/Americana - Released May 23, 2017 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released September 16, 2014 | Relapse Records

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World - Released January 14, 2020 | Relapse Records

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World - Released December 5, 2018 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released November 14, 2018 | Relapse Records

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World - Released February 11, 2020 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released October 23, 2015 | Relapse Records