Scandinavian mythology unified with Folk and Black Metal have been around for decades, coexisting peacefully despite the obvious differences in ultimate expression. In more recent renditions of these genres, musical artists have mixed and mingled with the guttural verses the serene. In 2014, the beginning of a beautiful collaboration between Folk and Black Metal burst onto the scene in the most elegant way in the form of Myrkur.
The solo project by Danish Singer Amalie Bruun, Myrkur, has soared to popularity for many reasons. Specifically, Bruun’s vocal range is absolutely delightful, and her charming serenity can calm any beast. On her first couple of albums – 2015’s M and 2017’s Mareridt – she also went from this pleasurable, peaceful sound to speeding up, darkening ones in the form of Black Metal in a way that her beautiful banshee screams dominate.
Now in 2023, Myrkur has released the new album Spine, and it is exactly what she wants it to be, therefore, it is what it needs to be. Now her fourth album, in a relatively short span of time Bruun has already submerged in quite a few genre styles. She always keeps the Folk roots, but it is anyone’s guess where she takes it from there. This latest album, released in October on 20th via Relapse Records is eloquently executed. However, just as you start to believe it will only cover gentle Folk music, it throws in surprises such as “Valkyriernes Sang.” A three and a half minute long song, it covers a vast array of mixing styles of Black and Folk Metal… and a few other surprises. Simply genius, it covers so much musical range in such a short time, all while sounding very complete in context with the other songs on Spine.
Considering this, the nine track Spine starts with “Balfaerd” and ends with “Menneskebarn”; which is basically going from a ballad to a lullaby. Throw in some cool songs “Blazing Sky,” “My Blood Is Gold,” along with “Devil In The Details,” and the result is one well-produced versatile album. With this, Spine is another primarily serene album, but compared to her last, Folkesange, purely Folk music, this proves a great direction to go in.
Simply put, Black Metal does not have to be all scream with no dream, and Spine proves this with flying colors. It is a collection that can be heard by child and an adult with not much varying results of peace in their adapted mood. For so many artists who become popular for one style, it becomes a grave choice of selling out, or staying true to the changes within. Myrkur has braved the backlash that could come from changing her story to match her present life with each album, although, it is believed in this case proves to be another inspirational success.
Spine melds the past with the present while simultaneously traveling through a taste of the future. In fact, just Bruun’s vocals alone can push this album above many others similar in nature. Now she prepares for some European shows in February and April of 2024, but we can only hope a tour of The States will happen again sooner than later. Until then, Cryptic Rock gives Myrkur’s Spine album 5 out of 5 stars.