Myrkur – “Nattens Barn”
According to the press materials, Myrkur is a one-woman black metal act “from the darkness of Scandinavia” who’s set to release her self-titled debut EP in September via Relapse. When those press materials and that EP landed in my inbox at the beginning of June, I read them, listened to it, and was soon thereafter trawling Google in an attempt to learn more. But more was not forthcoming. Myrkur’s internet presence is (or was in June, at least) pretty much nonexistent: no MP3s, no reviews, no interviews, no discussion, no self-promotion, and no social media whatsoever beyond a seven-month-old Facebook page with like 30 followers and zero updates. That’s … kinda rare. Even the most misanthropic black-metal outcasts aren’t entirely off the grid — or, if they are entirely off the grid, then I have no idea who they are, because they are intentionally making themselves invisible. “Invisible,” as in, they are not releasing records on Relapse, one of the biggest metal labels in the world. Myrkur, meanwhile, seems to have dropped from the sky with a handful of songs that sound like Elizabeth Fraser fronting Ulver. And those songs are really fucking good, too; they comprise one of the best collections of atmospheric black metal I’ve heard this year. Myrkur, the EP, doesn’t sound like the work of someone who could have remained invisible even if she’d hoped to do so. It sounds like something someone would have noticed. Even if the music weren’t great — and the music is great — it would be hard not to notice. Do you know how many one-woman black metal bands are in the market right now? Not a lot! Maybe not “zero,” numerically speaking, but for all intents and purposes? The answer is basically zero. Which means Myrkur arrives with no verifiable backstory, yet one of the most inherently unique storylines in all music — a storyline made all the more unique by the fact of her unverifiable non-backstory! So I’m not sure if Myrkur is real or any if this is true, because it seems much too good to be true. But I want it to be true. And either way, the music is real, and it’s really good, and it would be really good regardless of its context. And you can check out one of Myrkur’s songs, “Nattens Barn,” right now, and have that much, at least, proven for yourself.
Myrkur is out 9/16 via Relapse.