Myrkur’s forthcoming debut LP has been one of my most-anticipated records of 2015 based on (A) her excellent 2014 self-titled EP, and (B) the news that the full-length would be co-produced by Kristoffer “Garm” Rygg, the genius behind Norwegian black-metal/avant-garde pioneers Ulver. The project’s backstory is super labyrinthine, but basically, Myrkur is the black-metal alias of Denmark-born Amalie Bruun, who also serves as one-half of the very good indie-pop duo Ex Cops; Myrkur’s music to date has been strongly influenced by Ulver, especially that band’s 1995 debut LP, Bergtatt, one of my favorite records of all time. Anyway, Myrkur’s new album’s details have just been announced: It’s called M; the album art is above; the tracklist is below; it’s out in August; it was recorded with Garm in various locations in Norway; and it includes contributions from members of Mayhem (most notably the band’s current guitarist and sonic architect Morten “Teloch” Iversen) as well as former Arch Enemy guitarist Christopher Amott. Myrkur also just released the album’s first single, “Hævnen,” which you can hear below. It’s much doomier than anything off the debut; it shreds much harder in the harsh-vocal sections and drifts to far prettier places in the choral-vocal sections. In working with Garm, Myrkur actually seems to have shed a bunch of her old Ulver mannerisms, or evolved them into something bigger and more singular, and sounds so much the better for it. Listen.
Both Myrkur and Garm offered some commentary on the album, and I think both statements are worth reading, so here they are:
Myrkur on the concepts of M:
The album is a story where the songs are connected. It is Nordic folk music, black metal, classical choirs and more. It feels like a soundtrack to some sort of Norse mythology horror movie with blastbeats. I wrote it about many things, as a goddess who wants revenge and to kill off people in my life, perhaps also a side of myself. I feel a strong sense of being divided into two, not one whole. a side of light and a side of shadows battle within me. And sometimes a disassociation to reality. A disconnect to the normal world and to what I am. This album tells my story and the transformation to one is complete in my mind.
Garm on M:
In a — for me — short, but efficient time I feel that we managed to sew together a production that will be instantly recognizable in the plethora of “history-conscious” metal music, with its stylistic wavering between classical, folk, rock (shoegaze) and (black) metal traditions. At the same time M also sounds strangely contemporary to me. It goes in circles, I guess. Soundwise it’s all out classic analogue stuff. No triggered drums, brick walling or all on grid here. It’s a really natural sound harkening back to the days of old. That’s the feel (or soul) we were after and I think we captured it. It’s no secret that Amalie loves Bergtatt (our first album), and there’s even a song on the album to prove it! I’m not really a type to gush, but Myrkur is a multi-talent and she knows it. Fortunately for me we really hit it off and were on the same page from the get-go … I think our time of meeting was really auspicious as I’ve been working a bit with Ulver’s old metal back catalogue recently and with that stuff fresh in mind the feeling came natural and was a total trip for me, to summon that epic, sylvan Scandinavian sound, as it were. I am really proud to be involved, to help her make her vision come to life, and also to have her carry the torch, so to speak. I think it’s a killer album and I’m anxious to see what people think.
M is out 8/21 via Relapse. I’m not totally sure which song Garm is referring to as being a tribute to Bergtatt, but here’s the tracklist; let me know if you figure it out:
01 “Skøgen Skulle Dø”
03 “Onde Børn”
04 “Vølvens Spådom”
05 “Jeg er Guden, I er Tjenerne”
08 “Byssan Lull”
09 “Dybt i Skoven”