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Amalie Bruun is the uber talented Dane behind Myrkur, a pseudonym under which she’s exercised her multi-instrumentalist, cross-genre chops across a couple of EPs and two studio albums. She’s garnered wide attention within the metal scene and beyond, and has been ubiquitously lauded with glowing critical acclaim since 2014’s eponymously titled debut EP, for her refreshingly diverse fusion of black metal, darkwave, gothic, ethereally ambient and folk elements within her compositions. Now we have her third full-length outing, ‘Folkesange’, and it’s one where she’s opted to eschew any metal affinity in favour of fully embracing a traditional folk aesthetic. And it’s an album that’s embraced my very being across multiple listens, with my emotional core feeling that little bit more nourished on each new occasion I’ve engaged with its inherent beauty. This album is sonic beauty personified.

Blurb informs the album combines “songs ancient and new”, so it seems Bruun has embraced a wide array of Nordic folk tunes and idioms, preserving and conveying their innate essence, while also embellishing and transforming traditional sounds for her own self-styled aesthetic. And it’s an aesthetic that’s breathtakingly sublime throughout, both through echoes of familiarity that can be heard within the songs, and the expressively exquisite heights she reaches. Bruun excels her own sense of vocal beauty here, through a singing performance in each and every song, be it through words or otherwise, with a timbre and sincere emotional depth that is so utterly absorbing. Likewise for the instrumentations - whether they’re layered with various instruments or more minimalist in constitution, there’s a profound sense of mystical exaltation and inherent beauty here, too. And there’s a captivating euphonic harmony between Bruun’s vocals and instrumentations… one that extends to how I’ve connected with this album, which has engendered a harmonious euphony within my being. Catharsis, if you will.

While Bruun has abandoned all traces of metal for ‘Folkesange’, her creativity still adheres to a darkness and melancholy in certain songs, amidst some lighter, less emotionally heavy moments (albeit the “lighter” passages are loaded with their own sense of emotionally nourishing catharsis). What binds everything together, though, is just how mesmerizingly enchanting it all is. And it’s emotionally transcendent throughout, where the album often reaches ethereal heights, right up to the profoundly affective, yet delightfully minimalist climax of ‘Vinter’, with its sublime melodies and vocalisations. Such is its beauty, ‘Folkesange’ ultimately transcends its own folk stylings; it’s a timeless masterpiece of an album. Embrace it and let its many alluring charms embrace you. Cherish its alluring sublimity, for albums this beautiful don’t come around all that often.
Relapse Records
Review by Mark Holmes
20th March 2020
1) Ella
2) Fager som en Ros
3) Leaves of Yggdrasil
4) Ramund
5) Tor i Helheim
6) Svea
7) Harpens Kraft
8) Gammelkäring
9) House Carpenter
10) Reiar
11) Gudernes Vilje; 12) Vinter
"Such is its beauty, ‘Folkesange’ ultimately transcends its own folk stylings; it’s a timeless masterpiece of an album. Embrace it and let its many alluring charms embrace you."