Myrkur - M (Relapse Records) 2015
Ulver’s debut may have been one of the most overlooked landmarks in black metal, yet it’s still easy to spot those who were shaped by it to this day. Myrkur, the solo project of Dane Amalie Bruun, may have shown some of those melancholy progressions and Wagnerian flourishes on her debut EP, but they have now been repurposed into something more of her own making. While it excels in capturing that spirit of the early 90s, a humanistic sound as ugly and corrosive at it is moving, M stresses the extremes, Bruuns’ screams ragged and raw as she pulls in sweeping choral arrangements and buzzing riffs to create a disquieting contrast. The gentle piano-and-vocal harmonising of Nordlys is a truly angelic moment and quite possibly one of the most beautiful things to have come out all year, but as it’s followed up by the resolutely old-school thrash of Mordet, it becomes more than itself. It’s a symptom of Myrkur’s mastery of light and shadow, of melody, chaos and void coalescing in a ballet that prompts bewilderment and excitement as each song ends and another begins. Adventurous and defiant, it might not always sound like black metal, but it captures its spirit in a way that has eluded many of the ‘trve’ for decades.