Myrkur is the debut EP from the one woman black metal project of the same name. Though with the layered clean vocals being reminiscent of ambient darling Julianna Barwick and the guitars shimmering away at times in the vein of post-metal favourites Deafheaven just calling the release black metal would be obtuse, the EP borrows from post-punk and ambient as much as it does Burzum. Take the lead single (and best full track) Nattens Barn – bright tremolo picked shimmering guitar melodies echo Deafheaven and abound through the track but there’s also the trebly crunch to some of the riffs that straight up worship at the altar of early Burzum. The blasting drums add to the bright energy created by the aforementioned lead guitar and the clean layered vocals air lovely folky melodies that go well with the overall atmosphere of the release. There’s also good pacing in the tracks, moving between the aforementioned Burzum, Deafheaven and Julianna Barwick inspired sections with ease and combining them all well at times. There’s also a track of bright delayed guitar and vocals which breaks it up a little in the form of Frosne Vind which maybe sounds the most convincing on the release. And that’s because of the EP’s shortfalls.
Myrkur lacks any of the originality or refinement of the clear influences in Myrkur’s music. There’s little that’s original other than transposing layered clean vocals onto black metal – and sometimes such as on the intro to Latvian Fegard it does sound a complete copy of Julianna Barwick’s style. And there just aren’t the really great shimmering melodies nor the build up to a stunning climax as with Deafheaven, nor the hypnotic atmosphere of Burzum’s material – nothing on here musically is quite as great as either of those two. The production doesn’t help either, it’s far too weak at points, and indeed most of Latvian Fegard just sounds like a mess. The shimmering guitars and vocals sound strong, but whenever it goes into more traditional black metal territory it sounds much weaker, at odds with the other elements. sometimes sounds as if she put all her attention into making the vocals sound beautiful then neglected how weak it sounds in the more black metal influenced sections – bad production doesn’t hinder some black metal, but with this post-punk influence in some of the melodies it doesn’t help.
There’s definite potential in Myrkur’s music, indeed the vocals are beautiful and there’s nothing inherently bad in it, it’s just a but formulaic and she needs to be a bit more original and ambitious in the future. It’s going to get a lot of hype as most post-black metal releases do, and being a one woman black metal band may draw peoples interest. It doesn’t deserve as much hype as it will inevitably get, and she will need to drastically improve songwriting and production in the future.