Label: Relapse Records
The self-titled debut EP by one-woman black metal band Myrkur is a truly beautiful offering. It’s sure to attract attention due to the nature of the sole member, given how rare women are in black metal bands (and especially one-woman black metal bands), but to focus on gender would be a shame, as this EP is outstanding. Drawing from acts such as Burzum and Leviathan, with their mix of brutality and beauty, as well as more recent second wave inspired acts such as Taake, this is a record full of contrasts. There are plenty of ethereal female vocals shimmering just out of reach, and numerous passages of music that can only be described as beautiful, but for all of that this is still a record with a black metal heart, full of Scandinavian pride and spirit.
The standout track is most certainly “Nattens Barn”, which opens with a female vocal choir before moving into second wave inspired guitars and blast-beats, which in turn give way to a chilling guitar lines, some of which have a murky production that brings to mind the best points of Tentacles Of Whorror. But it’s when the distortion is really amped up that the song reaches its peak, the mix of crushing guitars and tremolo-picked leads with overblown vocals that resonate from the depths of hell coming together in a heart-stopping finale. The other songs on the EP are strong, and should not be over-shadowed – this is an EP, not a single – but this track is just beyond, and one of the best black metal songs of the year, without doubt.
Myrkur is presently streaming at Pitchfork Advance, and can be pre-ordered through Relapse Records on CD and vinyl, including a green and white version exclusive to Relapse Mailorder. Digital versions can be pre-ordered via iTunes and Bandcamp. Myrkur is due for release on the 16th September in the US, 12th in Germany, and 15th in the UK and rest of the world.