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Myrkur - Mausoleum


19th August 2016 – Relapse Records

01. Vølvens spådom
02. Jeg er guden, I er tjenere
03. Skøgen skulle dø
04. Byssan lull
05. Den lille piges død
06. Frosne vind
07. Onde Børn
08. Song To Hall Up High
09. Dypt I skoven

Bringing something new or slightly different into a long-stale genre of music is often seen as being ‘hipster’ – especially in black metal – by an assortment of basement-dwelling keyboard warriors – but this isn’t true. Names like Deafheaven and Myrkur have been branded as such simply because they don’t buy into the cliched theatrics that prevent what is a tired genre from ever truly coming of age.

It’s been just under a year since the release of Myrkur’s debut full length M as her new Mausoleum EP sees the light of day. That’s a short time, but this is a live release; a reworking of several cuts from the debut as well as a couple of new things thrown in for good measure. Not bad at all really – especially when these stripped down numbers are performed bare bones inside an actual mausoleum in deepest darkest Olso with the help of the talented Norwegian Girls Choir.

Mausoleum is a journey piece, and is best appreciated if listened to undisturbed (and most effectively by candle light). “Vølvens spådom” lowers us softly into the embrace of these completely enveloping vocal harmonies; its short yet sweet burst allows for a measured descent into the darkness and by the time “Skøgen skulle dø” comes in we’re ready to be surrounded by that sweet white light that lingers in such a venue. This track in particular wouldn’t be out of place in a medieval banquet hall, nor being wistfully lamented by some elves sat in the moonlight in Mirkwood.

Myrkur also finds time in her set to throw down a cover; her ode to the roots of black metal. Her take on Bathory‘s “Song To Hall Up High” doesn’t deviate too much from the original, but it’s both fitting and respectful of the surroundings in which these recordings are made.

The performance rounds out with “Dypt I Skoven“, and you can’t help but feel like a weight is lifted from the body; its acoustic guitar lines and sparse vocal harmonies add an extra warmth that begins to feel less like moonlight and more like a sunrise.

There is a majesty in these recordings that has been lacking in this style of a good long time. Its wistful apparitions unravel into every expanse of this unique venue, and are captured with meticulous detail and mastered into something that sounds completely otherworldly. The natural ebb and flow of this live recording is a confirmation of the depth of talent Amalie exudes is both warm and hostile. This could well be the most ‘black metal’ that black metal has sounded in recent memory.

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