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Myrkur at St John On Bethnal Green, London - live review

The Gospel - live

Crowd shot

After Wardruna’s two-night stint at the Union Chapel in 2016, it’s Amalie Bruun’s turn to terraform sacred space and tune it to an earlier, still-enduring frequency. The vaulted ceilings and stark beauty of this 19th-century place of worship cast a natural stillness on the atmosphere that only amplifies the expectancy of the crowd. Like her set in Oslo’s Vigeland Mausoleum, tonight is an exploration of the folk roots of Myrkur’s music, replacing the tension with a meditative sense of timelessness. Accompanied by two choirgirls, plus Heilung’s Christopher Juul on mandola and cellist Jo Quail, her crystal-clear, solemnly evocative vocals resonate on the most transporting of frequencies. It’s a paradox that the deeper you go into your own culture, the more universal the experience, but playing her own songs alongside ancient folk songs and ballads, there’s a weightless, chaste quality that’s particularly suited to this venue. Tonight it’s a mesmerising act of communion.

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.