Myrkur - Mareridt album review

Great Dane welcomes you to her nightmare

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One of the more curious transformations of late has been that of Amalie Bruun. In 2014, the classically trained musician and actress reinvented herself as black metal disciple Myrkur. Highly persuasive she was too, softening her extreme noise fixation with gothic passages and chilly pagan folk. This follow-up to debut M, which was produced by Ulver’s Kristoffer Rygg, shows the full expanse of her sensory world, making room for textures both oppressive and temperate. The title is Danish for ‘nightmare’, a reference to the sleep paralysis and night terrors that Bruun underwent just prior to its creation. Fittingly, it’s an intense, sometimes claustrophobic experience designed to unsettle. Rumbling thunder and a steady synthetic drone form the backdrop to the title track, storm clouds massing behind Bruun’s semi-operatic tones. On Elleskudt, a metallic swarm of guitars is pierced by a vocal that cuts above the din. US singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe duets on Funeral, while Crown is a feast of orchestral strings and piano, Bruun’s vocals switching between Danish and English, before joining a rising chorale. Inventive and expertly structured, this is a rare, ravishing treat.