If you’ve heard the name Myrkur even once, then you’ll probably know the backstory. This particular album marks a distinct transitional shift in styles, whereby the previous tropes of black metal, so well grounded in Myrkur’s back catalog , have been fully purged in favour of traditional Danish folk. You’ll most likely also know that Amalie Bruun’s directional jump is a very personal and heartfelt affair. I’m pleased to announce that this level of personality shines fully and wholeheartedly in the music. Folkesange is, in every conceivable way, a wonderful and deeply evocative trip for the senses.
A little context may aid you on your journey throughout this record, though it’s by no means essential. The creative mastermind behind Myrkur, Amalie Bruun has used this platform to explore her Danish folk roots in intense nostalgic fashion, so it’s partly introspective, but in no shape or form self-indulgent. There is enough wisdom, scope, and variety to make it an inviting journey for the listener, and the expanse of material in Folkesange renders it nothing less than a feast.
From the album’s opening flagship track, “Ella”, and all the way through to the conclusion, the level of knowledge and intuition is bold and apparent. Being able to focus on one specific genre-type means that Bruun can add a substantial amount of detail and craft to this project. Folkesange possesses a purist mix of strings, keys, and percussion, all used to masterful effect. However, in spite of the loyal brilliance of the instrumentation, one of the most mesmerizing elements of the music is the vocals. It’s no surprise that Bruun’s voice, in many respects, steals the show. Presenting itself in many layers and tones, her voice provides a gloss of clarity and personality that is an immaculate front for the songs of Folkesange.
There is also a varying sense of adventurousness across the album’s 12 tracks. Each one is a unique ballad with its own story to tell. From the energetic vibrancy of “Fager som en Ros” to the slow-burning wisdom of “Tor i Helheim”, there is an exuberance of emotion that never departs, only shifts in mood. Right up until the end, in closing tracks, “Gudernes Vilje” and “Vinter “, there appears to be an evenly spread sense of spirit that manifests in many different forms, but always keeps us engaged. Etched in its Danish roots, abstract it might be, but the quality resonates with a strength that can be felt by all who take the journey. Folkesange ends as it begins: alive.
All boxes are ticked in Folkesange. It’s noble, classy, brimming with substance, and acts as an open-armed welcome to listeners. It’s only partially relevant as to whether you are a connoisseur of Scandinavian folklore or if you are a complete novice. The conviction and enjoyable nature of this album ultimately renders it a free canvas of thought for anyone listening, and the care gone into its creation means that this is more than just a change in musical direction. It’s a standalone display of love and creativity. Myrkur may stay on this trajectory long-term, or she may not. Either way this is a release that will stand the test of time and become well respected among peers and newcomers alike.