Myrkur - Folkesange review




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Reviewer:
8.7

131 users:
7.80
Band: Myrkur
Album: Folkesange
Release date: March 2020


01. Ella
02. Fager Som En Ros
03. Leaves Of Yggdrasil
04. Ramund
05. Tor I Helheim
06. Svea
07. Harpens Kraft
08. Gammelkäring
09. House Carpenter
10. Reiar
11. Gudernes Vilje
12. Vinter


Don't let that Sound Of Music cover art fool you; somehow we've arrived at the point where acoustic folk is more metal than folk metal.

Yes, that's right, acoustic folk. Myrkur has left blastbeats and growling behind - Folkesange is just folk songs (it's in the title) performed by Myrkur herself on a variety of traditional instruments, with an assortment of studio musicians to contribute depth to the arrangements. While I wouldn't call Folkesange quite as minimalist, this album seems like Myrkur's answer to Wardruna's Skald: stripped back to the project's most earthen elements, focused on the haunting resonance of Myrkur's vocals and layers of traditional instrumentation that are, if not always simplistic, far from ornamental. This album does not abide by the modern rhythms and structures of Myrkur's earlier material; any melody or echoing drum beat feels absolutely vital, carefully placed not out of expectation but out of necessity.

It takes only the first couple of tracks for Folkesange to mark itself out as Myrkur's most singular release to date. The best of Myrkur's compositions have always been those that strayed from black metal, where she typically seemed chained by convention and unable to connect to the inspiration that fueled her acoustic pieces. Mareridt, which dwelt more heavily on the nonmetal side, seemed to offer a more rewarding path forward, but Folkesange skips several steps along the way and lands firmly in the realm of pure folk, revealing Mareridt to be inescapably modern in retrospect. Even when eschewing high-volume blastbeats and riffs, Mareridt drew from ambient music or indie pop, backing otherwise bare vocal-and-drum pieces with synthesizers or placing effects on Myrkur's voice. Folkesange elides those fanciful tricks of production - it is layered and polished, yes, but it is committed to its grounded, ancient feeling.

Mareridt remains a great album, but Folkesange brings a sense of relief that Myrkur is diving with abandon into the place where she shines the most. Sumptuous vocal lines echo in valleys of creaking strings and distant, martial drums; luscious, dusky melodies unfurl like the settling of mountain mists. The harmonies on "Ella" alone, so delicate and stirring, are enough to inspire full faith in this album's direction - plenty of black metal out there is preoccupied with Tolkien's legendarium, but these are the songs actually sung throughout Rivendell. The dire "Ramund" and simple storytelling of "House Carpenter" also rank among the album's best, but there's no dividing an album as finely crafted as this. From the first peals of "Ella" to the last fading notes of "Vinter," Folkesange is a culturally rich and musically fascinating album. It's like listening to Steeleye Span if you knew that each member was secretly plotting to murder you.

Each piece on this album feels connected to those around it; Myrkur's rich voice floods the album with an unbroken flow of spiritual energy. The deep drones and strings underneath fill the album with a rich color found only in this kind of dark, ethereal Nordic music; while the vocals and instrumentation can be so ghostly that they verge on ambient music, the chants and melodies are ancient mountain songs right to their very roots. I don't regret the lack of black metal for a second, because to wedge modern styles into this album would be to rob Folkesange of so much grace and lustre. Folkesange reaches beyond what came before.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 8


 



Written on 30.04.2020 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments

Comments: 18   Visited by: 148 users
30.04.2020 - 22:06
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
I actually woundn't mind if she stuck to this sound from now on. She always felt more comfortable doing the folk bits than the black metal ones.
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Jusqu'ici, tout va bien...

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30.04.2020 - 23:57
Ivor
Staff
Frankly never cared to listen to any of Myrkur's older stuff but stumbled on this album and I think I absolutely like it. Reminds me heavily of how 25 years or so ago Kari Rueslatten from The 3rd and the Mortal went from doom metal on to do pure Nordic folk.

I.
----
No friends for playing games
No foes who scorn my name
Computerized machines of steel and rust
/---/
No friends in my house on Mars
No foes in my house on Mars
I was born in my house on Mars
I will die in my house on Mars
-- Ayreon - My House on Mars
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01.05.2020 - 00:40
musclassia
I liked M a lot, as Bergtatt-inspired as it was - Skogen Skulle Do in particular left a long-lasting impression. Mareridt was fine, but felt a bit caught between the two sounds - it makes sense for her to more fully commit to this approach, and I enjoyed Folkesange more as a complete album than Mareridt.
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01.05.2020 - 13:05
tintinb
The yodeling in this album is a bliss to hear. The last song Vinter has that piano bit which makes for a much better closure that Mareridt had. Though I would place Mareridt a slight notch higher than Folkesange because of it's metal roots, this album has a fine collection of folk songs that an Indian like myself thirsts to listen to.
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01.05.2020 - 17:34
tiny dog ghosts
The vibe she created on this is great, and weirdly I think it actually has a lot more dynamics to it than the BM stuff.
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02.05.2020 - 20:02
Enemy of Reality
I think it's a great album, been listening to it almost everyday since release. Her performance is absolutely stunning, songs are so well crafted and memorable.
One of my favorite releases of this year.
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03.05.2020 - 22:57
Night Theater
Not a fan of black metal, but I absolutely love this album.
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04.05.2020 - 00:31
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Night Theater on 03.05.2020 at 22:57

Not a fan of black metal, but I absolutely love this album.

Starting to think that might have to do with this not being a black metal album.

Glad you found something for you taste regardless.
----
Jusqu'ici, tout va bien...

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04.05.2020 - 00:32
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by Night Theater on 03.05.2020 at 22:57

Not a fan of black metal, but I absolutely love this album.

I think it was a smart move for Myrkur to drop the black metal. I enjoy her older stuff, too, but a lot of people want to be Ulver and not so many want to do this sort of thing.
----
"Earth is small and I hate it" - Lum Invader

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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04.05.2020 - 00:46
Karlabos
Weirdo of MS
So she went full neofolk now?

Solid... But not original anymore. Kinda lost the interest
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Rose is red, violet is blue. Flag is win, Baba is you.
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18.02.2021 - 06:11
SoUnDs LiKe PoP
You left out that "House Carpenter" is a Bob Dylan cover (which disappointed me to discover, because it's my favorite song on the album).
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I lift weights and listen to metal
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18.02.2021 - 11:28
Starvynth
i c deaf people
Written by SoUnDs LiKe PoP on 18.02.2021 at 06:11

You left out that "House Carpenter" is a Bob Dylan cover.

That's a pretty common misbelief.
But Dylan is not the original songwriter, his song is just an adaption of the Scottish folk ballad "The Daemon Lover" dating to around 1685.
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19.02.2021 - 01:21
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by Starvynth on 18.02.2021 at 11:28

Written by SoUnDs LiKe PoP on 18.02.2021 at 06:11

You left out that "House Carpenter" is a Bob Dylan cover.

That's a pretty common misbelief.
But Dylan is not the original songwriter, his song is just an adaption of the Scottish folk ballad "The Daemon Lover" dating to around 1685.

Indeed. There are many, many versions of the song out there (in fact, some time after reviewing this album, I was surprised to chance upon Cornelis Vreeswijk doing the same thing in Swedish). Doc Watson does a nice bluegrass-y version.
----
"Earth is small and I hate it" - Lum Invader

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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22.02.2021 - 08:11
SoUnDs LiKe PoP
Written by Starvynth on 18.02.2021 at 11:28

Written by SoUnDs LiKe PoP on 18.02.2021 at 06:11

You left out that "House Carpenter" is a Bob Dylan cover.

That's a pretty common misbelief.
But Dylan is not the original songwriter, his song is just an adaption of the Scottish folk ballad "The Daemon Lover" dating to around 1685.


True, but still turns out it's a cover - was surprised MS didn't have it marked as such (they're usually on top of that here).
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I lift weights and listen to metal
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22.02.2021 - 20:28
Starvynth
i c deaf people
Written by SoUnDs LiKe PoP on 22.02.2021 at 08:11

True, but still turns out it's a cover - was surprised MS didn't have it marked as such (they're usually on top of that here).

Sure, technically, both songs are covers. But Myrkur's song has never been a Dylan cover and it will never be a Dylan cover. Because Bob Dylan didn't write the song.
Just like no version of "Greensleeves" can ever be a Blackmore's Night or Rainbow cover.
And no version of "Foggy Dew" will ever be a Primordial or Jag Panzer cover.

Or should we really change it to "House Carpenter [unknown Scottish 17th century songwriter cover]"?
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22.02.2021 - 20:41
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Starvynth on 22.02.2021 at 20:28

Or should we really change it to "House Carpenter [unknown Scottish 17th century songwriter cover]"?

I guess [Traditional cover] will do.
----
Jusqu'ici, tout va bien...

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23.02.2021 - 04:05
SoUnDs LiKe PoP
Written by Starvynth on 22.02.2021 at 20:28

Written by SoUnDs LiKe PoP on 22.02.2021 at 08:11

True, but still turns out it's a cover - was surprised MS didn't have it marked as such (they're usually on top of that here).

Sure, technically, both songs are covers. But Myrkur's song has never been a Dylan cover and it will never be a Dylan cover. Because Bob Dylan didn't write the song.
Just like no version of "Greensleeves" can ever be a Blackmore's Night or Rainbow cover.
And no version of "Foggy Dew" will ever be a Primordial or Jag Panzer cover.

Or should we really change it to "House Carpenter [unknown Scottish 17th century songwriter cover]"?


No need to be so defensive - just pointing out that it's always nice to know when a song is an original and when it isn't.
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I lift weights and listen to metal
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23.02.2021 - 13:54
Starvynth
i c deaf people
Written by SoUnDs LiKe PoP on 23.02.2021 at 04:05

No need to be so defensive - just pointing out that it's always nice to know when a song is an original and when it isn't.

I didn't mean to be rude, sorry if it sounded that way. In fact, I'm thankful you brought it up because we must have hundreds of falsely declared cover versions in the database and this issue has never really been addressed until now.
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