Amalie Bruun, better known to the wider public as Myrkur, has certainly made some waves in the metal scene in recent years with her combination of black metal and folk influences, and, of course, riling black metal purists in the process.
2017’s ‘Mareridt’ saw a wave of critical acclaim bestowed upon Myrkur, and now it’s time for her to truly show her talents. Tonight’s crowd is diverse in make-up, a mixture of the young and curious, and the older seasoned metallers. Even a casual listener to Myrkur would know that this isn’t going to be any old gig.
Starting proceedings is cellist Jo Quail , who will later join Myrkur onstage. Hand-picked for the prestigious Meltdown Festival, curated by none other than The Cure‘s own Robert Smith, she’s certainly a force to be reckoned with in her field.
Armed with a cello and a loop pedal, she delivers a captivating set with a very minimalist approach; most of the material stems from creating percussive loops, and creating builds to a striking effect. It’s testament that she can do so much with a somewhat limited set-up, and tonight’s audience respond very well, particularly to the dramatic ending of ‘Adder Stone’.
And now for the big moment. Proving that she doesn’t do things by the book, Myrkur  starts the first of two sets with mostly renditions of mostly traditional Nordic folk songs, paying tribute to the latter’s influence on her sound. A whole host of musicians join her onstage, complete with some candles. It’s telling of her prowess that anyone talking among themselves is soon shut right up.
Traditional Danish folk tune ‘Ramund’ is given an airing, as is one of her own songs, ‘Himlen Blev Sort’. While this could be seen by some as a bit self-indulgent, it’s nice to hear this aspect of Myrkur‘s sound given some proper breathing space. And then, a cacophony of fuzzing sounds occur.
There seems to be a transition of some kind going on, and with it a second set then follows, comprising of the material everyone came to hear. The sound emitted from the now four-piece set-up is powerful to the point where you can feel the vibrations all around the room, particularly for the menacing sludge of ‘The Serpent’. ‘Ulvinde’ gets an outing early on, which helps to bring a bit of savagery.
As well as playing plenty of material from ‘Mareridt’, material such as ‘Onde Børn’ from her debut full-length as ‘M’ is particularly welcome. ‘Måneblôt’, perhaps the best encapsulation of her talents, ends the set on a great note, and the chants of “one more song” just cannot be ignored. For the encore, recently released single ‘Juniper’ rears its head, which is a reminder that there are many possible avenues where Myrkur can go for her next studio effort.
As flawless as the set is, judging by what’s on show, you may have to be open to the idea of metal mixed with neo-folk influences to enjoy this, and it would have been great for the moving ‘Crown’ to be played. Still, for everyone in attendance, this is an undeniable triumph, and a noticeable crowd gathers at the merch desk once proceedings have ended. Along with acts such as Deafheaven, Zeal & Ardor, and Chelsea Wolfe, Myrkur truly feels part of the great post-metal movement of the 2010s.
Music graduate from City University, partial to almost anything with ‘post-‘ in the genre description.