When I saw black/gothic metal classifying Myrkur (which means darkness in Icelandic) I did not prepare myself for an enchanting, calming experience. The music provided by this solo female artist from Copenhagen, Denmark threw me off in the most pleasant ways and, with her album Mausoleum put out by Relapse Records, you don’t need to be a metal fan to enjoy and absorb it. I gave it several listens while reading Carl Sagan’s book Contact and it served as a lovely impromptu soundtrack to the story.
This album was recorded live in the Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, which is morbidly charming, with the Norwegian Girls’ Choir. The acoustics shine through beautifully. The nine songs featured are from the album M (which is straight up black metal) and feature acoustic renditions of tracks like “Frosne Vind” and “Song To Hall Up High.”
I find it quite impressive how Myrkur can morph the music from something you’d hear at a metal fest to something suitable for an opera house performance. Her vocals are operatic without going over the top, and I found myself picturing her as a siren luring men to the depths of the sea with her voice. The background of the choir simply added to it all and, with only piano and acoustic guitar, one can’t help but be swooned by the dramatic sounds. I loved hearing the string slides echo before changing chords in “Dypt I Skoven.” The strumming is divine.
Pity, I can’t speak Danish as I’m curious to the lyrics, but in the end that didn’t seem to matter much because it was soothing just the same. The track that stood out for me was “Onde Børn.” The piano gave me chills and was so beautiful in combination with her voice; I could feel my eyes get a bit watery with how this song touched me. Maybe, it’s a thing with getting older and forever evolving musical tastes, but in recent years, something about piano and violin just gets me tough.
The end of the album features a simple applause, which I thought was a nice classy touch. With not having the audio of the crowd between tracks, it allows the listener to really take it all in without distraction. I recommend this album for anyone who appreciates operatic music, or perhaps if you’re looking for some good background music for a relaxing dinner or bath. I’m glad I had the chance to absorb this album, and I surely will many times more.
Written by Angie Radczenko
*edited by Danielle Kenedy