Album Review: Myrkur – Spine

4/5

On her new album, Spine, Amalie Bruun, the creative force behind Myrkur, explores new sounds while reuniting with classic ones in her cannon. Spine is a more plugged-in album than her previous one, Folkesange, which found her exploring Scandic folk. The new album sees her exploring her pop roots while bringing back the black metal that was a linchpin of this project’s first two albums.

On Spine, she takes all of her influences and comes up with a totally unique record that touches on gothic pop, atmospheric black metal, and folk. It is refreshing that an established artist like her is still pushing herself, and her music, into new directions.

The album opens with lush, dark instrumental of “Balfaerd,” which leads right into the first proper track, “Like Humans.” “Like Humans” is dark, gothic pop with a metal base in that the distorted guitars lay the foundation for the electronics. Towards the end, Bruun’s ethereal voice floats over blast beats that brings the song to its conclusion. It’s a stirring mixture of sounds, one that shows Bruun exploring new territories while reconnecting with her black metal roots.

“Mothlike” is a synth-driven, dark dance number that features some metal shred towards its conclusion, while “My Blood Is Gold” is a piano-driven slice of dark pop, it leads to a big, emotional chorus. In fact, Bruun tempers a lot of the more extreme sounds on this record with pop hooks. It makes for a fascinating juxtaposition of sounds. The title track merges the ethereal with the more menacing world of metal to create a dark rock masterpiece.

She returns to the black metal of her first two albums on “Valkyriernes Sang” and “Blazing Sky.” “Valkyriernes Sang” is a straight-up, blast-beaten, black metal ripper with her ethereal vocals riding on top of the distorted guitars and lightning fast beats. There are also some harsh vocals thrown in toward the end. “Blazing Sky” is another metal ripper that leads to a big, soaring, triumphant chorus.

“Devil In The Detail” is another piano-driven, synth-laden piece of pop with some sinister undertones in the instrumentation. Album closer “Menneskebarn” is a folksy lullaby to her recently born child. It ends the album on the Scandic folk tones of Folkesange.

Spine is quite the journey, showcasing Bruun at the height of her creative powers, while charting new directions for future Myrkur albums. For those who take the journey, they will be rewarded with one of the most diverse-sounding, emotion-laden albums of the year. It will be interesting to see where she goes from here.

Buy Spine here.

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