Photos © 2016 by: Bill Fisher
Biography: From the darkness of Scandinavia emerges MYRKUR. Hailing from Denmark, the one-woman project signed to renowned independent label Relapse Records in 2014 off the strength of just one EP, its eponymous debut (released September 2014). Envisioned and realized by classically-trained multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Amalie Bruun, MYRKUR combined the rawness of second-wave black metal bands like Ulver and Darkthrone with a natural, ethereal sonic beauty. MYRKUR introduced a wholly unique perspective on the genre of black metal, one that immediately put her on the map and caught the attention of listeners and publications worldwide.
Though the word “myrkur” means “darkness” in Icelandic, Bruun’s music encompasses far more than just that one dimension of music: with its distinct sense of Nordic isolation, MYRKUR is a definitively brutal creation, yet also a delicate and feminine one. Choral and folk elements abound, lending the music a mystical, legendary quality and an untouchable equilibrium between dark and light. MYRKUR’s influences range from nature to traditional Scandinavian folklore to Norse mythology and far beyond. Bruun elaborates, “I always dreamed about becoming a Huldra, an Elver girl, a Valkyrie, the goddess Freja. These powerful women in Norse Mythology have an element of beauty and mystique, but they are also deadly.”
That power was more than evident on MYRKUR’s EP, but fully came into its own on Bruun’s first full-length M, released via Relapse in August 2015. Featuring production and guest appearances from renowned metal legends such as Krystoffer “Garm” Rygg (Ulver), Teloch (Mayhem/Nidingr) and Christopher Amott, M showcased Bruun’s learned and mature perspective on black metal alongside her prodigious compositional and vocal talents. As Decibel Magazine put it in its 8/10 review, M is “a black metal record that respects tradition without drowning in it.” Publications including NPR, Stereogum, Pitchfork, Spin and dozens of other outlets worldwide have shared this sentiment, hailing M and MYRKUR as the very thing they stand for – not a drastic reinvention, not an atavistic homage, but a unique, timeless, and true expression of black metal. Now with two acclaimed releases and several live performances (including one at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival) under her belt, nobody but MYRKUR is in a better place to help Scandinavia reclaim its rightful throne as the global leader of extreme music.
Amalie Bruun – all instruments & composition
Bio by Mark Moritz-Rabson