Myrkur got a lot of attention this summer when she released her album M. Both from haters, who said it wasn’t metal, and from praisers who said, I don’t know, that the haters were misogynists who only liked a very narrow genre of metal? No idea, because I’m with the haters here. Not because she’s a woman, nor because it’s different than music I usually listen to (yeah, right), nor because it’s in Danish, nor because it has some electronics in it, and not even because it’s not metal, because it most assuredly is not metal (though it has plenty of metal elements in it and even some metal tracks on it), but rather because it’s just mostly boring.
She really could have wrapped this thing up after album opener “Skøgen Skulle Dø” where she kind of lays out everything she can do in one track. There’s some black metal vocals, creative electronic sounds layered atmospherically throughout, choral singing, and heavily reverbed drums. Unfortunately the song also highlights what she does worst, which is be completely boring and repetitive. Those drums thud along over a droney “bagpipe” track that repeats at least four, if not eight, times more than they need to on a song that is over five minutes but could have probably had the same effect at about three.
After that it’s ten more tracks that run what, if well executed, would have been an impressive range of styles, from some of the scariest black metal shrieks I’ve ever heard (“Hævnen”) to lullabies (“Byssan Lull”). With a complete dearth of songwriting skill, never does she deign to give you some kind of theme or anything more interesting than production value. It’s like two lullaby snoozer tracks and then a plodding black metal track ad nauseum. It sounds crazy to say that a female black metal vocalist who mixes in a range of styles and electronic instrumentation would be boring, but that’s what you have here. I’m almost impressed that she took such great raw ingredients and made them so boring…it’s like knocking down just the 10 pin in bowling…how do you do that?
I’m obviously at odds with most of the critical community here. And they will probably dismiss this as an inflexibility to some new fantastic genre of metal I’m just too old to get. But god there are maybe six minutes of interesting things on here that are worth listening to. (Also note I didn’t Dislike much.) After that it’s just boring, 4/4 bass strumming along to “blichem blichem blichem” drums, and Myrkur singing over a lute. *Yawn*
Like: “Skøgen Skulle Dø”
Meh: “Hævnen,” “Onde Børn,” “Vølvens Spådom,” “Jeg Er Guden, I Er Tjenerne,” “Mordet,” “Byssan Lull,” “Dybt I Skoven,” “Skaði,” “Norn”
Song Notes: After the jump
- Skøgen Skulle Dø – bagpipes, big sound, choral singing, ends with weird breathing sounds
- Hævnen – plods at start, then really fierce vox
- Onde Børn – nice riff at start, then boring vocal melody. Still almost gets salvaged to Like by end
- Vølvens Spådom – light singing, only 1:38, more of an intro to next song, which it flows right into
- Jeg Er Guden, I Er Tjenerne – mostly big and boring. gets killer boring midway thru, but as what’s obviously the centerpiece to the album I kinda want to give it Like. I can’t. Track three is better than this
- Nordlys – sweet, light piano. So boring.
- Mordet – sounds metal again. and straight to death screaming. great riff and drums (pushing song forward off the beat) make me want to Like, but too repetitive
- Byssan Lull –
- Dybt I Skoven -opening riff reminds of Nirvana
- Skaði –
- Norn –