Actually Recorded in a Mausoleum
Some might say that the work of Amalie Bruun, be it as her solo moniker, Ex Cops, or as her more recently touted Myrkur, is at times an extreme detachment from what is considered textbook black metal. The Danish metalist knows no bounds, as both her explosive Myrkur debut and last year’s M were noted considerably to be two of the greater releases in the genre for their time. Bruun’s recent work as Myrkur, Mausoleum, is a beautifully modified commodity of previous Myrkur tracks, reworked in such a fashion that showcases each song’s naked potential.
Enumerated as a live recording in the vaulted walls of the Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, Mausoleum minimally expresses the bravado of a typical metal album using only a piano, an acoustic guitar and the vocal ranges of Bruun, Håvard Jørgensen of Ulver and Satyricon fame and the Norwegian Girls Choir. What’s produced is an orally elevated boon of ethereal wisps backdropped by a simplistic instrumental pairing.
On Mausoleum, Myrkur employs traditional Celtic folk elements with the morose aura that usually comes with Gothic music. The Norwegian Girls Choir aids Bruun in achieving this, especially on “Onde Børn” and “Skøgen Skulle Dø,” where haunting harmonies are evident. The ladies’ harmonies battle with glum piano riffs on “Den Lille Piges Død,” but its the a cappella “Vølvens Spådom” that truly showcases the vocal wonders of the sepulcher’s walls.
Looking at each song on Mausoleum would be almost fruitless because, though the idea behind Myrkur’s endeavors resulted in an angelically masterful production, what is lacking is variance. Her glumly folk take on her past works leaves very little room to stray from just that. All but two tracks are recreations and even the newer ones, “Den Lille Piges Død” and a cover of Bathory’s “Song to Hall Up High,” follow the same entrancing path of quality as the others.
Those with a fine tuned ear may be able to pinpoint familiar nuances in Mausoleum’s barer take on previous Myrkur songs, but newer appreciators to Bruun’s discography will likely find themselves turned off with this release. When thinking of Mausoleum as a whole, the album is radiant. Its picking apart the individual songs where the monotony starts to set in.