It gets the job done
Amalie Bruun was an unexpected delight in the typically harsh world of metal. Though purists often contest her designation in the genre, Bruun, under the moniker Myrkur, has proven time and time again since her 2014 debut that there’s room in the metal world for a softer touch. After a pretty blatant display of this, particularly on last year’s Mareridt, Bruun’s adept juxtaposing of black metal and dark, Nordic folk has proved lasting in its niche. Her Juniper EP is different, though. Seemingly comprised of two songs that didn’t make the Mareridt cut, the very short Juniper doesn’t really see Bruun exploring many metal elements at all. Instead, both tracks reaffirm her stance as a folk artist and one that still explores variations, at that.
The EP’s title track is the more “pop” sounding of the two, with Bruun singing in English over a back and forth of noisiness and quietness. “Juniper” could easily be on the soundtrack of a True Detective-like show, as the overall feel of its waves of sound coupled with a more hands-off vocal approach create an element of mystery, while still getting the job done.
“Bonden og Kragen” is a whole different beast, if “beast” is considered appropriate for the tune. Sang in her traditional language of Danish, “Bonden og Kragen” is mellowed and more orchestral than “Juniper.” With just Bruun, an acoustic guitar and a few instances of added strings, the song allows for Bruun’s voice to be the epicenter, letting the rest of the song fight and form around her. Since there’s a mild debate on Bruun’s crossover into singing in the English language, “Bonden og Kragen” offers a classic feel, depending on which side of the Myrkur folk spectrum you fall on.
For just two songs, Juniper does leave a lasting impression for Myrkur to head into this next year with. Bruun is already known for being a mover and shaker in a sense, bringing a much-needed element to a genre of typically uniform makings. Juniper is delicate without fragility and holds up as a small, but fitting, addition to Myrkur’s discography.