It’s definitely folky, alright
If we’re being frank here, Amalie Bruun was hardly black metal, to begin with. That’s not meant to be disrespectful or dismissive to what Bruun has contributed to the black metal world as Myrkur. Quite the contrary actually, because while Bruun’s output normally challenges what trad metalheads would consider being metal at all, it’s her adoration and devotion to a different type of traditional sound that’s elevating black metal as a genre, making it more inclusive and exploratory. Bruun has dabbled in dark Scandinavian folk on nearly all her albums—the Myrkur live album Mausoleum blended folk and opera with the tragedy of black metal beautifully—but her latest one Folkesange is an honest and wholly devoted effort at paying homage.
There aren’t any heavy sounds present at all, or even any real dark elements. It’s made up for with her expansive use of many time-honored instruments. “Ella” and “Fager som en Ros” are driven by breathy and playful vocals, though the latter’s use of a tagelharpa, a type of bowed lyre, make it bouncy and lively. “Leaves Of Yggdrasil” makes use of the same, building into a sweep of classical stylings.
Folkesange is built on reduxes and covers of these ancient and traditional folk songs, like “Ramund,” a song dating back to the 1600s that Bruun riddled with the use of a nyckelharpa, which is a type of Scandinavian string instrument. Then there’s “Tor i Helheim,” where Bruun employs a vocal technique called kulning. It’s a pitched Scandinavian herding call that was also used to scare off predators. Because of this, it’s one of the tracks on Folkesange that visually places the listener in Scandinavia as a region the most.
Yet, the most impactful song on the record is the simplest. The album’s closer, “Vinter,” is just piano and vocals, but makes the biggest impression. Much like a lullaby, it soothes the ears, drumming up Christmas time imagery without being too hokey or merry. It sounds like winter in all of the best ways, while also serving cultural reverence. As an album, Folkesange is an understandable and respectable move for Myrkur to make—it pays honor to her roots without disrupting her discography and if anything, it goes further to show her versatility as an artist.