The second studio album of the Danish Amalie Bruun is probably going to establish Myrkur as a significant Scandinavian metal act. Although Myrkur means “darkness” in Icelandic, Bruun wishes to find the light, through a path made of Nordic mythological creatures and goddesses. Even more with ‘Mareridt‘, which means “nightmare” in Danish, Bruun pursued to find this light as an exit from her experience of sleep paralysis and constant nightmares, combined with the latest death threats she received from unknown individuals.

Mareridt‘ is a combination of folk/ambient post-black metal. Bruun, and other musicians she collaborated with for this album, utilized mostly folk instruments such as the nyckelharpa (traditional Swedish musical instrument), kulning (ancient Scandinavian herding call), mandola and Jew’s harp (mouth harp). There are also violins, contrabass and organs. The result is a Scandinavian folk sound which feels like a fairytale. The clear vocals of Bruun and the gothic style of the songs she uses them in reminded me a lot of Liv Kristine (Theatre Of Tragedy).

In tracks like ‘Måneblôt‘, ‘Elleskudt‘, ‘Ulvinde‘, -the album hit-, and ‘Gladiatrix‘, the strong influence of Scandinavian black metal speaks volumes. While in the first track, the title track, you hear the magical voice of Brunn – as if the mermaid of Copenhagen is brought to life – in the second track ‘Maneblot‘ she unleashes amazing blackened vocals. Most of the drumming here is done by Aaron Weaver (Wolves In The Throne Room), yet in the tracks mentioned above drumming remains in the background, leaving space for the vocals and the rest of the instruments. There is also a dreamy collaboration with Chelsea Wolfe in the track ‘Funeral‘, and in the bonus track ‘Kvindelil‘ included in the deluxe edition of the album.

Randall Dunn is behind the production of ‘Mareridt‘. Amalie Bruun considered him as most capable to understand her traditional and folk influences, and she was right. With ‘Mareridt‘ Myrkur has absolutely nailed it in the sphere of neo-folk/ second-wave black metal.

Mary Kalaitzidou