27th October 2015
Review by Ben Spencer
After escaping the claustrophobic constraints of London’s Northern Line during rush hour, Camden Underworld is populated by a small queue of eager metal fans awaiting the debut of black metal solo songstress (and her now newly attained live band) known as Myrkur. As the doors open and the ticket holders descend below, the nearly empty venue quickly packs out.
Jøtnarr [3.5/5] take to the stage with the melodic stance of ‘Sunless’, a track that quickly erupts into full sonic fury within the half way mark. The raspy vocals and droning guitars take flight as the band’s aggressive wall of noise proves its worth.
Meanwhile, ‘Waldeinsamkeit’ unravels with post rock leanings as the speedy guitars intervene, pulling their sound into something more monstrous than what has come before. The fast cymbal tapping and destructive guitar passages transition into sombre strumming with ease, making their sound truly organic.
Jøtnarr shows plenty of promise, and they are a band whose name has been circulating with growing attention. Their blend of black metal and progressive ambience may well make them the UK equivalent of Woods of Desolation if their performance is anything to go by.
2. Rise by Sin
Tonight’s main support Fen [4.5/5] assume positions and unveil the rippling melodies of ’Hands of Dust’. The guitar textures and clean vocals work harmoniously as the track flows outward in it’s formless essence. Then around mid way the trio explode with dissonant riffs and hateful snarls like some fiery beast from below.
Next up, ‘Menhir – Supplicant’ proves to be a better reflection of the band’s sound as the bleak riffs and rapid fire blast beats take form. The track throws in a subtle use of melody, but it is the urgency of their newer material that showcases Fen at their best and most innovative.
Finally, the three-piece close of with an old classic in the form of ‘Exile’s Journey’. The transition between clean archaic guitars and barbaric drum work remain wholly consistent with their vibrant post black subtleties.
Fen are certainly no stranger to the realms of modern underground music, as they deliver an impressive array of material both old and new and they are a rare example are a band whose newer material is something to take seriously. Keep an eye out these guys!
1. Hands of Dust
2. Menhir – Supplicant
3. Exiles Journey
As the light’s dim down and the venue fills out with eager onlookers, Amalie Bruun enters the stage with the rest of Myrkur [4.5/5] and surprisingly opens with the dense piano tones of ‘Frosne Vind’ that instantly reveal her trademark vocals running on par with her recordings.
After a loud applause of clapping from her fans ‘Skøgen Skulle Dø’ bursts out with a ritualistic sound as the drums and guitars are met with shrieking vocals. The gritty sounding riffs pave the way into an ethereal landscape as Amalie’s siren-esque vocal harmonies soar above the roaring fans.
‘Hævnen’ follows up with its second-wave black metal sounding sensibilities and plenty of that shrieks that dip in and out of choral sounding bliss, revealing the strong Scandinavian influence that rests beneath the surface of the band’s deadly forge.
Meanwhile, the band pay homage to Ulver’s Bergtatt in the form of ‘Onde Børn’ which sounds like an unreleased track from the album in the best possible way. Comprising of epic solos and impressive vocal projections the heavier drums crash in, turning everything one shade darker.
As the fans raise fits to the metallic angst of ‘Mordet’ the speedy drums and infernal vocals leave no room for respite. Meanwhile, the sweeping melodies of ‘Dybt I skoven’ show slight pointer towards modern shoegaze.
‘Skaoi’ represents Myrkur’s most encapsulating song, with plenty of savage rasps angry, tribal-like melodies and charging guitars that have the whole room head banging along for the ride.
Finally, Amalie goes out in style with another impressive piano rendition. This time in the form of Bathory’s ‘Song to Hall up high’. As the chilling vocals glide along with precision, the final note plays out the venue cheer back with a trance-like elation.
The band’s sound is one that may spawn a variety of responses. On the one hand, black metal purists may scorn their modern take on the genre and their refusal to conform. On the other side, clear nods to the past are here, not just in their sound but also in their performance. Either way, these guys stand firmly by their music and the reception are also clearly on board with the growing force that is Myrkur!
1. Frosne Vind
2. Skøgen Skulle Dø
4. Onde Børn
5. Vølvens Spådom
6. Jeg er guden, I er tjenerne
8. Dybt I skoven
10. Song to hall up high (Bathory cover)